- Actors: Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell, Robert Davi, Talisa Soto, Anthony Zerbe
- Directors: John Glen
- Format: PAL
- Language: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 15
- Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
- DVD Release Date: 1 Oct. 2012
- Run Time: 127 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B008OEY9I8
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,705 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Licence to Kill [DVD] 
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James Bond turns renegade to hunt down a master criminal in this pulse-pounding thrill ride that’s packed with awesome stunts, subtle humour and explosive confrontations. Timothy Dalton brings urgency, charm and deadly determination to his portrayal of the super-agent, who leaves the British Secret Service and begins a fierce vendetta after his friend Felix Leiter (David Hedison) is brutally attacked by drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi).
Timothy Dalton's second and last James Bond assignment in Licence to Kill is darker and harder-edged than anything from the Roger Moore years, dropping the sometimes excruciating in-jokes that had begun to dominate the series in favour of gritty, semi-realistic action. When CIA colleague and close friend Felix Leiter (David Hedison) gets married immediately after arresting villainous drug baron Franz Sanchez (with a little help from Bond), the crime lord's retribution is swift and terrible. Bond goes on a personal vendetta against Sanchez after his licence to kill is revoked. There are plenty of spectacular stunt scenes, of course, but the meaty story of revenge is this film's distinguishing feature. Dalton's portrayal of the iconic hero as tough but flawed was a brave decision that the producers subsequently retreated from after Licence to Kill's relatively poor box-office showing.
On the DVD: Timothy Dalton's insistence that Bond was a man not a superhero, and "a tarnished man" at that encouraged the producers to redefine Bond with a tougher edge more in keeping with Fleming's original conception of the character. Licence to Kill is Bond's darkest assignment. The production team experienced their usual difficulties in bringing it to the screen, the "making-of" documentary reveals, including a haunted road in Mexico and a mysterious flaming hand that appeared out of the fire during the climactic tanker explosion. There are two commentaries here, both montage selections of interviews from cast and crew. The first features director John Glen and many of the actors; the second has producer Michael G Wilson and the production team. Gladys Knight pops up in the first music video, Patte La Belle in the second ("If You Asked Me To"). There are the usual trailers, gallery of stills and a feature on the Kenworth trucks specially adapted for the movie's stunt work. --Mark Walker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Second and last for Dalton. Fifth and last for director John Glen. Last for Robert Brown as M. Last for Caroline Bliss as Moneypenny. First and last for composer Michael Kamen. First Bond movie to be given an adult rating (barely escaping an R in the US and cut to get a 15 in the UK). And, most importantly, the very last Bond movie to be released during the summer season. A fact that endures to this day as the studio now favors a late autumn/early winter slot. It also marked the last entry for over six years, the longest gap in the franchise, before Brosnan rebooted the character with Goldeneye.
Summer 1989 was very busy for moviegoers. Tim Burton's Batman, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters 2, and Lethal Weapon 2 were all pulling in huge business. For the kiddies there was lighter fare such as Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Franchise fatigue had set in with James Bond. The public had endured one movie every two years since 1962 and were looking elsewhere for thrills and adventure. No one cared for a mean and nasty Bond movie. The few who took a chance were turned off by the violence and sadism. Licence to Kill became the dark, very dark, horse of the franchise. If there is one kind of movie I adore above all else, it's the dark horse. This time around Bond goes Bad (with a capital B, you should notice).
The formula of a supervillain surrounded by scantily-clad women out for world domination being thwarted by gadgets and expensive cars is thrown out. Licence to Kill subverts viewer expectations on many levels and gives us an altogether different story for Bond (though perhaps a bit too familiar in regards to other 80s action movies).
After successfully capturing South American drug lord Franz Sanchez (a cool, smoldering performance by Robert Davi) in Miami series spook Felix Leiter (David Hedison, reprising his role from Live and Let Die) ties the knot with lovely wife Della. Sanchez does not plan to stay incarcerated for long and has soon corrupted the man bringing him in for trial. Immediately after being sprung from captivity he murders Della and mutilates Leiter by feeding him to a shark. The sight of a dead woman in her wedding dress opens old wounds for Bond and he relentlessly hunts down Sanchez.
M is having none of this and orders Bond to abandon his quest for vengeance or face the consequences. Bond promptly quits MI6 and goes rogue. In many ways it is Bond who is the villain of this film. As I said, Franz Sanchez is not a cartoon. He's simply a businessman looking to expand his empire. A man who believes in loyalty above all else. Look out for him and he'll look out for you. Bond identifies this crack in the armor and abuses it, squeezing himself into Sanchez's operation and destroying it from within. Sanchez does not have any ridiculous backstory or motivation, he develops as a character as Bond manipulates and exploits him. His confusion and naive sense of friendship the cause of many sad ironies. It's easy to forget that we are supposed to enjoy his downfall as Bond sets about wrecking his dreams and future.
Timothy Dalton absolutely kills it as Bond in LTK. His sharp, focused eyes and his cold, angry performance give us an insight into a whole new side of the character. Here Bond is stripped down, without back-up, with little to no weapons or gadgets, while winging his revenge plot on the fly. This is not the soft, dull-witted Bond of the Moore-era. Dalton is furious. Sanchez finally gives him a much-needed outlet for his pent-up rage over Tracy's death. You could go straight from OHMSS to LTK and completely skip over the silly Moore years altogether.
Thrown into the mix is Carey Lowell as Pam Bouvier, a CIA op with her own agenda against Sanchez. I had the biggest crush on her when I was 9-years-old. Her short hair and tall, slender frame really caught my eye more than Olivia D'Abo or Tanya Roberts. Bouvier is no bimbo either. She's feisty and smart, and the perfect match for Bond. Talisa Soto is also real easy to look at, but her wooden acting spoils it a bit.
John Glen is not much of a visual director, he was really just there to make sure that the cameras were switched on during these years. LTK is shot in lovely anamorphic Panavision with very high key photography. I do feel that the film could have benefited from more atmospheric intriguing camera-work and it sometimes comes close but for the most part this is same-old when it comes to aesthetics, and is the only noticeable similarity it has to the previous movies.
Michael Kamen's score might also sound familiar. It might remind you of Nakatomi Plaza specifically. Kamen's late 80s/early 90s signature is all over this one, which is appropriate since it IS the Die Hard Bond, sharing cast and crew members with the 1988 classic. The sign of a good Bond composer is one who knows when to just go totally crazy with the famous Bond chorus (something no Daniel Craig entry has done yet). The chorus marks the moment when 007 does something "Totally Bond". Here it's during the moment he wheelies through a fire in a big rig, the look on his face as he smacks down on top of another car proving that being Bad is so damn Good. Sadly, for some reason, it is the ONLY Bond score that has never had a proper album release.
Do not listen to the killjoys who say that this movie killed the franchise. Dalton did not kill Bond and Brosnan did not save him. Dalton only maxed-out the character and ended years of silliness. He was given a very short tenure as Bond but he managed to take him away from Moore and pushed as far as he could, as far as audiences would let him. If it were not for rights issues he would have got a third outing, but nothing could top this one. He goes for broke and cashes out, but not before leaving a solid, and definite mark on the franchise. LTK is a tough, nose-to-the-grinding block Bond movie that could have been taken a few steps further had Glen had the talent and flair to do so, but as it is this is still a very important entry in an innovating and enduring series.
The Blu-ray looks great in 2.35:1 1080p with DTS HD-MA sound. Extras are plentiful, including a great documentary on the movie which features the infamous "fire hand" photograph (watch and you'll find out).
Unlike the usual ''terrorist wants to take over the world'' plot, this entry finds our hero battling a much more down to earth villain. When drug baron Franz Sanchez (played to perfection by Robert Davi, clearly relishing his role) maims Felix Leiter (a returning David Heddison) and murders his bride Della (Priscilla Barnes) in order to locate important intel that Leiter holds, our man James discovers his inner Charles Bronson and launches into a revenge fuelled tirade across Florida to the mysterious Isthmus City where Franchez's main centre of operations is held. Along the way, Bond is first stripped of his licence to kill and operating on his own is helped by the dependable Q (Desmond Lewellyn in a much meatier role) and beautiful pilot Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell) who aid him in an attempt to bring Franchez down and avenge Leiter.
This time, the screenplay is much more of the 80s action movie template and maybe that's why the audience stayed away. I guess if you wanted to see that, there were plenty of 'Die Hards' and Arnold Schwarzenegger movies at the time that fitted that bill - however, as a Bond movie it is a refreshing change of pace and suits Tim Dalton's portrayal perfectly. He's assured, mean and very moody and his steely blue eyes feel like they could laser beam through glass - for me, he's the perfect 007 and I wish he had hung around for a third adventure, but alas not to be. The rest of the cast are also spot on and for a movie that hits the two hour mark, it rarely lags with enough action, romance and adventure to satisfy any movie fan. Director John Glen (on his last assignment) goes for the jugular delivering a much harder movie than previous instalments with razor sharp editing and blistering action sequences. Kudos also to composer Michael Kamen who delivers a lush score that accentuates the action aesthetic and cinematographer Alec Mills keeps the movie looking exuberant and attractive throughout.
The blu ray is of the usual MGM James Bond high standard: Excellent picture quality with great contrast and detail throughout. The special features are plentiful including commentaries, documentaries, etc. and an assortment of featurettes. All in all, a decent package and highly recommended for people who haven't seen it in awhile and new Bond fans looking for something that is akin to what Daniel Craig is doing now.
A much darker Bond movie is presented here than in Dalton's previous outing - The Living Daylights.
I will not go into details about the plot, but it is similar to Yojimbo and its remakes - A Fistful Of Dollars and Last Man Standing. Bond infiltrates the operation of a drug lord and destroys it from within by turning its members against one another.
Timothy Dalton turns in an intense performance as the avenging hero - one minute light and charming and in the next burning with barely controlled rage.
Unfortunately, as with The Living Daylights, audiences weren't ready for a more serious Bond movie and this was considered a flop.
My advice is this. Ignore the bad word of mouth this film has received over the decades and give it a go. It's far superior to those that followed.
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When my parents rented it out a year later, I was like er ?Read more