Countdown to Skyfall: The Living Daylights (1987)

Countdown to Skyfall: The Living Daylights (1987)


BOND: Timothy Dalton

DIRECTOR: John Glen (For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill)

BOND GIRL(S): Maryam d’Abo (Kara Milovy)

COOL GADGETS: Bond’s go-to gadget here is a keychain that explodes when you whistle.

THEME SONG: “The Living Daylights,” sung by a-ha  Another uptempo song in the mold of “A View to a Kill.”  Proof that a-ha was not just a one-hit wonder.

IMDB PLOT SUMMARY: James Bond is living on the edge to stop an evil arms dealer from starting another world war. Bond crosses all seven continents in order to stop the evil Whitaker and General Koskov.

ICONIC MOMENTS: Bond teams up with Afghan rebels at the end – a plot development that would never happen post-9/11.

FUN FACTS: Joe Don Baker (playing bad guy Brad Whitaker) will later pop up in Goldeneye in a different role.  This is the first Bond movie to use a different song over the end credits.  Here, it’s The Pretenders’ “If There Was a Man.”

VERDICT: This is a marked departure from the Roger Moore entries, due in large part to the performance of Timothy Dalton.  Rather than go for the jokey ladykiller aspect of the character, Dalton is serious and intense to a fault.  He adds new, interesting dimensions to the Bond character, but at the expense of having fun.  That’s not to say that The Living Daylights doesn’t feature its fair share of entertaining moments though.  There is an exciting car chase over frozen ice about 1/3 of the way through.  The climactic battle on an Afghanistan airport tarmac is epic and explosive, and the mid-air fight sequence out the back of an airplane is impressively staged, shot, and edited.  It’s nice to see recognizable character actors John Rhys-Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Jeroen Crabbe (The Fugitive) in supporting roles.  The middle kind of drags (as true in most Bond films), but this is mostly solid, and a promising start for Dalton in the role.


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