James Bond is catapulted into his most passionate adventure -- not for country, not for justice, but for personal revenge. As Agent 007 turns renegade, Timothy Dalton brings urgency, charm, and deadly determination to his ... more »portrayal of the screen's greates« less
In Timothy Dalton's second (and ultimately final) turn as 007, James Bond goes rogue when his old CIA pal Felix Leiter and his new wife are victimized by a vicious Mexican drug lord. Lotsa stunts, fights and stuff blowin' up follows, as usual.
"Licence" is a decent enough flick and Dalton plays 007 as a cold, utter bad-ass looking for revenge, but overall it didn't feel very "Bond-ish" if you know what I mean. This could've been a generic action movie starring just about anybody.
Robert Davi is great as the scumbag drug lord and the brief cameo by Wayne Newton (!) is seemingly squeezed in there just to make the audience ask "wait a minute, what the hell is Wayne Newton doing in this movie?"
I liked this one a lot when it first came out, but it hasn't aged very well.
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The best Bond film with the second-best Bond
John S. Ryan | Silver Lake, OH | 12/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you enjoyed the first few James Bond films with Sean Connery (before the franchise turned into a campy parody of itself), then you'll like this one. Although it's not based on any of Ian Fleming's original stories, it captures their feel better than anything since _From Russia With Love_.
Timothy Dalton's steely Bond is arguably the closest to date to Fleming's original vision for the MI6 secret agent (not 'spy', please). He's as tough and lean as Connery ever was, and he brings something of Connery's lupine charm to the role.
The rest of the movie is extremely well done. Robert Davi is one of the best villains since Goldfinger, and surely one of the most realistic in the entire series. Carey Lowell, though mostly effective, is a little underwhelming in the acting department. And the plot -- lifted at least partly from Fleming's _Live and Let Die_ (which is the source for the bad thing that happens to Felix Leiter early in the film) -- gives Dalton's Bond an excuse to seethe with volcanic fury and go off seeking vengeance.
If I'm not mistaken (and I don't think I am), this is also the last script to which longtime Bond screenwriter Richard Maibaum contributed. (He died not long after this film was produced.)
I like Pierce Brosnan in the role, and I'd like him better if he got better movies to do; _Goldeneye_ has probably been his best so far. But for some reason, the screenwriters don't want to make him gritty enough. (And by the time they tried with Roger Moore -- in the excellent _For Your Eyes Only_ -- it was far too late.)
I also like _The Living Daylights_. But when I want to watch a non-Connery Bond film, this is the one I pick most often.
Probably all Bond fans out there have already seen it. But if you haven't, you've got a treat ahead of you."
One of the Series Best!
Erik Rupp | 01/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have seen where a few critics have down-graded this movie and that is a shame as "License to Kill" has a lot going for it. The concept of Bond as a rogue was a refreshing change, and one of the best concepts in any of the Bond films. Essentially, the plot goes as follows: A renown drug dealer Sanchez (Robert Davi) is arrested in Miami with help of the DEA and Felix Leiter (Bond's CIA contact and good friend). Following the arrest, Felix gets married. Sanchez escapes and commits a brutal act of revenge before returning to Isthmus City. James Bond (Timothy Dalton), determined to take Sanchez down, enlistes Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell) to help him. One problem for Bond is that Sanchez is well guarded and has numerous contacts. Bond will have to have to be careful in infiltrating Sanchez. The other problem is that he is now a rogue agent, having his license to kill revoked by the British government. The only real weak points of this movie would be the occasional weak acting from Talisa Soto (Sanchez's girlfriend), and a little bit more swearing than some of the other bond films, but many other elements more than make up for these two minor shortcomings. Timothy Dalton is superb as James Bond. Dalton is a great, capable actor, and he is perfect for the movie and its concept. Dalton did a superb job and this is a key factor to the success of the film. As a side note, Dalton needed to make a change in the approach from Roger Moore, just as Moore needed to make a change from Connery. This change between actors is important, otherwise comparisons are made, and usually it is the incumbent who loses (in the minds of the general audience). Dalton did the right thing by changing the Bond to a darker persona. The contrast is important because of Roger Moore's 12-year tenure as Bond, which spread over seven films. Carey Lowell makes a very capable Bond woman as it nice to see a tough woman pairing up with Bond. The central villain, Sanchez, is very strong and well acted -- and also a nice change away from villains who want to destroy the world. Benicio Del Toro and Anthony Zerbe are well cast and well-acted as Sanchez's henchmen. Also, it was nice to see Q, played by the late Desmond Llewelyn, get more to do than his usual brief cameo or two. He certainly deserved it and rose to the challenge admirably. It was also nice to see David Hedison return to play Felix Leiter (he previously played Leiter in "Live and Let Die"). Other elements that make this a very enjoyable, memorable Bond film to watch are the location work, great special effects, and great stunts. The stunts with the semi-trucks toward the end are great fun! Michael Kamen's score adds a lot to the movie as well.VHS or DVD? The VHS version simply contains the movie. The DVD version is a special edition that includes two different audio commentaries which let you watch the movie and hear commentary by some of the cast and production members. They comment about the actors, work on the set, the scenes, and how certain scenes were shot/created. Two music videos are included: "License to Kill" by Gladys Knight is the opening theme, and "If You Asked Me To" by Patti LaBelle marks the closing theme. A promotional feature on the stunt footage at the climax and a documentary on the film itself are also included. Finally, two theatrical trailers and a photo galary with over 100 stills are included. If you are a fan of the Bond series, I highly recommend this movie, and the same goes toward Timothy Dalton and spy/action movie fans. This movie is also included in the first volume of a Bond Collector's set. If you like extra features, I would recommend the DVD. Overall, I happen to think that "License to Kill" is one of the best Bond movies. Major re-evaluation required."
A tough, gritty Bond film.
Erik Rupp | Southern California | 01/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""License To Kill" is one of the most controversial films in the Bond catalog. For many, it is too violent (in a realistic way, without the comedic or fantasy elements), and does not feature a "Bondian" villian or plot. For others, however it is a return to the classic Fleming style, as seen in "From Russia With Love," and "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." Of all the actors that have played James Bond, Timothy Dalton provided the most accurate interpretation of Ian Fleming's character. That may be a different character than the one that Sean Connery played, and certainly quite different than the one Roger Moore played, but Dalton's performance as Bond in "License To Kill," and "The Living Daylights," is the truest to Fleming's novels. The Special Edition DVD of "License To Kill" is quite special indeed. A beautiful widescreen picture, crystal clear sound, and a plethora of special features (like the other Bond special editions) including theatrical trailers and documentaries on the making of the movie make it a must have. The film itself also boasts some of the most exciting action sequences and best character development (what a novel concept!) in all of the Bond films, and features some crackling dialog. If you're an action movie junkie, or like an exciting thriller this one is for you."
Dalton's Bond Swansong
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 02/08/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'Licence to Kill' marks Timothy Dalton's last appearance as James Bond, and it is a gritty, harder-edged Bond film than any since the halycon days of Sean Connery. Despite Leonard Maltin's comments posted here at Amazon.com, I prefer this film to Dalton's debut, in 'The Living Daylights'. (Rumor has it that the script of the earlier film was written with Pierce Brosnan in mind, as he came very close to playing Bond in the late eighties...it was filled with quips and one-liners, definitely NOT Dalton's forte!)In this outing, Bond's longtime friend, Felix Leiter (David Hedison, playing the CIA agent a second time), is brutalized by a vicious druglord (Robert Davi), and his new bride is murdered, and Bond has to go AWOL from the British Secret Service to get revenge. This concept turns Bond into a lone wolf, although Q and CIA operative Pam Bouvier (the athletic and sexy Corey Lowell, later on 'Law and Order'), join him in his vendetta.As in all the best Bond films, the action is fast and loud, the women don't wear much, and there is a riproaring climax (here, in a high-speed big rig chase). By having Bond act alone, the producers were able to keep the budget down, the high-tech gadgetry to a minimum, and the locations to just Miami and Mexico (substituting as a fictional Latin American country.) All this makes for a lean, mean Bond vehicle, well-suited for Dalton's interpretion of Bond as less witty, and more violent.Why did the film fail at the box office? Sad to say, audiences weren't prepared for a 007 that was closer to Ian Fleming's vision. Also, 'Lethal Weapon 2' came out at about the same time, and Mel Gibson was at the peak of his popularity, which pulled crowds away. Finally, while Dalton was very macho, and excellent in fight scenes, he lacked the charisma and panache of Connery or Moore, and was uncomfortable saying the occasional one-liners.All this is a shame, because the film is excellent, one of the better Bond outings! It would be six years before a new generation of filmmakers reinvented 007, in 'Goldeneye', with Pierce Brosnan, at last, as Bond.Discover for yourself the pleasures of 'Licence to Kill', in the wonderful DVD Special Edition, with commentaries by director John Glen, a 'Making Of' documentary, theatrical trailers, and a LOT of other goodies! You WON'T be disappointed!"
Licence To Thrill
Mr. | USA | 12/29/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Timothy Dalton's 2nd and final appearance as James Bond finds the famous spy going AWOL from the British Secret Service in search of drug kingpin, Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi), the man responsible for the near death of his American friend, Felix Leiter as well as the death of his new bride. This Bond film is very different from the rest of the series, in that it shows Bond as more of a renegade than that of a super spy. Teaming up with an American operative (Carey Lowell), the two work together to destroy Sanchez's organization from the inside out. People will note that this plot has a very "Yojimbo," "Fistful Of Dollars," "Last Man Standing," quality to it, in that Sanchez befriends Bond, who then makes him suspect all his allies, having him eliminate his own men in the process. As in all Bond films, Licence To Kill has some great stunt sequences, notably 007 firing a harpoon gun at a plane and skiing after it on the water without skis. Also the great tanker truck sequences are amazing. You have to see a rocket launcher being fired at one to believe it! Timothy Dalton will always be remembered as the most serious James Bond. And although many people criticize him to this day for it, he truly made the part the most real. It's also interesting to point out that Licence To Kill had the best scored screenings with test audiences than any other Bond film, yet it failed to find an audience in the US but did do well in the UK. The original title was Licence Revoked, but United Artists thought Americans wouldn't know what that meant (we're not that ignorant, UA!) so it was changed. The DVD version is packed full of extra features including 2 audio commentaries, one with director John Glen, the other with producer Michael G. Wilson. Although Wilson's is quite informative, John Glen's is the most enjoyable in my opinion. You also get the Licence To Kill music video with Gladys Knight, who claims she now would not have done the song because its subject matter involves killing. And you get the End Credit "If You Asked Me To" music video by Patti LaBelle, one of the most popular End Credit Songs for a Bond movie. There are also other little goodies such as a still gallery, some publicity footage, a featurette on the exciting stunt footage of the film, and of course, theatrical trailers. But one of the best bonuses on the disc is the Inside Licence To Kill Documentary. You get a real feel of how hard and difficult the film actually was to make, with Cubby Broccoli unable to stay on location because of the heat and the mysterious burning hand seen on one of the still photos of a tanker explosion. Very cool stuff! So, although many dislike it here in the USA, this does not mean the film is not credible and more and more people are discovering today what an actual good film it truly is. "Bless Your Heart."-Wayne Newton"