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The Driver (1978)
the film that influenced the game.
This is the film that must have influenced the makers of Driver. Ryan O'Neal stars as the unnamed driver of the title, as he takes on a series of jobs, all the time becoming known to Police Detectice, Bruce Dern. The final car chase it just great, engine sounds standing in for the music until the chase reaches the warehouse. Something else I like about the chase were O'Neal and Adjani, in most films where there's a chase, the actors look really terrified (see De Niro in Ronin), but not here. I was fooled by the ending, thinking The Driver was going to be caught, but it's The Detective who end up with egg on his face. O'Neal is damn near mute (according to the IMDb he says a total of 350 words, I think thats about 300 too many) as the skilled Driver, Dern is a real as*hole as the obsessed Decective who will stop at nothing (even at the expense of his partners' jobs) to catch his quarry and Adjani is nothing shot of mesmerising beautiful as the Player who at first is being blackmailed by the detective, then becomes an accomplice to the Driver.
The first Gene-Nazi-Zombi- Acton/Horror/SiFi.
The scenes down in the bunker, especially the first time we're led down into it's interior, I felt cold, I mean ... this was eerie. The plot goes like this:
The world is nearing the end of WW2, the Nazi's begin to fear that they aren't winning, and so turn to physics and the occult to create an army of indestructible soldiers. Soldiers that could march for miles without nourishment, sleep, overcome bullet wounds as though they'd not been shot. 1945 and the war is over, we've won, while the experiments are over.... or are they. Fastfoward to present day war torn Eastern Europe to a run down bar, Hunt (a surveyor for an unnamed real estate company) is meeting with DC (Stevenson) a grizzled merc. Hunts employers want him to survey a piece of land they've bought, given the state of the country (it's either in the hands of the government or insurgents) Hunt is going to need extra special help, enter DC. The job is for DC + 6 other mercs + Hunt (Wadham) to travel to the plot of land, survey it and leave, no more than a 48 hour job, low risk high pay. Well.... that's the promise, and they can be broken.
Outpost takes it's time to deliver the first and I might add grisly kill, after that the numbers a swiftly whittled down to the final 4, who make a stand, and what an action packed stand it is. This gave rise to my favourite scene as Hunt is down in the bowels of the bunker trying to start the generator (this will send out a EMP like pulse to trap the Nazi Zombies), while DC and 2 of his soldiers first fire at the zombies then fall back in formation (not unlike the siege scene in Zulu). Now, I don't know what exactly the budget what, but this film didn't once look cheap, the same could be said of the acting, most notably Stevenson (who's in Punisher 2) who I thought was convincing as the lead of this band of grizzled combat hardened mercs. Throw in a twist that you may or may not see coming (I didn't), and this makes for an entertaining way to spend 1hr and 40 minutes.
The Living Daylights (1987)
The New James Bond, Living On The Edge.
The year is 1986, with the previous film, Roger Moore closed the book on his Bond era after 12 year and 7 films. Producer Albert R. Broccoli sets about the task of casting for the new James Bond. The first choice was welsh actor Timothy Dalton, who had been in Broccolis mind, a possible Bond. Due to prior commitments, Dalton would have to decline this thrice in a lifetime chance. Fresh off of filming the TV series, Remmington Steele, Pierce Brosnan is eventually cast. With Brosnan now cast as Moore's successor, interest in 'Steele', which at this point had started to decline, suddenly was on the up. With Brosnan still under contract for Steele and with a new series given the green light, both parties could not come to an agreement for Brosnan, so he had to step down.
With casting back underway, such names as, Christopher Reeve, Sam Neill and Lambert Wilsom were all to some degree screen tested and/or rumoured as Bond. But for Broccolli, there was only ever 1 choice, so he paid another visit to Dalton, who was now free to take up the role which you could say, he was born to play. Daltons decision to go back to the feel of the early Bond films (Dr No and From Russia With Love), and make his Bond, as Fleming had written him in the novels, was meet with approval from Broccoli and all involved. Bond was now no longer to be looked upon as a joke. He was now going to be a violent, intense, conflicted soul. A Bond who had done things in his past that made him hate himself, someone who when he closed his eyes, those he killed came back to haunt him, like that of the novels, a Bond who drank and smoke to an unhealthy excess.
So that was it, Dalton was the new James Bond, and filming had began almost immediately out on the rock of Gibraltar. Opening with the best PTS thus far, Dalton is thrown straight into the action when Bond is engaged in a white knuckle chase, clinging to the roof of an escaping jeep. By all accounts (unlike the Moore era), the stuntman didn't need equal billing opposite the actor playing Bond, as Dalton was eager to do as much of the physical rough stuff as he could.
With the current fear being AIDS, the producers decided to make Bond into a one woman man. And this is when we come to the Bond Girl. Maryam D'Arbo is cast as Czech Cellist (try that when your drunk), Kara Milovy. Milovy is a departure from some of the T&A girls of the past (and present), and is here being used as a pawn between Bond and Koskov.
The villains, we get 3, Koskov, Whitaker and the required henchman, Necros. With the changes in style for the new era, the trio of villains are disappointing as they seem like they's walked out of any of the Moore films. Dalton would have to wait till the next film (1989's Licence To Kill, to get a truly menacing and evil villain.
A new Bond means a new car, and after 18 years Bond was coming home to Aston Martin in their new V8 Vantage. No Bond car is complete without the extras, and the Vantage is no different with, Laser Cutters in the wheel caps, HUD display in the windscreen, missiles hidden behind the headlights, Tyre Sikes and a Jet Thrust Booster, that are all used in just about the most thrilling car chase in the entire series where Bond casually works his way through the multitude of goodies all the while avoiding being blown up by mortars. Accumalating in a shot that would make even the toughest car fanatic cry.
Licence to Kill (1989)
The natural progression.
Every Bond actor gains experience with each passing film, and in turn their style of how they play Bond also changes, subtle at 1st then you notice the changes. And with this (after 1987's The Living Daylights) Licene To Kill (I will refer to as LTK from now) would blur the line between the cinematic Bond and the novel Bond even more than in TLD. Sadly this would prove to be Daltons 2nd and ultimate last outing as Bond due to a number of rumoured reasons, some being poor advertising in N.America others believe that that certain something that Bond once had just wasn't there anymore. Number crunchers against LTK will also tell you that if you include the inflation, then LTK becomes the least successful Bond film, but if you're like me (a Dalton as Bond fan) then it won't make a difference.
When I watch LTK, I see Ian Flemings Bond before my very eyes. All the previous and following Bonds put their own spin on Bond, but Dalton WAS Bond. You can tell this by watching any number of on set interviews Dalton gave for this film, that he did all his homework by reading all (or at least some) of Flemings books to get inside the mind of James Bond.
For anyone wanting to see LTK I would advise you to see it on the Ultimate Edition for those extra little bits you wont see on the t.v. like one characters head exploding and a leg stump I've given LTK 10/10 pure because it's my favourite Bond film, you don't have to listen to everything i've said (I never take reviews as the gospel truth), but just try it out, you may even like it. And let this be proof that Bond was getting' down n' dirty before Matt Damon was a twinkle in Robert Ludlums eye.