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4.5 out of 5 stars
The Living Daylights [Blu-ray] [1987]
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
As with George Lazenby, the brevity of Timothy Dalton's tenure as Bond - due to years of legal problems and lawsuits between EON and MGM/UA - has led to history merrily being rewritten by the press that once hailed him. Dalton, not the lawyers, was lined up as the fall guy with Pierce Brosnan the man who saved the series from disaster (even though Dalton's first Bond saw a massive increase in takings over Moore's last film). Those who are quick to dismiss him would do well to check out The Living Daylights.

Much of the scapegoating of Dalton seemed to come from the confusion of actor and role. At the time Dalton's Bond was the closest to Fleming's creation - more so than Connery, even - and given the right script he proved outstanding in the role. After Roger Moore's 12-year, seven-film tenure as Bond finally came to an ignominious end with A View to a Kill, as with OHMSS, Live and Let Die and Casino Royale, the producers broke in their new Bond with a more low-key, low-gadget approach, resulting in the best Bond since the Sixties, with Dalton initially looking the first Bond to seriously rival Connery. Where Connery had the danger and Moore the class, Dalton managed to combine both, with Bond's self-assurance that verges on the arrogant down pat, reclaiming the character from the increasingly comic-strip approach of too many of the later Moore films.

The film isn't without its faults - Caroline Bliss isn't up to much as Moneypenny, Maryam D'Abo's a bit of a wet leading lady while Jeroen Krabbe lacks the menace he brought to No Mercy - but it looks and feels like a classic Bond film, has little truck with gadgets and is less in thrall to silly jokes. Best of all, it's got a plot (involving a dubious defection, Mujahadin opium smuggling in Afghanistan and a re-activated Stalinist spy assassination programme). The political background may have dated - this was filmed when the Communists still held the USSR together and when the Mujahadin were the good guys - but it still comes up remarkably fresh. This is Bond with all the stops pulled out but without the overkill. The production values are superb and visually it's a treat, especially in widescreen, with John Barry making his final Bond score his best in years. The action scenes are often outstandingly good, with a return to the kind of good old vicious punchups that vanished in the latter Moore years and as well as some amazing stunt work involving a Russian troop plane and it has one of the series' best pre-title sequences, with a security exercise in Gibraltar turning into the real thing. The makers even have the confidence to remove Bond from one of the key setpieces - a superbly staged kidnapping from a safehouse, which runs nearly a full reel. John Glen's direction is so spot-on here it's hard to see why it would go so horribly wrong on Licence To Kill.

The extras package is excellent, including audio commentary, an extended scene and the infamous deleted `magic carpet' sequence, a bad idea that feels like a holdover from the Roger Moore era that was thankfully dropped due to the stunt looking distinctly unimpressive. There are enough new features on the two-disc Ultimate edition to make an upgrade worthwhile for the more ardent Bond fans - several promo featurettes from the original release, a press conference held in Vienna and 47-minute TV special `Happy Anniversary 007.' All the features from the original DVD release have also been included.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2005
This was Timothy Dalton's first film as James Bond and after watching it the first thing that came to my mind is why do people criticise him so much. I feel he did a fantastic job of playing 007 and he is easily the best actor to have played Bond.
The film is action packed from beginning to end and Bond has to travel all over the world from England to Afghanistan. This movie has some very good scenes specially the car scene and the cello scene. The plot is a bit confusing but it is understandable and the other actors are good as well. The bond girl is different for a change and is innocent compared to previous bond girls. Koskov is cunning and manipulative. The villians are ruthless and efficient(Necros).
As for Dalton there are a few scenes where we see what a truly great actor he is.There is scene where Bond goes to kill General Puskin in his hotel room and although we know he is not going to Dalton makes you feel that he would.
I would suggest people to buy this movie if you want proper entertainment with excellent acting.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1987. Roger Moore had finally hung up his Walther PPK and tuxedo after `A View To A Kill', and a replacement Bond was needed for this the fifteenth big screen outing for the superspy. This is Timothy Dalton's first film in role, and he acquits himself well.

I have always enjoyed Dalton's portrayal of Bnd. Not quite as suave and sophisticate as Moore and with less of a predilection for corny one liners, his was a harder character - utterly ruthless in his determination to get the job done but not without his compassionate side. It was a portrayal (and I await the critics to shoot me down for this comment) that strongly echoed Sean Connery's early take on the character. I feel strongly that it was just what the series needed.

In this entertaining romp, Bond helps a Russian General to defect. Pretty soon the defector is snatched by a third party, and Bond is off on a hunt across Eastern Europe and Afghanistan to track him down and foil a plot involving a drugs trade and huge arms deal. It starts off feeling like another cold war drama then slowly morphs into a more sophisticated story about attempts to make huge amounts of money. It's a well constructed script, and pacily directed, jumping from one situation to the next and dishing out the thrills and spills on a regular basis. For sheer entertainment value it has to be one of the best in the series.

This digitally restored edition really is the best version of the film I have owned. The picture has been lovingly restored and cleaned up, and looks amazing. Really, I am not just saying that. It looks superb. The sound has been similarly treated and there is an option to listen to it in 5.1 DTS surround, which is truly exceptional.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2008
After a lamentable descent into self-parody that started with "Diamonds Are Forever", 1987's "The Living Daylights" re-established Bond as a credible film franchise. The inspired casting (third time lucky for producer Cubby Broccoli) of talented actor Timothy Dalton pays off from the start. He establishes himself as Bond with a single look in the teasing pre-title sequence and, unlike his predecessors, is never anything other than wholly believable in the part.

Dalton's Bond ventures into the world of the grubby villains - motivated by greed rather than megalomania. Arms dealers and drug barons become the foils to Dalton's sometimes morally ambiguous Bond, which gives his films a more "real" edge. In "The Living Daylights", Joe Don Baker and Jeroen Krabbe are wonderfully entertaining as the baddies, and Dalton's assured central performance, with plenty of spectacle, makes for the best Bond movie in years, and one of the very best of all time.

Dalton's Bond has a wry, dry humour of his own, and thankfully for the most part eschews the superficially clever one-liners his predecessors were saddled with and the oft-parodied gadgetry that were used as "get out of jail free" cards by the screenwriters. This Bond relies on his wits to succeed. Such as shame Dalton only made two, but he gets off to a cracking start.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1987. Roger Moore had finally hung up his Walther PPK and tuxedo after `A View To A Kill', and a replacement Bond was needed for this the fifteenth big screen outing for the superspy. This is Timothy Dalton's first film in role, and he acquits himself well.

I have always enjoyed Dalton's portrayal of Bnd. Not quite as suave and sophisticate as Moore and with less of a predilection for corny one liners, his was a harder character - utterly ruthless in his determination to get the job done but not without his compassionate side. It was a portrayal (and I await the critics to shoot me down for this comment) that strongly echoed Sean Connery's early take on the character. I feel strongly that it was just what the series needed.

In this entertaining romp, Bond helps a Russian General to defect. Pretty soon the defector is snatched by a third party, and Bond is off on a hunt across Eastern Europe and Afghanistan to track him down and foil a plot involving a drugs trade and huge arms deal. It starts off feeling like another cold war drama then slowly morphs into a more sophisticated story about attempts to make huge amounts of money. It's a well constructed script, and pacily directed, jumping from one situation to the next and dishing out the thrills and spills on a regular basis. For sheer entertainment value it has to be one of the best in the series.

This ultimate edition really is the best version of the film I have owned. The picture has been lovingly restored and cleaned up, and looks amazing. Really, I am not just saying that. It looks superb. The sound has been similarly treated and there is an option to listen to it in 5.1 DTS surround, which is truly exceptional.

As well as the superb presentation of the film, there is also a host of extras, original trailers, informative audio commentaries and the such. These are exhaustive and some of them quite interesting. But these really a garnish for the main course, which is the film itself.

This is an excellent release, and does the film justice. This series of `Ultimate editions' really sets the standard for film releases. It really does not get any better.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2010
The Living Daylights is the last film based on the original novels by Ian Fleming (Octopussy and the Living Daylights) and the new Bond Timothy Dalton is a great successor as a new Bond from Roger Moore (although he started well his films later went astray from their original source and inspiration)that is true to the spirit and feeling of the original novel whilst still being a great action film. Maryam D'Abo is the best Bond girl with her beauty and sophistication that fits in nicely with the plot and is well paired with Timothy Dalton giving the film good chemistry. Overall this is one of the best Bond films ever and in my view the last as when it came out in 1987 the Cold War the era to which Bond belongs was declining and fits in nicely with the novels by Ian Fleming and the film saga enduring as a classic film and literature figure and at the same time binding the era, novels and films together. The special features are brilliant as you learn the background to the film. My only compalint is that it should have been slightly more truer to the original novel as during the Sean Connery years.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2009
As Bond movies go this one is quite good and Timothy Dalton brings back some of the Connery type serious approach to the role. No Roger Moore flippancy here.
The plot involves the usual KGB, Eastern Europe locations and bad guys etc. as well as a thoroughly pleasant and attractive leading lady cellist.
The involvement of Afghan rebels fighting on OUR side just goes to emphasise how complex and protracted things are in that country.
The highlight of the film is the mid-air sequence with Bond and a baddie hanging by ropes from the back of a Soviet transport plane flying over the desert.
Look out for the subtle tribute to the classic spy movie The Third Man when the action is based at a fairground in Vienna. This involves a ride on the Ferris wheel and an assassin disguised as a balloon seller asking the famous one-liner -"Balloon Mien Herre?". Clever stuff.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2005
This film is quite simply the best amoung the 'modern' James Bond movies. Dalton's true-to-Fleming-007 is dead on, and after years of smug sillyness from (bless him) 'ol Roger Moore, 'The Living Daylights' comes across as being almost a masterpiece amoungst Bond films.
Almost. Although I am a great endorser of this picture, as the objective reviewer I consider myself to be, a few weaknesses must be pointed out, weaknesses that cause the film to miss out on being the ultimate 007 screen experience.
The presence of a real plot in TLD is a great relief after the previous two films' haphazardous scheming, though it has to be said that slightly less might have been more in this case.
The villains plan to get 007 to eliminate a top-level KGB general so as to facilitate a large-scale diamonds-for-opium scheme is in places dangerously close to losing the viewer's interest due to the sheer elaborateness of the plot.
However, even if you don't quite follow from the start the film allows for plenty of time to appreciate the thrilling skul-duggery 007 embarks upon set against beautiful scenery of Austria, Morocco and the Middle-Eastern desert.
Maryam d'Abo provides Bond with the most memorable female foil since Diana Rigg's doomed Tracy from 'OHMSS', and it is pure delight to watch her opposite Dalton. I haven't seen this much chemistry between the two leads in any other 007 flick.
It is Dalton though who truly brings this adventure to life, and he portrays the reluctant super-spy with understated charm and class. The one liners seem to come a litte too unnaturally for such a talented actor, but Dalton makes the role completely his own within the half-hour.
The villains are weak compared to the rest of the cast, Andreas Winiewski's ruthlessly efficient henchman 'Necros' being the big exception, his mid-air fight with Bond whilst both dangling off the rear of a freight plane over Afghanistan ranks as perhaps the best stunt of the entire series.
Most of the action is inventive and full of panache, a gas-pipeline being used to transport a KGB defector across the Iron curtain, the classic Aston Martin makes a brilliant gadget-laden return on the ice and snow of the Slovak-Austrian border and all the scenes involving the Hercules freight-plane involve top notch action sequences.
And the great performance from Dalton coupled with competent direction from John Glen string all these things together to make a rip roaring thriller of a film.
John Barry composed his last and most masterful 007 score here, it fits so perfectly with the mood on screen, depicting each thril with a soundtrack-and-film match made in heaven.
All-in-all, 'The Living Daylights' delivers on a scale previously unseen in the James Bond franchise, and I defy anyone who says that it's strenghts don't utterly outweigh it's weaknesses.
- J.J
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2005
Timothy Dalton gives the best ever performance of Bond. I can hear the crying now "No Connery was the best. Connery." Well go back and watch the awful performances of his films and then have an opinion don't go with the knee jerk reaction. Yes Connery was good in Dr No and From Russia... but not much else.
Anyway back to this film, you get a perfect performance of the proper bond (it's almost as if Ian Fleming has made this one) and a great SPY story, coupled with one of the best John Barry scores and you have pure gold.
Dalton retired after the disappointing Licence To Kill as there was legal disputes preventing a Bond film to be made for 6 years.
A real shame as for once you had a proper actor playing a complex character.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 20 November 2000
Everytime I watch this film I can't help but feel that Bond fans lost out in not having TImothy Dalton in the lead for more than two films. The Living Daylights is a cracker and features the best action sequences (performed largely by Dalton) of any Bond movie. Dalton is by far the best Bond since Connery. He seems to epitomise everything that a British agent should be. A WARNING: This is not the cosy, tongue-in-cheek humour that we had become used to with Roger, this is a tight thriller/action film that at times is quite violent. Not for the little ones.
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