The Living Daylights (1987)

livingdaylights_1987_poster
The Living Daylights (1987)
  • Time: 130 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Crime
  • Director: John Glen
  • Cast: Timothy Dalton, Maryam d’Abo, Jeroen Krabbé

Storyline:

James Bond 007’s mission is to firstly, organise the defection of a top Soviet general. When the general is re-captured, Bond heads off to find why an ally of General Koskov was sent to murder him. Bond’s mission continues to take him to Afghanistan, where he must confront an arms dealer known as Brad Whitaker. Everything eventually reveals its self to Bond.

One comment

  • It seems like everyone loves the early Sean Connery Bond films, and it seems as if most people at least like one or two of the Daniel Craig films. I can’t, however, find many people who like either of the Timothy Dalton films. It’s a shame, really, because The Living Daylights, to me, is an underrated gem. It is easily my favorite Bond film since the Sean Connery era, and in some ways, it is my favorite.

    Why is The Living Daylights so good? The number one reason is action. Out of the top ten action scenes in the Bond series, at least two of them are in this movie. The first is a spectacular car chase with the best Bond car ever, a beautiful sports car upgraded with missiles, skis, spikes for ice, and lasers. (“I’ve had a few option extras installed” – one of my favorite Bond lines). Every other car in the Bond movies, save the one in Goldfinger, is dull compared to this one. The other great action scene comes near the end. I won’t spoil it for you, but it is one of the wildest and most thrilling death struggles I have ever seen. When I first saw this film in the theater, there was a mixture of gasps and excited laughter from the audience at the craziness of it. This was, in some ways, a golden age of action scenes in movies. It was when budgets were big enough to do cool stuff, CGI was still ten years off, and directors weren’t too lazy to choreograph great action scenes. This movie is an example of how great action can be.

    The second reason this movie is so good? Gadgets. I already mentioned the car, but Dalton’s bond in this movie had a couple of other nice ones as well. I’m always disappointed when a Bond movie doesn’t have at least one or two gadgets. They are part of what makes the movies so cool, and what makes every heterosexual male fantasize about being James Bond. Who wouldn’t want to have all kinds of little futuristic, secret toys in their pockets?

    I have never understood why Timothy Dalton didn’t catch on with audiences. So he wasn’t quite as macho and charming as Sean Connery – big deal. Compared to Roger Moore the Clown, he was fantastic. He was serious, tough, and dark enough, but he still retained a sense of humor, and so did the movie. Dalton had great range – imagine Bruce Willis, if Bruce Willis was a classically trained British actor. During the action scenes, he retains a sense of calm and confidence, without cracking a dumb joke every five seconds (but maybe the occasional smirk). That is why the crazy action scenes work so well. I found Timothy Dalton to be way more enjoyable than Pierce Brosnan, and I like him better than Daniel Craig too.

    This movie had some pretty decent villains, although the plot was unnecessarily convoluted. The big henchman, who Michael Fassbender reminds me a lot of, is one of my favorite Bond henchmen of all time. He isn’t just a big brute or a bodyguard. He is also an assassin, with capabilities about on par with Bond. If there is a true weakness in this movie, it is that the Bond girl is pretty weak. Granted, most Bond girls are pretty weak, but this one (other than being very easy on the yes) is kind of a nuisance. She does some retarded stuff sometimes, and doesn’t do much besides shout stuff like “look out” with her eyes wide open.

    I recently saw Skyfall, and I was thoroughly disappointed by it. Bond movies have fallen so far from what made them so enjoyable – James Bond uses gadgets, kicks ass, foils the villain, and gets the girl. He doesn’t need to be a clown, and he doesn’t’ need to be a dark, brooding hero either. Instead of constantly reinventing this formula, I wish that somebody would make another Bond movie like this one.

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