A fake Fabergé egg and a fellow agent's death leads James Bond to uncovering an international jewel smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on NATO forces.
James Bond is on possibly his most brutal mission yet. Bond's good friend, Felix Leiter, is left near to death, by drug baron Franz Sanchez. Bond sets off on the hunt for Sanchez, but not everyone is happy. MI6 does not feel Sanchez is their problem and strips Bond of his license to kill. Bond is now more dangerous than ever. Bond gains the aide of one of Leiter friends, known as Pam Bouvier and sneaks his way into the drug factories, which Sanchez owns. Will Bond be able to keep his identity secret, or will Sanchez see Bond's true intentions? Written by
Bond's controversial betrayal of M was, in part, a way to sidestep the fact that the British have no jurisdiction over a Latin American drug cartel. See more »
Bond's Lincoln Mark VII has a front Florida license plate; that state only has rear plates. See more »
AWACS radar operator:
We have a mid-course deviation. Target heading 036, 126 miles, bearing 062, Havana VOR.
Voice of DEA agent:
He's landing at Cray Key. Advise Key West Drug Enforcement.
AWACS radar operator:
Roger, sir. AWACS to Key West. Key West Drug Enforcement, please come in.
Voice of DEA agent:
If they hurry, they just might be able to grab the bastard.
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At the tail end of the credits: "James Bond Will Return" See more »
One of the best Bond films, definitely the most underrated!
A terrific thriller and a great Bond film, Licence to Kill was Timothy Dalton's second and final performance in the role of 007, and it's his finest hour as the world's most famous secret agent. With a brutality and edge unlike any other Bond film before or since, the darkness of this film turned off many fans; indeed, this is about as far from the likes of Octopussy and Moonraker than is imaginable. A heavy American influence is present; the likes of Lethal Weapon and Die Hard were upstaging the old-fashioned thrills of 007, so director John Glen and writers Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum decided to match their rivals and deliver a grittier, bloodier and more intense storyline. The results are a success, and the film stands out as one of the most exciting, interesting and gripping Bond films of all time.
A memorable pre-credits sequence involves the capture of vicious drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi); he has left the security of his corrupt home to act out revenge on the lover of his mistress, so the DEA exploit this risk to carry out an audacious arrest. James Bond is along for the ride, as is his old friend Felix Leiter (David Hedison), who was just about to get married before word of Sanchez's whereabouts reached him. Unfortunately, it's not long before one of Sanchez's 'famous million dollar bribes' is doubled and he is helped to escape. Sanchez's first action is to exact horrific revenge on those who captured him; when Bond discovers Leiter's wife murdered and Leiter himself the victim of a shark attack, he swears revenge himself against Sanchez, even if it means acting alone, with his licence to kill revoked and the British government after him. As Sanchez never saw him at the time of his capture, Bond has the freedom to work undercover and into his enemy's world and business, encountering many friends and foes along the way; there's the egregious Milton Krest (Anthony Zerbe) whose underwater transport firm is a cover for Sanchez's drug deals, the sadistic Dario (Benicio del Toro) who used to be part of the Contras before he was kicked out, Sanchez's lover Lupe (Talisa Soto), and CIA agent Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell), who is the only one of Leiter's contacts in the Sanchez investigation who is still alive, and who works with Bond to successfully provide cover for him when he arrives in the fictional Isthmus City in the hope of climbing Sanchez's criminal ladder.
Usually, when reviewing Bond films, I can't be bothered with delving into the plot as there's barely one to speak of most of the time; it's the usual tale of globe-trotting and world domination. Licence to Kill actually has a tense and involving storyline that keeps the excitement and momentum moving at a cracking pace. Another major factor to the film's success are the performances, especially by Dalton and Davi as two men on opposing sides of the law. Dalton remodels Bond as a determined, often ruthless free agent who, I'm told, is a lot closer to Ian Fleming's original 007 in the novels; here, Bond is tougher, more vicious and clearly quite a dangerous person. Dalton delivers a great performance which combines a dark edge, humour (despite what most people say, Dalton is not humourless: 'Switch the bloody machine off!!!' is one of the most shamefully amusing lines in any Bond film!) and plenty of physicality that's a lot more convincing than any attempts from previous Bond actors. Davi on the other hand, makes for a chilling villain, one of the best in the series. This is no crazy megalomaniac with hollowed out volcanoes or grand airships for lairs; he's a powerful, scary criminal who nevertheless favours loyalty over money, something that gives him an interesting edge over many previous Bond villains. As the film progresses, Bond and Sanchez even become allies, though in Bond's case it's merely to get closer to his nemesis in order exact his revenge. Of course, Sanchez is still a Bond villain at heart; he has two chances to kill Bond on the spot, yet his sadism and desire to indulge in a protracted killing prove to be his downfall. When will these bad guys learn? Supporting performances are almost all excellent, with Lowell (as well as looking stunningly beautiful) proving to be one of Bond's best sidekicks, more than adept at taking on foes by herself, especially in the bar-room brawl sequence. Soto is unfortunately pretty wooden in the other main female role; she certainly looks the part, but her delivery of the dialogue is often stilted. A young Del Toro makes for a deeply unpleasant lackey, while Zerbe is agreeably slimy as Krest. Las Vegas performer Wayne Newton is pretty funny as the televangelist-type whose phoney 'phone donation shows are actually a sneaky cover for Sanchez and his business partners to communicate with each other effectively, while Desmond Llewellyn enjoys his biggest and best screen time as Q, who once again provides Bond with a couple of gadgets that prove to be conveniently very useful indeed.
The action surpasses even that of The Living Daylights, with spectacular aerial sequences, underwater fights and excellent chase sequences providing thrills in abundance. The one-man attack on Krest's boat in particular is a highlight, while the fiery finale is one of the best endings to any Bond film, as oil tankers, missiles, planes and the most lethal cigarette lighter on Earth all combine to deliver a truly exciting final confrontation. This is also by far the most violent and bloody of all the Bond films, though the violence suits the edgier, more brutal tone of the story; in fact, this is one of the only films in the series where there's a real sense of menace and danger to the proceedings, making Licence to Kill the most suspenseful and gripping of the series, and certainly one of the best.
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