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A brilliant film which for me, also holds alot of emotional value. My first Bond film, and my 2nd favourite overall. I remember being taken to the cinema to see it today.
The PTS, is very good. Bond skydives into an exotic location with other agents for training. All the other agents start being killed one by one, then finally Bond being revealed, then he jumps onto a moving landrover and fights the baddy, destroys the landrover, then cooly parachutes onto a boat and gets off with the hot girl in the bikini. Like GF, this could be a miny Bond movie, it has all the classic elements. Another thing I've noticed about the PTS is, it ties in nicely with GE. After 006's "death", the Ministry of Defense wants to avoid the same thing happening again, and orders M to send the 00s to Gilbatar for a test.
From there on, it's an electrifying Bond adventure, with the Smert Smiopnan message haunting Bond as he tracks down Kara, then Pushkin, and after faking Pushkins assassination tries to stop Whittaker and Koskovs plan. The whole cold war plot is brilliantly done, the story is one of the best in the series. Koskov is a funny villian, Whittaker makes a good villian as the crazed military man, and Necros is really threatening and memorable. Kara is a good Bond girl who's also hot, and Dalton gives a great, classic Bond performance.
The action is great, with the car chase and the plane fight being the stand out moments. The scenes inbetween are also great, the scene where Bond is going to shoot Kara but misses on purpose (really tense), and the hotel room scene with Pushkin are my favourites (Dalton was subtle but dangerous). The soundtrack is also great.
This is the start of what I think is the golden age of Bond films (87-99), and it's one of the 3 I think are perfect, 10/10 flicks (the others are LTK and GE).
It is the December of 1985. Cubby Broccoli invited Roger Moore to his home in Los Angeles. Together they decided it was time for Moore to hand over the torch.
To ensure continuity, Broccoli approached John Glen to direct his fourth Bond film and set about assembling other key crew, such as Peter Lamont, Production Designer; 2nd Unit Director, Arthur Wooster and the score was to be provided by John Barry. Joining Peter Davis as editor would be John Grover, assistant editor since The Spy Who Loved Me. Also coming up through the ranks was Alec Mills, now promoted to Director of Photography, after Mills impressed Glen with his work as camera operator for the past few Bond movies. Mills worked with Glen on their first brush with Bondage in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Cubby was keen to pass on his vast knowledge to his daughter Barbara Broccoli, who had started working on the series with The Spy Who Loved Me in the publicity department. With For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy Barbara acted as an Assistant Director, before taking on more responsibility with an Associate Producers role for the 15th Bond picture, gaining first hand experience of searching for the next James Bond.
That would commence in the January of 1986, but before that Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum began fleshing out their screenplay, toying with the idea of a rookie Bond, submitting a first draft in October 1985 and a revised screenplay the following month.
In the proposed screenplay, Bond is a Royal Navy Officer, based in Vienna, who lives up to the family motto “The World Is Not Enough” after his parents are killed in a climbing accident. Bond gets into a spot of trouble with a girl, a’la Ian Fleming, and is court martialed. While waiting on his court martial, Bond stays with his grandparents in Glencoe. On returning to London, M, the head of the British Secret Service, offers Bond a way out of his quandary – if Bond kills an enemy of the state, his court martial would disappear. After successfully eliminating his target, M has a job offer as a Double ‘0. Bond’s first assignment is to investigate a mysterious character that calls himself Dr. No.
This fascinating concept was shelved by Cubby, who felt that the audience were not interested in seeing Bond’s origins, preferring to keep Bond as a seasoned professional. There is one added benefit to keeping Bond’s background something of an enigma, is that it allowed the public to better project themselves as Bond.
Instead Wilson and Maibaum focused on Ian Fleming's short story, The Living Daylights. Originally run a feature in The Sunday Times in 1962, The Living Daylights was published as the companion story to Octopussy in 1966.
This short story is amongst Fleming’s finest works, in which Bond goes to Berlin to oversee a defection from the Soviets. Unfortunately the KGB have gotten wind of it, so Bond is on guard against a possible assassination attempt.
Throughout the three days the defection is due to take place, Bond uses uppers and downers to carry him through, leading Bond to become morose and cursing his fate as an assassin: Bond loathed cold blooded killing. To take his mind of his predicament, Bond fantasises about a beautiful member of a female orchestra – a cellist – in the building that Bond is observing.
On the final night, the female cellist turns out to be the KGB sniper. Bond adjusts his aim, shooting the rifle out of the girls arms, much to the displeasure of Bond’s associate – Senders for the story and Saunders for the film – who notes it in his official report.
Previously Bond and his associate had a bit of a disagreement, which leads to this wonderful exchange - “Look my friend” said Bond wearily, “I’ve got to commit a murder tonight. Not you. Me. So be a good chap and stuff it, would you?”
The Living Daylights’ story is, more or less, translated faithfully to the screen and ranks among the greatest moments for the filmic 007. The reason that Bond does not kill the sniper in the movie, was because, as Bond acknowledged, “that girl didn’t know one end of a rifle from the other”, which is a launching pad for a tale of defection, double crossing, arms deals, intrigue and romance. Indeed the plot to The Living Daylights is one of the series best, rivalling From Russia With Love and Octopussy, for its devious cunning.
Once again the screenwriters took inspiration from the headlines, be it KGB defectors, arms trading and Soviet entanglement in Afghanistan, although this particular event does date the film somewhat.
In the movie, General Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe) plans a sham defection from Russia to the U.K., in order to implicate the new head of the KGB, General Pushkin (John Rhys-Davies). Koskov has convinced MI6 that Pushkin is reactivating Stalin’s directive, Smert Shpionam – death to spies. Before being snatched back by what the British believe to be the Russians, but is in fact Necros (Andreas Wisniewski), one of the main villains. This is all part of a ruse, as Pushkin is investigating Koskov who is in cahoots with American arms dealer, Brad Whitaker (Joe Don Baker), the third villain, for misusing state funds.
James Bond, however, does not accept Koskov’s accusations, instead enlisting Moneypenny (Caroline Bliss) to inquire after the girl with the cello.
Bond’s world is suddenly less black and white, than was the case in the Roger Moore era, and is all the more diverting because of it. This is a thinking man’s Bond; rather than just following orders, Bond uses his experience and instinct to achieve his objective.
As usual, the filmmakers were at pains to not paint the Russians as the villains, taken their cue, as with all of the 80’s Bond movies, from real life, such as the Soviet leader and his “glasnost” policy.
To keep the film balanced, the filmmakers went for a rogue Soviet General, being paired up with the amoral American, Whitaker; showing that every ideology has rotten apples. The scheme of these two blackguards is purely of a financial nature, which makes the villains plot more believable and more human in scale.
All parties concerned were keen for the next James Bond to be more human and less of a superman, harking back to the tone of the early Bond pictures, thus used this to inform their search for Bond No. 4.
New talent was being unearthed in Australasia so Barbara Broccoli was dispatched there. Dana Broccoli suggested Timothy Dalton, whom Cubby had been chasing since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Although pleased he was considered, Dalton had prior engagements that he was committed, namely two plays “Anthony and Cleopatra” and “The Taming of the Shrew”, plus the film “Brenda Starr”.
With Dalton unavailable, the filmmakers turned to New Zealander Sam Neill, who had starred in the BBC series, “Reilly, Ace of Spies”, helmed by future Bond director, and fellow Kiwi, Martin Campbell.
Glen put Neill through his paces in a couple of screentests, including the classic scene where Bond meets Tatiana in From Russia With Love. Playing Tatiana in the screentests was an old friend, Fiona Fullerton. Although Neill impressed Glen, Wilson and Barbara, he was vetoed by Cubby.
The clear media favourite was Pierce Brosnan, who played a Bondian character in NBC’s “Remington Steele”. Brosnan was no stranger to the world of Bond, after his wife, Cassandra Harris, played opposite Roger Moore in For Your Eyes Only.
Cubby thought that Brosnan, as per his character Remington Steele, would be too similar to Moore, playing the role lightly. Nevertheless, Glen arranged for Brosnan to have screentests at Pinewood.
Despite his misgivings, Cubby was impressed with Brosnan, along with Glen, Wilson and Barbara. They sent the footage to MGM, who agreed. Pierce Brosnan would be the next 007.
The increased media coverage of Brosnan persuaded NBC to renew “Remington Steele” for another season, at the eleventh hour, forcing Brosnan to endure the heartbreak of losing the role.
This pushed back the production schedule back by two weeks as the producers frantically tried to find James Bond. Brosnan’s desolation was another actors delight, as Timothy Dalton was now available.
Born on the 21st of March, 1946 in Colwyn Bay, Dalton had theatre in his blood – his grandparents were involved in the business. Dalton used to play paratroopers, after he and his friends saw the movie “Red Beret”. A 1953 picture, the “Red Beret” was produced by Cubby in his Warwick Films days. Incidentally, the movie was directed by Terence Young, written by Richard Maibaum and amongst the cast was Walter Gotell.
Dalton witnessed the play Macbeth in his formative years and chose acting as his vocation, training at RADA from 1964 to 1966. From there he was cast alongside such stars as Peter O’ Toole and Katharine Hepburn in 1968’s “The Lion in Winter”.
After Dalton’s role as Heathcliff in 1970’s “Wuthering Heights”, he concentrated on theatre roles, until the late 70’s when Dalton appeared in Mae West’s “Sextette” in 1978, the T.V series “Charlie’s Angels” in 1979 and as Prince Barlin in 1980’s “Flash Gordon”.
Dalton had the reputation of a very serious, studious actor and was determined to capture the feel and essence of Ian Fleming's novels, delving deeply into Bond’s paradoxical psyche.
Dalton leads an excellent cast, none more so than delectable and charming Maryam d’Abo as Kara Milovy, the talented cellist. d’Abo came to the attention of the filmmakers, when she was cast as the “love interest” in the screentests to find the next Bond, with Fullerton and Annie Lambert. d’Abo impressed the filmmakers so much that they decided to employ her as Kara.
d’Abo plays the role with understated skill and glamour, making Kara one of the most credible of Bond’s women. Kara is not much of a fighter, but she is brave, resourceful and loyal, if not a little too loyal – her trusting nature means she is a little naive, being mislead by Koskov and Bond.
It is this innocence and sincere nature to Kara, that makes Bond protective of her. Kara’s naivety counterpoints well with the cynical outlook on life that Bond has employed. Throughout the picture, one sees Bond becoming more and more entangled in his relationship with Kara. The hard man being tipped over into sentimentality, again.
Despite Bond lying to Kara, initially, they grow to care for one another, making this relationship one of the most convincing in the Bondian canon. Dalton and d’Abo share a genuine chemistry and form a satisfying couple.
In a concession to the AIDS virus, Bond is a one woman man throughout The Living Daylights. (Well almost – Bond has a brief dalliance in the PTS). Which makes the Bond/Kara relationship so crucial and is a call back to the Fleming novels, whereby Bond often was a one woman man.
It is a good job too, allowing the Bond/Kara relationship to flourish naturally. The Living Daylights is one of the most romantic pictures in the series. One can see Bond getting smitten, when he and Kara go to the Prater Fair, in Vienna.
On a side note, the 1949 film “The Third Man” featured the Prater Fair, and includes such Bond alumni as Bernard Lee, Robert Brown, Geoffrey Keen (Frederick Gray The Spy Who Loved Me through to The Living Daylights), Eric Pohlmann (voice actor in From Russia With Love and Thunderball) and Orson Welles (Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, 1967), plus Guy Hamilton and John Glen.
Kara is Koskov’s girlfriend. Koskov set Kara up – she knew too much – having Kara fire blanks in his mock defection scene. Koskov is hoping that 007 would eliminate Kara. Luckily Bond shot the rifle instead. Upon discovering the bullets were blank, Bond uses that information to win Kara’s trust. However, Koskov succeeds in persuading Kara that Bond is in fact a KGB agent tracking Koskov and gets her to drug Bond. In a dramatic scene, Kara drugs Bond, Bond realizes that she’s been duped, so Bond frantically tells Kara that he was the one who shot the rifle out of her arms, exposing Koskov’s scheme, before slumping to the floor.
Jeroen Krabbe portrays the part of the weaselly and conniving General Koskov with infectious glee, playing Kara, the British and the Soviet off against each other. Although Koskov is little more than a slimy rogue, lacking any real threat, it is refreshing to have varying degrees of villainy in the Bond series – not every Bond villain has to be a Drax or a Blofeld after all – and is more akin to the believable interpretation to the Dalton films and rest of the John Glen pictures overall.
Koskov does not have to be menacing, however, as Necros, an assassin, fills that role rather nicely. Blond, tall, lean and balletic, Necros is a superb antagonist for 007. Here is a man every bit as ruthless and dangerous as Bond, played with icy detachment by Andreas Wisniewski.
Necros’ raid on the MI6 safe house is a great scene, with Necros battling and besting a MI6 officer, Green Four, in a surprisingly brutal encounter, showing the audience that Bond has met his match.
The inevitable confrontation between the two assassins is a standout scene. Bond and Necros are fighting in the hold of a Hercules transport aircraft, when Kara, who is flying the plane, inadvertently opens the cargo hold door. Bond and Necros are flung out of the back of the aircraft, clinging on to the cargo net, yet still fighting one another. It is a breathtaking scene, with Dalton and Wisniewski being spliced together seamlessly with the stunt men, B.J. Worth and Jake Lombard, by this time veterans of the Bonds. The sequence is exquisitely directed by Glen and bravely performed by Worth and Lombard, with the music by John Barry ratcheting the tension to an almost unbearable degree.
The third of the main heavies does not fare so well and is the weak link to The Living Daylights. As Brad Whitaker, Joe Don Baker does not have enough screen time and accordingly, no threat. Whitaker does have some interesting quirks to his character. Not only does Whitaker have a miniature solider collection, allowing him to fight historical battles as he sees fit – an armchair general – Whitaker also has a horde of full scale wax replicas of infamous warlords and generals, with Whitaker’s face plastered upon them.
Another casting mishap is John Terry as Felix Leiter, who had not appeared since Roger Moore’s debut, Live and Let Die in 1973. In that film Leiter was portrayed by David Hedison. Unfortunately, Terry has virtually no charisma to speak off and what should be a welcome return after 14 years for Ian Fleming's most personable character, is rather an awkward anticlimax.
More successful casting choices are Kamran Shah (Art Malik) and General Leonid Pushkin, two worthy allies to 007. Malik is engaging as Shah, one of the leaders of the Afghan resistance to the Soviets. It is uneasy, to see Bond fight alongside the Mujahideen, post 9/11.
John Rhys-Davies encompasses the role of Pushkin with presence, wit and intelligence, and is a good foil to Dalton’s Bond. The interrogation of Pushkin is absolutely riveting. Despite having orders to assassinate Pushkin due to Koskov’s misinformation, Bond wavers, not sure who to believe – Koskov or Pushkin. It is a fabulous piece of acting by Dalton, seeing him wrestle between following orders or following instinct.
The role of Pushkin was originally intended for General Gogol, but ill health precluded Walter Gotell from taking part. Gogol makes a cameo appearance at the end of the film, however, after being promoted to the Soviets Foreign Office. The character of Gogol is either a lovable rogue or a steadfast ally, depending on that particular film’s plot. Gotell starred in every Bond film since The Spy Who Loved Me as Gogol (not to mention he played the villainous Morzeny in From Russia With Love) and was a valuable member of the stock cast, his avuncular charm belied his oft-limited screentime.
Also making his last showing is the beleaguered Geoffrey Keen as the Minister of Defence, Frederick Gray. Like Gogol, Gray was present in every Bond movie since The Spy Who Loved Me. With such a dependable stock cast of characters, it makes it easier to accept a new Bond.
One crucial role is Saunders, 007’s contact in Bratislava. Saunders is rather uptight, which doesn’t endear him to Bond. Like Fleming's original, Saunders notes it in his official report, when he notices Bond alter his aim in the sniper scene.
However, when the two meet up in Vienna, Saunders acts beyond his brief, leading to Bond to reassess him.
Which makes it even more galling when Necros murders Saunders. Bond and Saunders agree to meet up at a cafe near the ferris wheel. As Bond is taking Kara on the ferris wheel, he observes a balloon seller near Saunders.
After their business is concluded, Bond thanks Saunders sincerely. Saunders leaves the cafe, only to be killed by Necros’ rigged sliding doors. On reaching Saunders’ body, Bond happens upon a balloon with “Smert Shpionam” scrawled across it. Bond pops the balloon, a rare piece of rage and vulnerability for 007. Across the fair, Bond spots a group of balloons. Thinking that he has found Saunders’ killer, Bond leaps into action, gun drawn, only to find it is a mother and child holding the balloons. Bond looses his veneer of imperviousness and reacts dangerously. All acted out superbly by Dalton in that scene.
Thus Bond is forced to focus on his assignment and not for his deepening feelings for Kara. In a contrast to his being charming when Bond and Kara are on their date at the Prater Fair, Bond is rather cold and brusque with Kara after Saunders’ death. Kara asks Bond if there was any messages from Koskov, to which Bond icily replies, “Yes, I got the message”.
Naturally Q and M are present and correct. There is a briefing scene where by Robert Brown’s M is admonishing Bond, after he learnt, via Saunders report, of Bond failing to kill the sniper. They also come to blows in this scene over the proposed assassination of Pushkin, with M being dismissive and frustrated with Bond over his reluctance to carry out M’s assignment. Although lacking the punch of comparable scenes in Goldfinger and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, this is a strained scene and well played by Dalton and Brown.
In a comforting scene Q, again portrayed by Desmond Llewellyn, helps Bond track down female snipers in his lab. There is a nice, familial dynamic between Q, Bond and Moneypenny in this scene. As the new Miss Moneypenny, Caroline Bliss is a stable understudy to the definitive Lois Maxwell. Although the script hardly does Bliss any favours - “Any time you want to drop by and listen to my Barry Manilow collection”.
Q also gives Bond a brand new Aston Martin Volante to play with. This V8 beauty boasts retractable outriggers; laser beams built into the hubcaps – an updated version on the scythed tyre shredder in Goldfinger; a heads-up display projected on the windshield; two front firing missiles and, like the Lotus Esprit in For Your Eyes Only, a self destruct mechanism, amongst other features.
It is a neat way of linking Timothy Dalton’s Bond to Bonds’ past. The Living Daylights also marked the 25th Anniversary since the release of Dr. No. What better way to celebrate such a milestone, than having the new Bond behind the wheel of an Aston Martin?
The car chase itself is entertaining and can rank up there with similar scenes in Goldfinger and The Spy Who Loved Me. The inclusion of a Bond car represents the traditional, cinematic Bondian tropes, fused together with a more plausible thriller/Flemingesque tone, recalling the early Connery pictures, as per the filmmakers wishes.
All the action to The Living Daylights is very good, from the car chase to the PTS, and from the cargo net scrap to the spectacular Afghanistan battle scene, all helped enormously by Dalton throwing himself into the action. The whole crew, it seemed, were rejuvenated by Dalton’s work ethic, living up to the pictures theatrical tag line, “living on the edge”. Dalton put the danger back into 007.
John Glen and his talented stunt arrangers deserve maximum credit for their work on The Living Daylights. Indeed, Glen is much more assertive than was the case with A View To A Kill, discovering a zip and energy that had briefly deserted him. It is a hard task directing a Bond film – not only does one have the production costs and multiple units shooting around the world, one also has to contend with audiences contradictory expectations of what a Bond movie should be. To this end, Glen managed this fine balancing act rather superbly, having all the requisite elements of danger, thrills and spectacle, with the added bonuses of romance and chicanery.
This is in no small part to the excellent scribes, Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson. Taking Fleming's The Living Daylights short story as a springboard, the duo served up a cracking plot, full of Cold War machinations, all set to a more credible plot and believable romantic story. Making the screenplay amongst the finest of the series.
This a classic Bond film, assisted greatly by Alec Mills, Cinematography; John Richardson, Special Effects and Miniatures and the musical score by John Barry.
Together Glen and Mills create cold, impersonal visions of Bratislava, fitting the austere climate of the Eastern bloc, which contrasts with the glamours vistas to Austria and the blazing heat of Tangier, Morocco, which also doubled for war torn Afghanistan. One memorable shot is when, on horseback, Bond and the Mujahideen are silhouetted against the vivid backdrop of a desert sunrise.
The impressive miniatures are of note, built by John Richardson and his team. Richardson himself has been with the Bond family since The Spy Who Loved Me, no doubt learning his trade from the master of miniatures, Derek Meddings.
This is the final score by John Barry. Appropriately Barry makes a cameo at the end of the movie as the conductor to Kara’s orchestra.
For The Living Daylights Barry updates his sound for the new Bond, continuing on from A View To A Kill, with a more rock/synthesizer sound; recalling in some ways to Barry’s own score for On Her Majesty's Secret Service. This modern sound is coalesced beautifully with the high production values of an orchestra.
Barry is a genius at weaving songs into his scores and for The Living Daylights he wrote three songs to be implemented throughout his composition. The main title theme is by the Norwegian pop group, A-ha. The theme itself is only rather good, yet the way Barry utilized it, as always, takes the song to another level.
For the other two songs, Barry co-wrote them with The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde. “If There Was A Man” was used to close the picture, as well as Kara’s romantic theme. “Where Has Everybody Gone?” was appropriated for Necros’ motif and is heard on the tracks “Necros Attacks”, “Murder at the Fair” and “Inflight Fight”, which is the accompanying piece of music to the cargo net brawl. On Necros’ Walkman, prior to his raid on the MI6 safehouse, one can hear the full song, with all its menacing undercurrents. Both songs are performed by The Pretenders.
Curiously, Barry scored the Land Rover chase in the PTS, with a blend of Roger Moore era overtones, with the more earnest sound of Timothy Dalton. It is as if John Barry and John Glen are saying goodbye to the more comedic styles of the Moore era, before embarking of their new life with the latest 007 – both the score and the direction with plenty of bemused on-lookers; terrified locals; shots of animals and rather a lot of destruction.
Over his 11th Bond pictures, Barry’s influence can not be overstated. Barry was the Bond sound. Barry had great impact, not only on the world of Bond, but on the musical world as a whole.
The strength of a Bond movie is more or less dependent on 007 himself. Luckily, in the case of The Living Daylights, Timothy Dalton is rather marvellous. On a superficial level, Dalton is reminiscent of the way Ian Fleming described Bond in the novels, with Dalton’s clear gaze and cruel mouth.
Additionally, Dalton has the danger and lethal cunning of Fleming’s 007, with understated charm and dashing good looks.
Dalton’s Bond is a thinking man’s Bond, with every situation being pored over in Bond’s mind; the negatives and positives being weighed up before Bond acts.
Indeed Dalton imbues his take on Bond with subtle characterizations, be it unsure whether to carry out his orders, or follow his instinct – case in point when Bond has the option of leaving Kara behind when Bond is taxiing the Hercules; the mission or the girl? This is true of Fleming's Bond; the mission came first. Although Dalton’s Bond, like his literary counterpart, was won over by his chivalrous nature.
Bond almost regrets letting Kara on board the Hercules, however. Bond lowers the cargo door, indicating Kara to manoeuvre the jeep she’s driving, behind the plane and drive up into the cargo hold. Kara doesn’t understand Bond instructions, leading Bond to mouth a certain four letter word.
Thus the humour in The Living Daylights is more contextual, such as when Bond says, “Glad I insisted you brought that cello”, after Bond was most vociferous about leaving “that cello” behind in Bratislava. Dalton’s ensuing “sorry” is priceless, after the cello gets shot.
Dalton isn’t quite as comfortable when delivering Bond’s trademark quips, lacking the panache of Sean Connery or Roger Moore.
This is a mission focused Bond, hence he has little time for wisecracks. The only time one sees beyond Bond’s taciturn persona, is when he is in Kara’s company, in which Bond visibly relaxes, being charming.
Which is true of Fleming's Bond, as according to Fleming, Bond “shouldn’t endear himself” to the audience, yet Bond has a “certain gentleness” with the women in his life. Interestingly, John Rhys-Davies, who was a stable mate of Dalton’s when they were learning their craft, said Dalton was very charismatic, which is baffling as to why Dalton didn’t bring that particular trait for his portrayal of Bond. However, Dalton is true to the source material, as Fleming's Bond is charming, without being overtly charismatic.
Dalton’s Bond is much more than a cerebral Bond, however - his lean frame and physicality lends himself to being a very plausible man of action. Dalton is a more human Bond, a’la George Lazenby, and proved to be a resourceful and resilient fighter.
If there is one slight caveat to Dalton’s performance, is that he is too mission focused to appreciate the joie de vivre of his life, which the literary Bond almost always managed to do. It is a small, rather inconsequential matter, that doesn’t detract from one of the most Flemingesque performances in the series. Perhaps Dalton took his cue from Fleming’s The Living Daylights, where by he plays the character with a slightly burnt out persona.
Production began on 17th of September, 1986, when the 2nd Unit started shooting in Gibraltar and the 1st Unit commenced filming on the 26th of that month. Production wrapped on the 13th of February, 1987.
The world premiere took place at London’s Leicester Square on the 29th of June. The Living Daylights’ box office totalled $191 million, which was up on A View To A Kill’s $152 million and Octopussy’s $184 million, but slightly down on For Your Eyes Only’s receipts at $195 million. The international box office encouraged EON - at $140 million the same as Moonraker. Yet the domestic totals were a source of disquiet, being the lowest since The Man With The Golden Gun.
Regardless, The Living Daylights was a major success, more so in its endeavour to make the venerable Bond series relevant again. The Living Daylights is an often absorbing picture, especially pre- Afghanistan, where the story is a delightful blend of intrigue and thrills. The Living Daylights is a classic Bondian adventure, crowned by Timothy Dalton’s outstanding performance as 007.
Let us begin with the positives. To start off, really good performance by Dalton as Bond here, he clearly knew what he was doing from the start which is a good sign. Another great thing here is Necros, simply put he is a really good henchmen who does what it takes to get the job done. This movie also has some really nice action scenes as well (the final duel between Bond and Whitaker is one of my favorite's). Kara was a decent bond girl imo. And of course John Barry is back at it again with the great movie score (though I'm not to high on this one compared to his others). And we have Desmond being his usual amazing self.
Now...this movie I'm afraid has quite a few flaws to it. For starters Felix is completely wasted in the movie and is really kinda a mockery of the character imo, he looks like some random hobo who is somehow the ladies man. The villains are also completely awful, while I do like Whitaker he's far from even being decent and I only really even like him because it's Joe Don Baker and Koskov..good freaking lord is he just awful in every sense of the damn word, he is overanimated and annoying for the whole movie and really does nothing at all and is a waste of screentime honestly, also him kissing bond made me want to puke.
Another issue I have is that the whole afghan resistance bits are just completely nonsensical and really meaningless to the movie and only feel as if they were added to fill in time. Also another big problem is that the pacing is all over the place often in this movie, like the beginning is kinda slow but then at times it's breakneck speed or it's as slow as a snail. And of course the biggest flaw in this movie is the plot or lack thereof, this plot just is insanely hard to follow and honestly it's not even interesting in the slightest, it feels as if they had a bunch of cool action scenes for a bond film but forgot to make a plot for it and added one last minute because it was required, it's like a joke man.
So as a whole this movie is alright but very heavily flawed I'm sad to say, Thankfully Dalton would get a film that really shined with his next and unfortunately last bond film
My final rating is a 6.5/10