Reviewer's Rating 2 out of 5  
Licence To Kill (1989)

When CIA agent Felix Leiter and his new wife suffer grisly fates at the hands of a powerful drug lord, Leiter's old buddy and best man, James Bond, seeks violent revenge at all costs. Bond's single-minded pursuit results in his licence to kill revoked, leaving him alone in his quest and wanted by his fellow agents.

This potentially interesting idea of Bond up against both the villains and his own side is sadly wasted. Writers Maibaum and Wilson (penning one script too many) simply restore him to the well-equipped and supported individual he always has been by providing convenient financial assistance, a pair of attractive but unremarkable sidekicks, and the unlikely arrival of a benevolent Q sympathetic to 007's predicament. The elevation of a game Desmond Llewelyn to a more involved role is one of many misguided elements in a weak script that is so indicative of the unsure direction the two Dalton Bonds represent.

Timothy Dalton's brave attempt to play a more human and vulnerable Bond, one prone to laughter and short-tempered, verbal outbursts doesn't quite come off. At times, his performance is so twitchy he comes across more like a man in need of the toilet than a super-cool action hero. (And check out his hair in the casino scenes: he looks like a badger with a mohawk - what were the film makers thinking?) The other performances are equally dull: Robert Davi's villain is forgettable and only a hilariously young Benicio Del Toro catches the eye.

Veteran Bond director John Glen is clearly out of ideas, only managing to present a level of violence so out of character for the series, it surely contributed to the modest (by Bond standards) box office returns.

A shabby mess, the franchise went on an six-year hiatus after this before a temporary return to form with "GoldenEye".

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End Credits

Director: John Glen

Writer: Richard Maibaum, Michael G Wilson

Stars: Timothy Dalton, Robert Davi, Talisa Soto, Carey Lowell, Geoffrey Keen, Caroline Bliss, David Hedison, Anthony Zerbe, Desmond Llewelyn, Robert Brown

Genre: Action

Length: 127 minutes

Cinema: 1989

DVD: 26 February 2001

VHS: 28 May 1996

Country: UK

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