James Bond Reviews: #7: Licence to Kill

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     This was the Bond movie that Quantum of Solace wanted to be. A Bond movie so ahead of its time that it’s still listed as one of the lowest grossing films in the franchise. But don’t go by the sheer numbers; not since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service has there been an entry that truly captures the spirit of Ian Fleming’s work. Licence to Kill, more than any other, is the precursor to the Daniel Craig films.
     After 007 (Timothy Dalton) helps one of his best friends Felix Lieter (David Hedison) capture notorious drug lord Sanchez (Robert Davi), and then gets Felix to his wedding day, tragedy strikes. Bond, fueled by sheer rage and vengeance, decides to go after Sanchez when he made his escape. Bond is so consumed by his anger, that he defies M (Robert Brown) and has his licence to kill revoked. Nothing, and no one, will get in Bond’s way this time.
     I never understood at first the hatred that this movie got, until I actually thought about it for a second. Even though this was Dalton’s second time playing Bond, audiences still wanted a Roger Moore-type, all jokey and shit. I get that, but it’s still unfair to dismiss a movie, an entire movie, based on just an interpretation. Dalton makes Bond terrifying in this installment, guess what? He’s supposed to be. Bond here is a cold blooded killer at long last. The quips are minimal, and the humor so dry you’ll need a glass of water.
     Along with this more serious Bond, comes one of the greatest Bond villians in the franchise, Sanchez. What’s so great, is that he’s the mirror image of Bond. Those two could have been friends if the circumstances would have been different. Takes Bond into his home, feeds him, trusts him. That’s what makes the finale so brutal and vicious. Bond doesn’t give a shit; he has a purpose.
     Besides being the most violent entry up to that point, I just love seeing 007 use his brain and brawn to take down a fucker. I bet a lot of people will be surprised how modern the film feels (aside from some 80isms). Dalton was very underrated as Bond, but as time proved, he was also a trailblazer.

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