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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 27.27%
Average: 14.55%
Pretty Bad: 12.73%
Total Crap: 1.82%

2 reviews, 43 user ratings

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Licence to Kill
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by Jack Sommersby

"The Second-Best of the James Bond Adventures"
5 stars

Advice: Don't feed Bond's best friend to a shark -- he'll get seriously pissed.

Both Timothy Dalton and his debut James Bond entry The Living Daylights failed to impress me, so I was all the more surprised at the genuine excitement and filmmaking fervor that I found Licence to Kill positively teeming with. This time around, Bond has his "licence" revoked by the British Secret Service when he unofficially goes after a sadistic South American drug lord (a smashing performance by the great B-movie actor Robert Davi) responsible for the severe maiming of his best friend (an appealing David Hedison, reprising his series role as Felix Leiter) and the death of the man's newlywed bride (a touching Priscilla Barnes). Dalton doesn't have the sly wit of a Sean Connery or the appealing savoir-faire of a Roger Moore, but he's more focused, hard-edged, and human than either, and this lends his Bond (who is more faithful in spirit to author Ian Fleming's original creation) an emotional immediacy that supplies dramatic underpinnings to the role. Yes, Dalton is decidedly lacking panache with a punch line, but his suaveness isn't oily nor is his innate sense of decency foolhardy, and there's a welcome sense of danger and darkness to him that keeps us riveted. John Glen returns as director, and his staging of action sequences hasn't been this impressive since the 1983 series-best Octopussy (the grand finale involving two eighteen-wheelers racing down a mountain road while a twin-engine prop plane circles from above is breathtaking). Kudos also to longtime Bond screenwriters Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum for concocting an interesting-yet-comprehensible screenplay that refreshingly doesn't shoot off into Byzantine directions -- you can actually follow the plot without a Bond Plot for Dummies manual -- and for concocting the best villain our fearless superspy has ever faced. Talisa Soto is deadwood as one Bond girl (she can't read a line to save her life), with Carey Lowell (after trying too hard at first) captivating as the other. Lots of neat new gadgets (like a signature camera/gun), fabulous locales (the Florida Keys, Acapulco, Veracruz), and Wayne Newton as a seedy televangelist (who keeps a soundproof "temple" for his lovely female donors).

See it.

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originally posted: 06/04/04 22:04:12
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User Comments

3/09/17 Louise (the actual one) Dalton is terrific and this is one of the better Bond films anyway. 4 stars
1/31/16 David Marsden A Bond movie way ahead of it's time with two of the hottest Bond girls 5 stars
1/24/15 david froman talisa soto is hotter than hot 4 stars
8/30/09 Jeff Wilder Dalton's best. Gritty with a portrayal of Bond as a flawed human to who anyone can relate. 5 stars
11/14/08 The Dork Knight Not so much a Bond movie as a gritty revenge film. I still liked it 4 stars
11/10/08 Mark Gibson dalton was oddly like craig 2 decades early. its got a dark edge about it, but its great. 5 stars
2/11/08 Pamela White Dalton needs to step up to become Bond 3 stars
10/12/07 Charles Dalton is LAME! Long Live Connery! 2 stars
7/21/07 Sugarfoot License To Kill is the closest Bond movies came to the brillant Connery entries. 5 stars
11/18/06 JM Synth Dalton could kill Sean Connery and Daniel Craig just by looking at 'em! 5 stars
10/14/06 ProSneakyD Dalton's 2nd & last, bond going rogue is very original and makes this highly entertaining. 5 stars
5/20/06 Yorkee All that for revenge - Easy to see Tim had to go! 2 stars
3/25/06 r jensen dalton & davi are great 5 stars
1/03/06 Anthony Feor Daltons best one 4 stars
11/20/05 chris another great performance by dalton very good film indeed 5 stars
8/14/05 mike if you like dalton, among the best of the bonds 5 stars
5/27/05 tony Awsome movie. great way to end daltons carrer. Marvalous plot. Robert Davi shows quality 5 stars
4/20/05 Indrid Cold Dalton was an underappreciated Bond but this one is oddly mean-spirited. 3 stars
1/08/05 keithers.. The weakest Bond Film....Dalton is a horrid james bond.... 2 stars
11/20/04 Laura Glen My grandad rocks! This was one of the best Bond films made thanks to the excitemnet and con 5 stars
8/17/04 Herolder Liked Dalton much better than Brosnan 5 stars
4/25/04 R.W. Welch Standard-issue Bond with just passable acting. 3 stars
11/29/03 john more of an 80's style action movie than a Bond film - Dalton doesn't cut it! 2 stars
10/11/03 JimmyC It wa sa great movie....then Wayne Newton showed up???????? 3 stars
7/06/03 Paul S. Magic moments: truck chase, Leiter`s demise, TV evangelist, Lupe, Pam, casino scene 4 stars
5/16/03 Andrew Carden The Best Dalton Flick, but Is That Really Saying Anything??? 3 stars
3/15/03 TAG What a shame that Dalton left after favorite Bond flick! 5 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby The second-best Bond adventure. Dalton and Davi are outstanding! 5 stars
10/24/02 Charles Tatum This killed the series for a few years 3 stars
10/15/02 Boris Carey Lowell is a stunner! Underrated Bond flick! 5 stars
9/17/02 CVJ Timothy Dalton is Crap as Bond 2 stars
8/19/02 Nevz I like bond movies, but Dalton let the side down this time 3 stars
5/27/02 Carla Metzger Flat as Bond movies go. Timothy Dalton didn't like playing Bond and it shows. 2 stars
2/15/02 Zargo the movie's cool, dalton's cooler 5 stars
6/04/01 keith langman dalton is a horrible bond can't stand watch a bond movie with a bad bond 2 stars
4/12/00 Gremlin Another fuckin' drug movie...snor?! Villians kicked ass, though. 4 stars
3/12/99 Claude Derralt Great and very underrated Bond film. Dalton is great 5 stars
12/28/98 Lucy B. Excellent bond film. Dalton really makes it special. Too bad he only did two. 5 stars
11/22/98 little jerry The grittiest Bond film and the best.Superb action scenes. 4 stars
11/10/98 Enforcer Underrated Bond film. 4 stars
10/28/98 Silent Rob An average Bond flick. Like good Moore or 'make do' Connery. 3 stars
10/06/98 Tommy Maguire One of the better Bond films, it's only failing casting Dalton as 007. Great action flick. 4 stars
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  14-Jul-1989 (PG-13)



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