The Living Daylights

Year: 1987
Production Co: EON Productions
Studio: MGM
Director: John Glen
Producer: Albert R Broccoli
Writer: Ian Fleming
Cast: Timothy Dalton, Marayam D'Abo, Jeroen Krabbe, Joe Don Baker, John Rhys Davies, Desmond Llewellyn
From the most notorious period in James Bond's history comes the worst example of the worst James Bond they picked.

Timothy Dalton had no class, no mystique, no humour and no style. He let his guard slip too much, showed his emotions too freely and just didn't have the supremely confident demeanour of either Moore or Connery.

Comparing The Living Daylights to Dalton's only other Bond effort (Licence to Kill) is pointless as the latter clumsily threw out all the Bond conventions, having him resign from the service in a fit of passion which Bond would never stoop to and going on the run, virtually wiping all trace of what we expect from a Bond movie from the rest of the film and turning into a simple, ridiculous action movie.

But as soon as 1987's hottest band (A-Ha) stop their falsetto, gel-coiffed screeching, we're straight into cornball territory. As if Dalton's Shakespearean training straining to fling him into fits of temper isn't bad enough, veteran Bond director John Glen presides over clumsy editing and some blatantly cheap shots.

Bond is sent to oversee the defection of a Russian army officer in Chekoslovakia, a mission that goes too well for comfort for him, particularly of the KGB assassin trying to stop the defection, cello playing babe Kara (D'Abo).

When the KGB whisk the general back from under the British government's noses, Bond follows the trail despite not having authorisation (a move the producers obviously liked, prompting him to go completely AWOL in the next film).

The trail leads him across the world to Africa and into Afghanistan where he joins up with the mujahadeen resistance, a very interesting marker in geopolitical history (now that - in the early 21st Century - they're the bad guys), especially considering Bond meets up with his CIA contact, Felix Lighter; you can almost see Lighter's diary now, denoting a lunch with Osama Bin Laden to discuss training and weapons.

Until the fight hanging on the net flapping around out of the back end of a cargo plane near the end, it's small scale, corny and devoid of every Bond trademark.

They even decided at the time (a statement was released by the studio) that Bond would only have one lover, so as to not promote his usual promiscuity in the time of AIDS. Instead, Bond and Kara are enough to make you gag, falling in love over carnival rides and loving gazes. You almost expect to see them skipping hand in hand through fields of flowers, and that's not James Bond. Neither is Dalton, and he should never have been given the job. He looked like a used car salesman.

© 2011-2024 Filmism.net. Site design and programming by psipublishinganddesign.com | adambraimbridge.com | humaan.com.au