'Licence To Kill' revisited
With 'Quantum of Solace' due to hit our screens soon, we take a daily look back at the 21 official Bond films. Day 16: ‘Licence To Kill’
Licence To Kill (1989, John Glen)Villain: Robert Davi as Franz SanchezAt stake: Revenge!Candy: Carey Lowell as Pam BouvierGizmo: A radio/broom handle prototypeTheme song: ‘Licence To Kill’ by Gladys KnightQuote: ’We’re Hong Kong Narcotics, you BASTARD!’By this stage in the franchise, the Bond producers were on something of 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. There are arguments for both approaches, but 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 made it to the screens. This was, to be fair, partly to do with disputes over ownership of the property, but even so, Dalton’s second outing would do enough damage to strand the character in no-man’s land. 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 horror slashers and 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. It’s a shame that he decided he couldn’t be doing with the legal battles that so delayed the start of his third adventure. If he’d stuck around, ‘Goldeneye’ would have offered a far better vehicle for his undoubted talents…James Bond will return in… ‘GoldenEye’
Read our original review of 'Licence to Kill'
Author: Adam Lee Davies
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