BondMovie ReviewsCountdown to Spectre: The Living Daylights (1987)

Keith NoakesNovember 2, 2015

This is the next installment in my look back to the James Bond 007 series in anticipation for the new installment, Spectre coming out on November 6th. If you are interested in any of my earlier installments, click here.

Agent 007, James Bond (Timothy Dalton) is tasked in helping KGB agent Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe) defect during a symphony performance. During his debriefing with Bond, Koskov divulges that a policy of assassinating defectors has now been instated by his KGB counterpart Leonid Pushkin (John Rhys-Davies). But as Bond explores this new threat, another plot surfaces involving a shady American arms dealer (Joe Don Baker) and a pair of Russian assassins, Necros (Andreas Wisniewski) and Kara Milovy (Maryam d’Abo).

Fun fact, I watched this movie twice since I may or may not have fallen asleep the first time. About the film itself, I will start off by saying “The Living Daylights” has to be one of the worst titles for a Bond film with Octopussy a close second. Secondly, I did not think I could hear a worse opening theme song than For Your Eyes Only‘s For Your Eyes Only which just put me to sleep but this film’s opening theme, also called The Living Daylights, is both cheesy and corny but unfortunately kept me awake. Fortunate enough, this film is not as bad as those. This film marks Timothy Dalton’s first as Bond. At first glance, he is obviously different from Roger Moore’s Bond but not too different to the point that it’s unbelievable. This change did not seem as drastic as the one from Sean Connery to George Lazenby from Diamonds are Forever to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I thought Dalton was okay as Bond as he seemed to be able to handle all of the spy/secret agent stuff but I didn’t think he was good with the charming and witty stuff that Roger Moore did so well over his seven previous films. This film had about an even balance of both of those. There was some action here but it won’t be anything new as it is just more of the same with the only sequences which stood out include a fight hanging out of a cargo plane, a car chase, and another siege near the end (there are so many). I believe that there was supposed to be a plot here but I feel like the film was just leading up to something that never happened. Perhaps something did happen, but I just couldn’t tell. The film had some excitement but that is what made the end so disappointing. Without giving anything away, while watching this, I wasn’t always sure who the real villain was as the options we were presented did not come off as very evil to me. Maybe this was because of the writing. D’Abo was okay as Milovy but I found she served no purpose whatsoever as she was just a passenger during the proceedings. Out of all the things I didn’t like about this film, the worst has to be the casting choice for the role of Miss Moneypenny. Since Lois Maxwell (whom I’ve enjoyed and was Canadian), left the role after the previous film, A View to a Kill, they recast her as a younger woman. I just found it didn’t work because her (Caroline Bliss) and Bond’s age difference just made it weird to me. Because their relationship so far in the series has consisted mostly of flirting, this just didn’t work. I also had a similar problem with Felix Leiter (John Terry) being younger as well. Overall, this entry had some good things in it but I just found it to be mostly a mess. Dalton’s performance earns this a slight recommendation.

Score: 5.5/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and like me on Facebook.

Next: License to Kill


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