Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Living Daylights (1987)

This is a very solid movie.  I have no complaints about it, but neither do I have any spectacular enthusiasm for it either, other than I absolutely love Timothy Dalton as Bond.  I’m not quite sure why this film isn’t up on my favorites list, but it never quite hits my personal buttons.  Maybe because it plays it safe?  But I find it, nonetheless, to be one of the better Bond films and highly entertaining.  

Timothy Dalton.  I love Timothy Dalton as Bond.  Let me rephrase that.  I LOVE Timothy Dalton as Bond.  Until Daniel Craig came along, Dalton was pretty much my favorite.  Looks, action, mannerisms... he fulfills my requirements for Bond very nicely.  And he is very easy on the eyes.  I would have been quite happy if he had made a whole slew of Bond movies.  Alas, there are only two.  That’s a shame, in my opinion.  Dalton’s Bond loses the tongue-in-cheek humor of Moore’s Bond.  Nor is his Bond like Connery’s Bond either.  He’s more about the job, a bit colder and professional... all things I personally love.

I like Maryam d’Abo as our lead Bond girl, Kara... but again, no real enthusiasm for her.  She’s does what the movie requires, but nothing more.  Kara’s in that rather rare “nice Bond girl” category, motivated simply by love for Koskov.  She’s not out to kill anyone, or steal anything, or gain anything.  Bond uses her na├»ve love to get what information he can out of her.  I always kind of liked that.  I like when Bond’s doing his job and there are personal costs.  

I like Koskov, played by Jeroen Krabbe, as well.  He’s a rather charming bad guy, who is not one of the typical supervillains who came before him.  I think he suits this movie well, but he is perhaps a bit too nonthreatening, in the long run.

And to make up for his charm, there’s his henchman, Necros, who is loyal, icy, and destructive (what you want in your henchman, really).  He’s pretty cool.  One of my favorite scenes in this movie does not involve Bond at all.  It’s the fight in the kitchen between Necros and another capable British agent who tries to stop Necros.  It’s a darned good fight, and I’m always rather amused that that entire scene has nothing to do with Bond.

I also love Art Malik as Kamran Shah.  My favorite character after Bond in this movie.  He’s very engaging.  I love when we meet him in jail, and I love his laugh when Bond frees him.  And then I love how serious he is after he’s cleaned up and back with his people.

I like the plot (defecting Russian generals, arms dealers, opium... all a bit more normal and nice after the earthquake plot of A View to a Kill), but again, it never quite hits the things I like best.  No complaints, just nothing that knocks my socks off.

Favorite scenes:  The explosive device in Bpnd's key chain activated by the wolf whistle.  Love it!  Koskov’s escape at high speed through the pipeline.  The fight between the agent and Necros in the kitchen.  The fact that Kara is a classical musician.  When Bond gets drugged.  Bond on a horse.  The spectacular no-CGI fight between Bond and Necros on the cargo plane.  Dalton, Dalton, Dalton.

Music:  Love it.  I still play this John Barry score an awful lot, more than probably any other of his
Theme song:  Love it... I was quite fond of A-Ha during that time period, and this is one of my favorite of the Bond theme songs
Credit sequence:  Okay
Bond girl:  No complaints, but no real love for Kara either.
Bad guys:  I’m quite fond of Koskov and Necros.  Not so fond of Whitaker, who just needs to be taken down.
Overall personal rating:  3 of 5 stars