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Licence to Kill (1989)

Budget 40.0 million. Opening dates: UK June 13, 1989; US June 14, 1989
World Box Office $156.2 million
Originally Written
Monday, March 12, 2007

Timothy Dalton seals the deal in his second and last appearance as the suave James Bond, unfortunately Dalton is never really suave and his brief stint as 007 usually goes unnoticed or leaves somewhat of a bitter taste in the mouth of viewers.  It also doesn't help matters that Licence To Kill is always somewhere near the top of fans worst Bond films ever.  This all turns out to be an equation without a surprise solution when Dalton doesn't leave a strong impression on the franchise and Licence To Kill sends him out the door as poorly as he was brought in.

Licence To Kill attempts to stray away from the cookie-cutter mold of the Bond franchise, where the 00 agent is usually sent on some dangerous mission to stop a mad man from taking over the world.  This time around Bond is off on a personal vendetta that could not only cost him his job but his life as well.  About to return to Britain after attending his CIA friend Felix's wedding, Bond gets news of the escape of notorious Cuban drug lord Franz Sanchez.  Not long before the wedding Bond had assisted Felix in capturing this felon and finally putting him behind bars.  With him on the loose again Bond has a sinking suspicion Felix would be Sanchez's first target.

Arriving at Felix's home Bond is unfortunate to find out how right he was, Felix's new bride has been murdered and Felix is barely alive.  By the time Bond had discovered them Sanchez had returned to Cuba and out of the jurisdiction of the US authority.  This meant Sanchez was a free man, and he held a firm grip over any authority in Cuba, leaving no chance of anyone handing him over.  Bond decides to take matters into his own hands and personally see to it that Sanchez receives a taste of his own medicine.
Against the orders of his superiors Bond decides to take whatever action necessary to make certain justice is served, and since it seems following the law isn't going to accomplish that Bond will take the law into his own hands!  Licence To Kill is by no means the worst Bond film but like the previous outing with Dalton at the wheel it's rather unspectacular and at times quite dull.  To me Dalton is the forgettable Bond, he's not going to be remembered for this role except by the die hard Dalton fans because both of his Bond films are certainly forgettable.
Licence To Kill is definitely a darker side to Bond than viewers may be used to and the film boasts more kills than any previous Bond adventure, but it doesn't have the quality that's made previous installments classic.  In the end, Licence To Kill falls into the same category as The Living Daylights, both borderline on boring and the darker facade of their lead actor doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the franchise or even within the film's themselves.  The only people who will find these adventures exhilarating are the very few who claim Dalton is the best to step into Bond's shoes... and that is a very few indeed.


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