Wednesday, 4 April 2012

More of a problem eliminator

Licence to Kill (1989)

Bond's Intro: The movie itself starts with a strong confident musical blast. Bond in suit for Leiter wedding. Strictly as an observer of course. We get some gun play and a cool stunt as Bond fishes for a plane.

Theme Song and Credits: Tenuous camera theme (well i guess there's a gadget later) with the usual naked dancing ladies and some casino stuff thrown in for good measure. The song is decent if unspectacular but annoyingly it always sounds like she's singing 'licence to kilt' to me. Lazenby is long gone, woman!

The Ladies: Talisa Soto is stunning and both her and Carey Lowell are more nuanced and interesting than most.

The Baddies: Robert Davi's Sanchez is not the usual Bond villain type but has genuine menace, the scheme may just be drugs but as the movie has a more personal feel it there are heightened stakes. The faux religious guru is kinda daft (Bond movies have never done satire particularly well - Tomorrow Never Dies the most overt attempt perhaps). Benicio Del Toro brings some lunacy to proceedings ("Honeymooooon") and Truman Lodge has a stupid name. Everyone else is fairly bland.

License to Kill: Maggot, electric eel and shark. Bond gets creative early with this one. Nice venomous kill with a harpoon too. Compliments of Sharky. In about the space of ten minutes he's killed more people than in the entirety of some other films. We see Bond play out a fairly complicated (but failed) assassination attempt. Goons are generally blown up or shot, Del Toro gets a horrid end and "do you want to know the reason why?" may be the best kiss off line Bond's ever given because it isn't a stupid gag.

Bond hates foreigners: Well, he kills a lot of them.

Bond hates women: "Ha ha ha. We're south of the border. It's a man's world" He's generally quite dismissive of Pam Bouvier.

Bond's crazy knowledge: None really except creative ways of killing people.

Bond's a big fat snob: No real examples of this either.

00's killed: 007 quits.

Mini overview: The last Bond film I was unable to see at the cinema (too young for it's controversial 15 cert, the violence was a bit more intense but also it has more swearing than any other) which is unfortunate as it's one of my favourites. Strong action throughout with a few touches of silliness (stupid winking fish) are held together by a simple compelling plot. Bond wants revenge. Done. Yet it is populated with characters who have their own agendas and reveal how Bond's bull headed blundering has costs (a British agent wouldn't have been killed if it wasn't for him, though this isn't brought up  - but the film can hardly stop for a scene of his family crying over the news I guess) he doesn't consider and ultimately doesn't care about. Dalton is again terrific (I could fall in love with that laugh) and it's a real shame we didn't get more from him.
James Bond will return say the credits, but it tool a bit longer than usual.

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