22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very underated Bond
Released in 1989, Licence to Kill, remains the darkest and most violent of any of the James Bond films. It is also the most underrated. John Glen, directing this his fifth and final James Bond, opted to make a more realistic thriller, clearly influenced by the success of the then recent Die Hard movie. As with Die Hard, Licence to Kill would show the hero being injured...
Published on 8 July 2007 by D. Evans
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great blu-ray marred by cropped picture
Picture is in most respects superior to the original DVD. However the aspect ratio has been reduced. As a result some of the sides of the frame have been lost. All the extras from the single DVD have been ported over.
Published 15 months ago by Nigel L
Most Helpful First | Newest First
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very underated Bond,
Released in 1989, Licence to Kill, remains the darkest and most violent of any of the James Bond films. It is also the most underrated. John Glen, directing this his fifth and final James Bond, opted to make a more realistic thriller, clearly influenced by the success of the then recent Die Hard movie. As with Die Hard, Licence to Kill would show the hero being injured and bleeding after confrontations with the villains.
The film was also to feature further scenes of violence including a man's head exploding after he is thrown into a decompression chamber, Bond setting a man alight and Bond's friend, Felix Leiter, being shown fed to As a result of this approach, the film was given a 15 rather than the usual PG certificate, and therefore generated some of the lowest box offices receipt of any Bond film. In particular Licence to Kill did not do well in America, although this was also a result of a poor marketing campaign there, as well as the film competing against the huge success of the Batman movie.
A further link to Die Hard, is that film is scored by Michael Kamen, who also undertook music duties for the Bruce Willis thriller, and here replaces long term composer John Barry. Kamen's score is excellent. There is a nice dramatic twist on the Bond theme at the start, underlying the seriousness of this movie. It is a shame that Kamen did not return for the next movie Goldeneye, which featured a somewhat mediocre score.
As well as being John Glen's final film, this also marks the last appearance of Robert Brown as M and although no one knew it at the time, this would be Timothy Dalton's second and last outing as Bond. After the films release, a lengthy legal dispute woudl prevent another Bond from being made for five years. By the time the dispute was resolved, Dalton's contract had expired and he elected to leave the series, bringing to an end a short-lived but nonetheless significant contribution to the series.
The film basically starts with Bond attending the wedding of his best friend Felix Leiter. Felix now working for the Drug Enforcement Agenct, is determined almost to the point of obsession, of arresting a South American Drug Lord called Sanchez. On the way to his wedding, Felix gets word that Sanchez is in Florida, he sets to apprehend him, with Bond joining him, although "strictly as an observer". After being captured, Sanchez escapes custody after bribing another DEA officer. He takes revenge on Leiter, maiming him and killing his new bride. Bond decides to avenge hi friends, by resigning from M16, and as a rogue agent, he goes after Leiter.
Dalton is more assured here than in his debut. In contrast to Connery, Moore and later Brosnan, Dalton is not particularly comfortable in delivering one liner jokes and therefore these are restricted in the film. Instead the film plays to Dalton's strengths. Dalton is very good at displaying anger, particularly when a colleague is killed. In The Living Daylights, cold anger is displayed when fellow agent Saunders is killed, and here when Bond realises his friend Sharky has been murdered, he snaps to the central villains girlfriend that she "better find a new lover".
In his book, For My Eyes Only, John Glen states that he considers Licence to Kill to be the best film that he has directed. It is easy to see why he said this. The film does not waver during 120 minutes, with some superb sequences, in particular a tanker chase at the climax. The villains are also particularly good. Robert Davi, as Sanchez, actually undertook research for his role, and future Oscar winner Benicio Del Torro, is particularly menacing as Sanchez's henchman.
The only slight criticism of the film, is that bar a very brief scene in London, it is set entirely in The Florida Keys and South America. Normally Bond films are set in more varying locations around the world.
104 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No, Mr Bond. I expect you to BUY!,
By A Customer
This box set is incredible value for money. I already owned all the Connery DVDs as well as OHMSS and most of the Brosnans. When I decided to complete my Bond DVD collection I realised that it would be cheaper to just buy this box set and give my duplicates away rather than buy the individual titles I was missing. For the price, you get all the 20 Bond titles (exactly the same as the individual titles that are available as separate DVDs - including the two-disc version of Die Another Day), you also get a nice collectors' tin emblazoned with the 007 logo. If you are a Bond fan, this is almost impossible to refuse.
Three things to note, however. Firstly, to those people (below) who complained that this box set does not include Never Say Never Again, you should be aware that this is not an official Bond film (i.e. it is not a EON/DANJAQ/MGM-UA release). Therefore, it is no surprise that it is not included in this set (neither is Casino Royale, for that matter). If you want to purchase NSNA or CR, they are both available at a very good price here on Amazon. In my opinion, this is not a good reason to give this box set less than the five stars it deserves. Secondly, there are rumours that the first nineteen titles are going to be reissued as two-disc special editions (like Die Another Day), with a second disc devoted to extras. I think the existing extras are already sufficient (especially the excellent Making Of documentaries usually narrated by Patrick McNee). So, if, like me, you can't wait for those to come out, don't hesistate to get this superb box set. The price is just too good to resist. Thirdly, Bond 21 is already in pre-production. So, this box set will eventually become incomplete. But you can always buy that film as a separate DVD when it is released. Anyway, the 007 logo which is emblazoned across the spines of the first twenty DVDs (each DVD has a little bit of the logo on its spine) is already complete, so that gives this box set a distinctive and "complete" feel.
To conclude, this box set is superb value for money and any Bond fan will want to have it. This has to get five stars!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the very best Bond movies,
Boy did they take a big risk when they made this movie? The 'dark and gritty Bond' audiences lauded when Daniel Craig took over the show was fine for a post 9/11 (and post Jason Bourne) environment, but in 1989 it proved to be a disaster.
Personally, I have always loved this film, and somewhat relish the opportunity to point out why its dismissal was such a tragedy. The story concerns a seemingly untouchable South American drug lord called Sanchez (think Noreaga) who escapes the custody of the CIA and, by way of making a point, throws Bond's long standing ally and friend, Felix Leiter, into the waiting jaws of a great white shark. As if this weren't enough, he also has Felix's new wife (who also seems to be rather chummy with Bond) raped and murdered. Hardly the kind of premise Bond fans were expecting!
When the CIA are 'unable' to do anything, Bond quits his job as an agent of her majesty's government and goes after Sanchez alone, Charles Bronson style.
This is supposedly why so many people disliked and dismissed the film when it hit theatres in 1989. Cries of "James Bond would never quit his job" were heard the world over, ringing around thousands of empty cinemas.
What these naysayers clearly missed in the 15 Bond movies that preceded this one, is that Bond had actually tried to resign more than once in the past. In fact, as recently as 'The Living Daylights', Bond says of M, "If he fires me I'll thank him for it". Why was it such a surprise that he should quit and go after a man who tried to kill his best (if not only) friend?
I always considered Timothy Dalton a fine Bond. His philosophy, like Daniel Craig's, was that Bond should be a real person - dark, cynical, even angry. Dalton delivered this Bond beautifully, but this Bond was not the Bond that audiences wanted to see in 1989.
The tone of the film set, Bond heads south of the border (this was also a convenient way of keeping th budget down). In a plot akin to 'Yojimbo' in many ways, he befriends and manipulates Sanchez to bring about his own downfall. Robert Davi is one of the most genuinely unpleasant and frightening baddies to ever appear in a Bond film, and the tone and authentic production design (owed largely to the use of real Mexican locations and, of course, Peter Lamont's genius as a Production Designer) allow us to really get into Bond's state of mind in the scenes between them.
John Glen, in his fifth effort as director, truly outdoes himself as an action director here. The finale, in which Bond and Sanchez face off while tearing down a mountainside in a fleet of tankers, is one of the most tense and most enjoyable final reels in the series.
The women are typically gorgeous here too. Carey Lowell is a tad annoying as Bond's sidekick but Talisa Soto is unmissable as the femme fatale. There's even an appearance from Wayne Newton and an early performance from a particularly nasty Benicio del Toro as one of Sanchez's henchmen.
Despite Bond's defection, the writer's even managed to work Desmond Llewelyn into the film. The scene's between Bond and Q have a lovely undercurrent of affection and, thankfully, the subsequent deployment of gadgetry does not go so far as to ruin the dark and dirty mise-en-scene.
The only problem this film really had was that it came a good 15 years too soon. If it were released now, as a follow up to 'Casino Royale', it would no doubt be hailed as a fittingly cynical and bleak addition to the cannon of the 'New Bond'. Don't believe the hype. This is one the very best Bond films out there.
As with all the new Bond DVDs, the picture and sound have been remasted to stunning effect. Watching these films on an upscaling DVD player, you will be amazed at how clean they look, sound and feel. Extras are superb too, with a nice 30 minute documenatry and a wealth of other tidbits.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bond gets a 15 certificate and is all the better for it!,
Why do so many people dislike this film? Sure, it has a few flaws-the over-the-top truck chase and the lack of a John Barry score, to name a few. The trouble is Dalton's Bond followed immediately afer Moore's. Although Moore's films were enjoyable, they were completely different to Flemings original vision. All his gadgets and gags would have been better suited to Thunderbirds and the 'Carry on' films. in many ways Moore's Bond bastardized the character.
Once again Dalton plays bond as a moody, mean and cold character and again I think he is great. The supporting cast is also good with both Robert Davi and Benecio Del Toro playing very real and very sadistic characters, (not your usual meglomaniacs).
The plot itself is a tale of revenge, heavily inspired by Yojimbo and a Fistful of Dollars. It sees Bond going after a drugs baron(Davi as Sanchez), after Sanchez brutally mames his friend Felix Leiter. What ensues is a dark and gritty adventure-Bond swears for the first time-which is only let down by its silly climax (a truck doing a wheeley).
Give this film a chance, with an open mind. On a seperate note, the casting of Daniel Craig is inspired, as, I believe he will continue the legacy set by Dalton, in bringing a real and believable Bond to the screen.
56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The name's Bond ... you know the rest,
Think for a minute here. What film franchises have notoriously made too many films? Friday the 13th? 10 of those, certainly outstayed its welcome in my opinion. Any advance on 10? How about 20? That is, to date, the sum total of the adventures of the world's most popular Englishman, James Bond. No other franchise in cinema history is going to come near to the sucess (continuing success as well) of Bond.
This collection covers the entire lot from the first effort Dr. No (made for only $1,000,000), right through to the ultra-modern Die Another Day although it doesn't include rival productions Never say Never Again, or the spoof, Casino Royale. It covers all five actors, the original Connery (the yardstick by whom all other Bonds are measured), the one-shot wonder Lazenby (in one of the best films of the franchise), the king of the blazer Moore (king of the witticism as well), the dark Dalton (closest to the brooding spy of the Fleming novels) and the super cool Brosnan (Ireland's contribution to the Bond franchise).
The Bond films have always been notoriously a bit hit and miss, but there has not been a single one made that doesn't have the viewer entertained and from the moment each one begins and we look down that gun barrel listening to the strains of Monty Norman's inimitable theme tune, we're hooked. Every film has its moments, even weaker efforts like View to a kill for example, which features a fight on top of the Golden Gate Bridge which is one of the most thrilling of any Bond film. Its also great fun to watch the evolution of the Bond franchise as he goes from fighting the criminal organisation SPECTRE (originally SMERSH in the Fleming novels), through to terrorists, drug dealer, and Korean ex-military. In fact, the Bond films have created some of the most memorable screen villains of all time. Who can forget Hulking steel toothed giant Jaws, or mute Korean bowler hat hurling Oddjob?.
Each of these films delivers what we have come to expect from Bond, in the words of Sheryl Crow's 'Tomorrow Never Dies', "Martinis, girls and guns", add to that the finest cars on the road, Q branch's ingenious gadgets and what you have is the world's most grounded superhero. There are very few men who wouldn't love to be Bond, pausing to make a glib witticism before laying out yet another nameless cronie. Sheer Class
Also worthy of note in this collection is the abundance of extras on each disc. Considering how long ago some of these films were made, there is a vast amount of source material and each disc features a commentary, original documentary and as we get further up the line we see TV documentarys, music videos. Its veritable Q branch of extras.
You know the score with the Bond films. 20 hugely entertaining films with one of the most universally beloved creations of literature and screen. This is a top quality package and will certainly keep die-hard fans, young and old, happy until Bond 21 and as long as people are doing poor quality impressions down the pub of Sean, Bond will never die.
Vodka martini, shaken not stirred
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "He Disagreed With Something That Ate Him!",
A truly rousing piece of cinema and a milestone in the James Bond saga to which the fantastic Timothy Dalton bows out in explosive fashion as 007 in this gritty story about revenge away from HMSS.
Robert Davi and Benicio Del Toro star as the main villains of the film, drug baron Franz Sanchez and his thug bodyguard Dario who are ready to flood the streets with Class-A drugs and take down anyone who stands in there way, including CIA Agent Felix Leighter.
It's this grizzly event that takes James Bond from new highs to dangerous lows as he turns renegade to track down the ones responsible with the help of spunky Bond girl Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell).
The best of the two Dalton pictures, and a real dose of grown up action for the Bond series which never lets down and boats some of the most exciting and jaw dropping stuntwork and action sequences in a 007 film. Miss at your peril.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding Bond thriller,
By A Customer
Licence to Kill is one of my all time favourite films. James Bond adventures mean a lot of things to a lot of people and for this reason Bond films have always been about balancing different elements. Licence to Kill is almost purely a thriller with the comedy and fantasy elements being played down. The story is more down to earth and the other Bond films that Licence to Kill mostly resembles are From Russia with Love and On her Majesty's Secret Service. The film succeeds in firmly establishing an atmosphere of menace and danger that is maintained ... Michael Kamen's music, though less rhythmic and tuneful than other Bond scores, is very effective in adding to the tension and drama. Rather than creating ridiculous situations to gain cheap laughs the makers of Licence to Kill set about creating a more dramatic film. For the first time in a long time the viewer is made to feel afraid on Bond's behalf as both Bond and the villain play for keeps.
And what a villain! Robert Davi plays the charismatic, sadistic Sanchez with relish and appears to be genuinely malevolent. Dalton's portrayal of Bond is also excellent but is fundamentally different from all the other actors who played the role. Whereas the other actors (Lazenby aside), through their different acting styles presented a Bond as an invincible fantasy superhero, Dalton presents a character that is more real, human and believable. Dalton's Bond moves and talks purposefully and has a darker, brooding quality about him that makes him seem all the more dangerous. Dalton truly shines in the dramatic scenes and in the action sequences. Timothy Dalton is by far my favourite Bond.
The main action sequences, the underwater-aerial fight and the tanker chase are exceptionally well done and the two Bond girls are great as well. There are bad bits though, the fight aquarium is repetitive and the barroom fight is silly. The climax is tremendous though. Bond and Sanchez have been at each other's throats for the whole film and only have two lines to say to each other, lines which sum up their different characters.
This film is fantastic, exhilarating stuff. The DVD extras are fine.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effective immediately, your licence to kill is revoked, and I require you to hand over your weapon.,
Licence to Kill is directed by John Glen and written by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson. It's an original story that uses characters and instances created by Ian Fleming. It stars Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell, Robert Davi, Talisa Soto, Anthony Zerbe, Desmond Llewelyn, David Hedison, Benicio Del Toro, Frank McRae, Everett McGill and Wayne Newton. Music is scored by Michael Kamen and cinematography by Alec Mills.
Bond 16 and 007 goes rogue when drug baron Franz Sanchez leaves Felix Leiter mutilated and his wife dead. With licence revoked by MI6, Bond has to go it alone to enact revenge for the Leiters.
The controversial Bond for many reasons, Licence to Kill even today has been known to induce fearsome arguments in Bond fan circles. Not since On Her Majesty's Secret Service has a Bond film so polarised opinions. In one corner are the folks who determine it's not a Bond movie, in the other is those who say it's a stripped to the bone human Bond. You either love it or you hate it it seems. True to say that it is more an action thriller than a outright Bond film, no humongous sets, no megalomaniac villain (Davi's drug baron a very realistic menace) and of course there is Bond being pursued by those that have courted him previously as their number one agent. Yet there's a whole raft of scenarios that could only exist in a Bond universe, there's gadgets, too, for those that enjoy that side of Bond. Where else would you see a tanker driving on its side? Or exploding toothpaste and alarm clock, camera's that turn into weapons and a broom that is actually a transmitter? Not Bondian enough? Really?
Licence to Kill is a superior action thriller movie, the script is tight, the cast ace and the picture is crammed full of exceptional action set pieces. From the pre-credits sequence that sees Bond and Leiter enact a mid-air arrest, to the rather brilliant tanker carnage at the finale, the film rarely pauses for breath, and right there in the centre is a brilliant Dalton giving a rogue Bond plenty of layers. He's brainy and classy, fallible and driven, intense and tough, always sexy and always dangerous. Dalton's ability to convey raw emotion as each challenge comes his way is a real treat to watch. But most of all he is right there restoring Bond to being a serious action figure. What Bond fans didn't realise at the time was that it would be 17 years before Bond would be this raw again, then it would be heralded as a brave new start for Bond!
Another of the film's strengths is bringing back Hedison as Leiter, last seen playing the role in Live and Let Die, Hedison has great chemistry with Dalton and it's a joy to see Leiter play an active part in the action on screen. However, the makers do make a misstep by having Leiter be all too jovial at the end of the film, weird since he is minus a limb and his wife was raped and murdered by Sanchez's henchmen. Another big plus is Lowell's Pam Bouvier, a tough and brave Bond girl, sexy as heck, her pilot skills come in handy and she's no mug when it comes to brawling. Lowell does fine work in the role and keeps it away from being a token interest cliché. Davi keeps Sanchez as believable, a very driven drug baron who is cultured and funny, but always pulsing a vicious streak, while McRae has presence, McGill neatly keeps the cards close to his chest, Del Toro a nice line in nastiness and Soto is pretty as a picture and plays Lupe Lamora with skilled vulnerability. There's also Llewelyn as Q, who here gets a right old meaty role as he goes out in the field to become Bond's only aid from MI6, and Gladys Knight's title song harks back to 1960s Bonds. Again, these things not Bondian enough?
Licence to Kill saw the end of Dalton's tenure as Bond, legal issues between Danjaq and MGM/UA meant that no Bond movie would be made for another six years. By then Dalton had moved on to other work and was 51. It also marked the end of production duties for Cubby Broccoli, the final direction by John Glen (5 Bond films in total), Richard Maibaum's last script and the last performances by Robert Brown as M and Caroline Bliss as Moneypenney. One of the many misconceptions about the Dalton era is that Licence to Kill was a flop, it made $156 million worldwide, considerably down on The Living Daylights but more than A View to a Kill. A huge profit of over $100 million, this in spite of it being pitched against Batman and sequels to beloved American films by a studio head who had no idea how to market a film. The best actor to take on the role of Bond, Dalton's impact on the series cannot be overstated, he (rightly so) is very proud of his work in the two films and still talks very fondly of a role he respected beyond compare. 9/10
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than I Was Expecting, Mr Bond!,
I didn't see this one at the cinema and I don't think I ever saw it properly on the box, but I just picked up the 'Ultimate' DVD set along with most of the others after the recent Bond price slashing frenzy made it worth a try. And to my complete surprise I found it to be an absolutely brilliant movie! Licence to Kill is suddenly one of my favourite Bonds. I think it's the most down to earth and believable story of any Bond, and it's also superbly acted and filmed, with not too much emphasis on the dolly birds for a change although they are still present and correct.
Best of all, Q gets a bigger role in this film than in all of his others put together and he is hysterical; so you can't say this film has no sense of humour! I remember the production was slated at the time: maybe it didn't work then but it sure works now.
If anything the style is similar to the recent Casino Royale. Which makes me wish they'd made Goldendeye and T.N.D. with Timothy Dalton, skipped the next two rubbish Brosnan films and moved straight on to Daniel Craig. And while they're at it they could forget about Judy bleedin' Dench completely!
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't hesitate to buy the 007 legacy,
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Astounding compilation of movies. A welcome edition to any dvd collection and a must for every 007 fan. All 20 original movies on DVDs in a cool collectors tin, (Never Say Never Again and Casino Royal are not included...)
These Special Edition DVDs are just that. The interviews and documentaries are spectacular,well worth watching. Some of the special feature include the original theatrical trailers,TV ads, and a few have the radio ads. Most have at least one audio commentary.
I know that these movies are in the process of being remastered and re-released on DVD, but I wanted to own these movies as they are now. With the features and commentary that they have now, Not whatever EON will chose to include or exclude in the future. Given their current choices' in casting and script, who can say how they will chose to remember the past.
There has never been a film series like James Bond before, possible there will never be one again. Don't hesitate to buy the James Bond legacy.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Licence to Kill [DVD]  by John Glen (DVD - 2012)