The Living Daylights (1987)
The Living Daylights features one of the most beautiful Bond Girls of the series in Kara Milovy (Maryam d’Abo) , it is also the first time we see Timothy Dalton as the role of 007. Timothy’s version of James Bond is a tad bit more serious and less suave than Moore and Connery. He seems focused, determined and ready for business like the early Sean Connery but unlike Connery his character isn’t the type to chase tail at every turn.
Without the camp and comedy associated with prior Bond films what we get in the Living Daylights is a fast-paced, espionage thriller. There are many twists and you never know who to trust as 007 ducks and dodges turncoats and men of power. The bad guy (once you know who he is) isn’t the typical cartoonish villain of the past but is just as interesting in his schemes. In my opinion Timothy Dalton isn’t a very likeable Bond, but he seems the most realistic, he is duty over everything else and a true professional. What impressed me the most was the story itself, you are kept interested and wondering the entire time and it keeps you guessing as to who the true villain is.
Plot: With an order from his country to help a Russian defector escape assassination, James Bond wounds a sniper instead of killing her due to his instincts. Risking the wrath of headquarters and his fellow spies to get closer to the would-be assassin, he seduces her into telling him who set-up the shot and why. His resolution turns to the shady arms dealer Brad Whitaker (Joe Don Baker), a couple Russian traitors and a plot to move half a billion dollars of opium into the United States.
Bond-o-meter Score (ranges from 1-10)
James Bond /Story (8): Without the suave but all the other goodness, Timothy’s version is too straight-edged for me. He barely breaks rules and is charmingly sly but not too interested in the ladies. It is a welcome change for some, but for me I like the tail chasing that a Bond mixes in whilst working.
Bond Girl: Kara Milovy (10): Beautiful, determined and loyal, what else can you ask from a sidekick? Kara starts off a mystery then drifts into an innocent damsel in distress only to transform into a strong partner to 007. I really liked her a lot and almost wished she could stick around.
Bond Toys (8): This movie allows for James to use his car and toys quite often. He whistles to let key chains explode; his car has lasers, skis and rockets. It’s a gadget lover’s movie.
The Villain (6): I should place this as a plural but I will judge based on the main head. If you find a fat military wannabe with a host of war toys interesting then this is for you. I found him to be ridiculous.
MoneyPenny Bonus (9): Caroline Bliss plays her in this movie and she is a nice blend of cute and mysterious with an air of danger. She turns up the flirt in a major way for James, which made me want to smack Dalton as he brushes it off ever so slightly. Damn it Bond get that! How long have you wanted it?
This is easily one of my favorite Bond movies, released at a time when the corny jokes of the Roger Moore era had ended and James Bond needed a restart to get back to business. The countries and cinematography are all interesting and it actually feels like a thriller. If you are collecting, grab this one immediately.