Timothy Dalton’s second James Bond film outing certainly doesn’t match his debut.
The film takes bits and pieces from various Ian Fleming and patches them together, to create an action-packed 80’s thrill-ride. You can certainly find bits of Fleming’s “Live And Let Die” and “The Hildrebrand Rarity”, most of all.
The characters in this film are more or less “hit or miss”, as the saying goes. I would have to say that Sanchez and James Bond are the two most interesting characters of this film, alongside Desmond Llewelyn’s more involved role. Robert Davi’s Franz Sanchez is a very nasty Bond villain. Davi captures the intimidating and brutal characteristics of a ruthless drug dealer. Through out the film, he proves to be a worthy nemesis for James Bond. As for Timothy Dalton’s performance as James Bond, he shines once again. It’s a shame though that his second film couldn’t have improved upon his first film, and it’s a shame that this was his final James Bond outing. Once again, Dalton portrays a Fleming-esque James Bond; probably more so than any actor of the series. The rest of the characters were rather bland, or flat. Carey Lowell’s Pam Bouvier was an average Bond girl. Talisa Soto’s performance as Lupe was not anything superb, either. Anthony Zerbe’s Milton Krest seemed like an uninspired character, too. It was nice to see David Hedison reprise his role as CIA agent Felix Leiter; however, some of the scenes featuring Hedison were laughable (specifically, the scene where Hedison is running alongside the two DEA agents).
Michael Kamen’s score for this film usually goes unappreciated, but I have to admit that I enjoy it. Supposedly, Eric Clapton added a few guitar pieces to the score, which makes it even more interesting. Some of Kamen’s score drags on, but his rendition of the James Bond theme is fantastic, and quite memorable. Gladys Knight provides some great vocals for the main theme, too, but the lyrics are of poor quality.
The locations are rather bland, also. The most interest location seems to be Key West, which is only featured in the film for a short amount of time. The fictional Isthmus City and the deserts of Mexico are nothing memorable, but do provide as quality stages for some of the film’s major action and suspense sequences. As for the style of the film, it stands out as “just another 80’s film”. By this, I mean the film has a dingy quality, and seems grainy at times. There are no stand-out camera angles or innovative shots. John Glen filmed this pretty straight-forward.
Overall, this film seems like the “Die Hard” of the James Bond series. It’s mainly an action-driven story, featuring low-key performances. It’s a shame that Timothy Dalton had to finish off his short James Bond career with this film. I wish they would have done a film more like “The Living Daylights”, instead. The action is admirable, at least, and I do enjoy the score quite a bit. The two lead performances are fantastic, too.
With this being my first James Bond film, I have to hold it in some high regard. It was enough to get me interested in the series. Had it not been as interesting as I thought, then perhaps I wouldn’t even be posting this right now.