James Bond helps a Russian General escape into the west. He soon finds out that the KGB wants to kill him for helping the General. A little while later the General is kidnapped from the Secret Service leading 007 to be suspicious.
Solid Bond film with Timothy Dalton taking over as 007
"The Living Daylights" was the first of two James Bond films featuring Timothy Dalton as 007. It's a solid Bond flick, but rarely cited when the best films of the franchise are discussed. The "problem" isn't Dalton because he makes a fine James Bond and was what the series needed in 1987 (when the film was released). Although the Roger Moore era (1973-1985) is my favorite stretch of the franchise, mainly because they're so all-around entertaining, Roger was just too old in 1987 to continue in the role (he was 60 years-old). Plus I think everyone was craving a more serious Bond by 1987 and Dalton delivers the goods.
There’s a lot of good in "The Living Daylights." It features a great opening sequence involving skydiving at the Rock of Gibraltar followed by a Jeep-going-down-the-mountain segment. The events switch to Bratislava, Slovakia (but shot in Vienna, Austria) where everything slows down to dramatic intrigue. A short while later there's a cool winter chase episode with Bond and his romantic interest (Maryam d'Abo) in a car with skis (also shot in Austria).
The action-packed last act takes place in Afghanistan (but shot in Morocco and the Mojave Desert). This part of the movie increases in suspense as James and his babe try to get out of the country on a cargo plane, and the film still doesn't end at that point. This climax features three or four excellent suspense scenes and some funny quips as well.
Unfortunately, the film is weak in the area of women. D'Abo is decent in a doe-eyed, winsome way, but her presence is never really capitalized on; she looks good in slacks though. Other than her, there are only brief flashes of women with no one particularly standing out, except maybe a blonde in white shorts.
The cast also includes Joe Don Baker, Jeroen Krabbé, John Rhys-Davies and Andreas Wisniewski, mostly villains or possible villains.
BOTTOM LINE: Although "The Living Daylights" is not a highlight of the series, it's still a worthwhile Bond flick with the usual staples, albeit shaky in the female department. Aside from Timothy Dalton, who makes a refreshing Bond, the opening and ending sequences are the best parts.
The film runs 2 hours, 10 minutes.
United Artists, Eon Productions, Danjaq by John Glen, Richard Maibaum, Michael G. Wilson, Ian Fleming.
Stars: Timothy Dalton, Maryam d'Abo, Jeroen Krabbé, Joe Don Baker.
Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Keywords: london, england arms smuggling prison england assassination spy falsely accused secret identity country estate arms deal russia drug traffic secret mission secret intelligence service kgb villain renegade special car tangier morocco big wheel pipeline cello orchestra freedom fighter czechoslovakia bratislava afghanistan airplane schloss schönbrunn escape vienna, austria moscow, russia
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