Starring: Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell, Robert Davi
Director: John Glen
Running Time: 133 mins
Licence To Kill is a British film and the sixteenth in the James Bond series. After being dismissed by MI6, James Bond goes rogue to bring down a powerful drug lord who tortured his best friend and murdered his best friend’s wife.
Well, in my view, this is the worst Bond movie by a long way. Think about it, what’s the most important objective of any action film? To entertain. That’s something that Licence To Kill consistently fails to do on every single level. Not only is its story appallingly dull, but Timothy Dalton’s turn as Bond, as well as John Glen’s directing, goes completely downhill from the moderately average The Living Daylights, and it all comes together to make a desperately disappointing Bond film that I personally couldn’t wait to end.
So, let’s start with what I thought was the most disappointing part of the entire movie: the story. Bond films have all got that generic plot about saving the world from some deranged madman, but this bravely decides to move a little away from that format and tell a slightly different story, which, at least initially excited me.
Although we’ve seen the ‘agent gone rogue’ story done so much better in other films such as Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, I was expectant that this film could provide something slightly different and more interesting to what we’re used to seeing from Bond, but I was completely wrong, because this is easily the most tedious plot in a Bond movie of all.
The main objective of the story is to add an extra emotional level to Bond’s mission. He’s hell-bent on revenge after what this drug lord did to his best friend, and further incensed by his dismissal from MI6, so this, in theory, should be a really intense story to follow. However, its painfully slow pacing completely destroys that, because despite the odd burst of action, Bond’s desperation for revenge is interrupted by endlessly poorly-written dialogue scenes.
The espionage genre can easily have brilliantly suspenseful talking scenes, but the script here completely failed to deliver any tension, and it had a huge impact on making what seemed like an interesting story into a truly tedious one from start to finish. Every scene felt like it went on for an age, and it really made me impatient and frankly bored as this film seemed like it would never end.
There is action, but it’s far too dispersed over such a long running time. And even when it does pop up, it’s pretty underwhelming. I don’t know what happened, but one of the strengths of The Living Daylights was John Glen’s action directing, and yet in Licence To Kill, it’s really poor. The chases are strangely edited, we don’t ever get any close-up, intense shots of Bond and the villains going head to head that might have drawn out a smidge of emotion, and so even when it’s trying to be a bit more fun and exciting, this film is still a real bore, and that’s Licence To Kill gets a 4.2 from me.