50 years of James Bond
From Sean Connery to Daniel Craig, we revisit all 22 James Bond films
As the twenty-third 007 adventure 'Skyfall' hits cinemas, Time Out's resident gentleman spy Adam Lee Davies takes a trip through Bond's back pages. We got the girls, we got the gadgets, and we got the glamour: truly, all of Bond is here...
Read Time Out's review of 'Licence to Kill'
Villain: Robert Davi as Franz Sanchez
At stake: Revenge!
Candy: Carey Lowell as Pam Bouvier
Gizmo: A radio/broom handle prototype
Theme song: ‘Licence To Kill’ by Gladys Knight
Quote: ’We’re Hong Kong Narcotics, you BASTARD!’
By this stage, the Bond producers were on a hiding to nothing. If they continued to churn out lavish concoctions in which 007 swanned around five-star resorts bedding every exotically monickered female that fell into his path while limbering up for a climactic battle with a crazed megalomaniac in a space station/undersea lair/converted volcano, audiences bemoaned a lack of originality. If, on the other hand, they tried something new, the series was accused of veering off track. When ‘Licence To Kill’ opted for the latter, it went so far off the rails that it would be six years before the next instalment.
In a straight-up revenge story, James quits MI6 to pursue the sneering drug baron who killed his friend’s new wife – and brings down his smuggling ring as a mere afterthought. A calculated decision has clearly been made to up the violence quota in order to grab the attention of teenage boys weaned on straight-to-video nasties. Hearts are ripped out, heads blown off and women raped, and by the end the film starts to resemble a particularly distasteful Steven Seagal rumble or one of Schwarzenegger’s grubbier efforts in the vein of ‘Commando’ or ‘Raw Deal’.
One has to feel for Dalton, who was never given a fair shake by either of the films in which he appeared. If he’d stuck around, ‘Goldeneye’ would have offered a far better vehicle for his undoubted talents…