This is one of my favorite Bond films, along with "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", and "Casino Royale" (the most recent production, not the early one). The reason I think is that all three of these Bond films follow to some degree the corresponding Fleming (novel/short story) plots. The films of course -- being that audiences want a lot of action stunts that would be unbelievable in written form -- the films are a much over the top account. "The Living Daylights" is one of the last Fleming short stories, and forms the nuclear-basis of the film's plot. Bond is assigned to help a Russian agent defect to the West, and to protect the Russian during escape Bond must kill a Russian sniper. At the last second -- before firing -- Bond realizes the Russian sniper is a beautiful women that he saw just hours before playing an artistic cello at a symphonic concert. He pulls the trigger, but purposely misses .. and that's how it all starts. As you might imagine, things are not as they may first appear, and get a little complicated in the unwinding. Excellent acting by Dalton and the major supporting roles. The on-location cinematography is superb. Some cartoonish acting in the minor roles, but, hey, it's a Bond film. Worth a watch.
Have never seen this Bond film with Timothy Dalton as 007. It was fun and enjoyable action. I like the Bond films with snow scenes the best. In the past, I preferred Sean Connery and then Pierce Brosnan as 007, but Dalton was quite good in the role. Pleasantly surprised to find in this film, John Rhys-Davies who is on my list of favorite British actors. Rhys-Davies was great in the Indiana Jones, "Last Crusade" movie.
I've never understood why Timothy Dalton's work is always overlooked when discussing "good" Bond movies. He was excellent in this one.
...and so, the run to the end of the Bond Films™ commences!
Initially I didn't know what to make of this, as the pre-titles sequence was all about hard men and M having an office on a cargo plane and crazy stunts on Land Rovers in Gibraltar, and pain balls and monkeys... wasn't this the start of Dalton's run? Wasn't he the return to the Bond of the novels and turned the corner from the Panto-Bond® of Moore's administration?
Well, it turns out the script started as a Roger Moore vehicle, then it was to be Pierce Brosnan's start (until Broccoli used "Remington Steele" to force NBC into the position of screwing him over), and *then* Timothy Dalton got to finally do a Bond Film, after having been up for the role five times or so as early as OHMSS and "Diamonds are Forever".
While not as badly convoluted as "Octopussy", this does suffer from being too much of a muchness. We've got a Soviet General who defects and then doubles back on MI-6, but actually he's arranged to go to an independent arms merchant to be part of a lucrative weapons deal that also involves a double-cross on the Soviets' purchase by using diamonds to pay for poppy mash that will turn a massive profit in addition to the amount they're making on the arms. Plus, there's a Cello player who was to provide cover for the initial defection who's romantically involved with the defector, but who falls in love with Bond (with no solid reason for doing so, other than simply his magnetism), and some Afghanis who have something to do with the Mujahideen (or مجاهدون if you're particularly demanding).
Dalton does provide the most focused Bond we've seen since Connery, and possibly Moore in "For Your Eyes Only". Sadly, the Leiter stand-in is entirely dubbed and badly synced so it really shows, the two assistants of his are under-used, the Bond Girl© is only vaguely useful and mostly exists to sigh "oh, James…" a great deal, and any of several Villains are neither scary nor brainy enough to become worrisome. The arms dealer, in particular, seems far too distracted to ever pose a threat, and more resembles a big teddy bear or 8-year-old child than a cold-blooded gun seller. Casting might be the problem here, but as the other two 'bad guys' aren't much better, it's probably the Director.
It's okay, but I suspect that Dalton's other piece will prove to be the far superior one. If nothing else, it was actually formulated with him in mind.
My favourite Bond film.
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