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Licence To Kill

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Licence To Kill

Starring: Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell
Director: John Glen
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 133 Minutes
Release Date: July 1989
Genres: 007, Action, Thriller

*Also starring: Robert Davi, Talisa Soto, Anthony Zerbe, Wayne Newton, Frank McRae, Everett McGill, Benicio Del Toro, Desmond Llewelyn

Review by Andrew Hicks
3 stars out of 4

No, that's not a typo, that's how they spell the word "license" in England. Leave it to the British to be snobby enough to reject the letter "s" in all its forms. It doesn't make sense, but neither do any of the movies in the James Bond series. How can one man have sex with three beautiful women and defuse an atomic bomb in every movie? Even the most suave amongst us would have sex with an atomic bomb and defuse three beautiful women by mistake every once in awhile.

This was Timothy Dalton's second and final appearance as 007 and good riddance to him, I say. Sure, he's not a bad Bond, but he's got a certain sliminess about him I just don't like. Dalton outstayed his welcome after only two movies, whereas I didn't start to get sick of Roger Moore until the OCTOPUSSY period. Let's face it, though. Any rugged-looking white guy with dark hair could do a decent James Bond. Hell, people would even pay to see Regis Philbin in the role. And Kathie Lee could play Octocody. Just a thought...

Even with Dalton at the helm, LICENCE TO KILL is still a good Bond outing, for the fact that it so drastically departs from the tried-and-true 007 formula used in the seventeen movies before it. Here, Bond is on a personal mission to avenge the murder of a CIA friend and his wife. Bond is all alone this time, his "licence" to kill having been revoked by the British secret service, and must track down the Mexican drug lord who ordered the double execution.

Locating the villain in a Bond movie is never hard. Just look for the biggest exotic mansion around. Bond finds the place and, as usual, is held captive for a considerable percentage of the movie (something like 22.7%, but don't quote me on that). He also invites the drug lord's girlfriend to a fiesta in his pantalones. That's one of Dalton's two conquests in LICENCE TO KILL... See, that right there is how you know he wasn't meant to play James Bond. The other Bonds get at least a trio of ladies per movie, even George Lazenby in ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE.

LICENCE TO KILL clocks in as one of the better entries in the series, with a visually-stimulating-yet-down-to-earth climax, a more gritty feel to it and an entirely new direction for the Bond series. Bond is self-motivated and independent, with a little help from his friend Q. (who actually joins Bond in the mission toward the end) and his unusually competent girlfriend Pam (who also functions as a low- calorie cooking spray). It also reminds us what the 80's were all about by throwing in cocaine and Wayne Newton. You have to have the cocaine to tolerate Newton.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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