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Licence to Kill: on his wedding day Felix Leiter’s runs into some trouble. When the CIA or MI6 don’t want to pursue the case, Bond goes dark and has to infiltrate a drug cartel to avenge his long-time friend and partner, who’s bailed 007 out over the years more than he’s ever given credit for!

I'll take your feeble car-wheelie and raise you, Moore!

It’s quite unfortunate that the next film was delayed for so long, rendering this Dalton’s last appearance by default. He gets a hard time for only having two films, but given that he turned down the first offer some 20 years prior to The Living Daylights and got shafted by a rights war at the other end, he’s definitely the unluckiest actor to play Bond. As mentioned before I think he’s great, and this film has my favourite Dalton moment, when he shouts at the Bond girl “Ya bloody luckey ta be alyve!!” Fantastic accent lapse! The also has a toughness lapse at the end when he turns all gooey and gets the girl.

"Are you sanchez? No? Are you sanchez? No!? But I... I am Sanchez!"

There’s two great bad guys at the table here; Sanchez (Davi) and his right-hand runt man Dario (Del Toro) – and being honest, even if these guys were to glide around the scenes in bright pink suits they’d still be absolute badasses. Unlike previous villains these guys don’t just look the like nasty pieces of work; they carry out of the most brutal and often senseless murders of all the movies. True to the 1980s, their story is essentially America’s ‘War on Drugs’ put on the big screen – spookily foretelling a similar story to real criminals like Pablo Escobar.

Toilets are over there gringo

The bottom line in Licence to Kill is that when you pit the darkest James Bond against two of the most ruthless villains, it can only mean one thing – a bloody corpsemageddon!!

Even though he helps terrorists, this guy could smile his way to safety

There’s not a lot of balls-to-the-wall action, but when it rolls round it’s handled expertly and stylishly done; particularly the barfight (even though it’s a little Airplane! there’s some cool bits) and the final 20 minutes – peaking with the coolest multiple uses of 18-wheelers known to man – are absolutely fantastic to watch; just stunt after stunt after stunt punctuated with massive (real) explosions.

KABOOM!!! Looks a lot better than CGI explosions

This is the first film that’s fully an out-and-out revenge-driven story, and that’s why it’s one of the better plots. There’s very little backup, and Bond has to rely more on his smarts than anything else. He gets into some pretty hairy situations too, and watching him escape or get bailed out is just a little edgier knowing that the cavalry isn’t just around the corner.

Q's supposed to be on holiday... yet still has Bond's back. What a guy!

Other delightful portions of Licence to Kill are: the plane fishin’ scene at the start, manta ray disguise, cutting edge computers that made ‘CD-ROMs’ look tiny, everyone smoking furiously, and Felix himself being scarily calm considering that he’d just lost is better half (and lower half).

Felix getting a bum deal in the shark pen

This is easily one of the better Bond films and one with the most clout, not just because it’s dark and violent, but because it’s the most grounded Bond picture to date. The mix of a gripping story, believable characters and well-made action is a truly explosive combo. Finally, there’s Dalton, who’s not just a great Bond in his own right, but reiterated the darker side of the worlds best spy, a side that Brosnan and Craig would both use to their advantage. Criminally underrated film.

Score: 7.5/10

Knife to the head... not the best first date 007's ever had. Nor the worst...

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Sanchez – ruthless escobarian guy. Soft spot for ‘loyalty’ though. 8
Henchmen: Switchblade Dario – pretty nasty smile / Killfer (bent cop) / Milton (sailor moustace). 7
Action: shootout and ‘plane fishin’ / underwater fight / Barfight / Grinder / Tankers. 8
Babes: Ginger toy boy exec secretary – boys haircut / Sanchez’s deceitful girlfriend – eyebrows. 7

Bond daydreaming... probably about shooting someone in the face. Let's hope Dalton one day gets proper recognition for his time with the PPK

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The Spy Who Loved Me: after dispatching a bunch of goons that chase him down a mountain (it’s becoming a regular nuisance) Bond is paired up with his Russian counterpart XXX to solve the disappearance of some nuclear submarines.

Bloody women drivers, huh?!

In the opening seconds we see the first visible boobs in franchise – nudey posters in submarine. Starting as it means to go on, and staying true to the pornographic nature of the book, the intro’s essentially shadow-porn, and the rest of the film has so many random busty women, bikini/lingerie clad models, beach babes and general skin on display it’s unreal. Did Russ Meyer direct this? We even see a woman in the shower, totally buff, and it remains a PG?!?! AWESOME!

Not leaving much to the imagination

What with all the sexiness flying around, it’s no surprise that James Bond capitalises on the amour; some random hottie he’s just met literally takes a bullet for him. There’s a painful-to-watch ‘Women Drivers’ scene that makes you glad XXX knocks him out! Also, with lines like “Keeping the British end up, sir” it’s like Bond’s happily swapped his 007 badge for the ‘double entendre’ one. Not to mention the fact that his name is almost Rodger More!! Carry on Roger!!!

In your end-oh!!

Despite showing Russia and the UK working together in the height of the cold war the film’s unapologetically patriotic. From the Union Jack parachute to the continual references about Bond’s queen and country. He’s definitely out to win the hearts and minds of the British public! The evil plan to abuse nukes would have also played to contemporary fears of a WWIII.

She's a damsel, in distress, with boobs!

For being such a goofy giant with metal teeth Jaws comes across surprisingly menacing, no doubt attributed to his lack of dialogue. Even though he’s comically indestructible and not the smartest peanut in the turd you can’t help but think that he’ll do some proper damage to Bond at one point. He also gets the 3rd train fight in the series!

Tin Grin

Other unforgettable moments from this are the underwater lotus, fantastic theme song (top 5 of the 22 to date), the exotic backdrops of Egypt and Sardinia, the ‘tie’ scene on the roof (emulated in later Bonds and Oldboy). The age disparity between a ‘seasoned’ Bond and the Bond girl that could be his daughter… There’s also a lot of exciting and tense scenes, given the tone of the film; disarming the nuke, bombing ship, gunfights etc. Finally, the massive submarine-swallowing ship at the end is the the epitome of a villain’s base; scores of henchmen, operations control room, klaxons, monorail, tannoy updates and everything your modern baddie needs!

No matter how rubbish this looks, you still always want one

Being the 10th film in the franchise this one had to be a hit, and even though Stromberg blends in to the ‘generic villain’ category with a recycled ‘evil scheme’ this one’s saved by Jaws, Bond, Egypt, action, and miles of cleavage!

Score: 7.5/10

1 cropped frame and two gratuitous bikinis!!

TOP TRUMPS

Villain: Stromberg – underwater world fantasy. Certifiably mad! Webbed hands. 7
Henchmen: Jaws: kicked out of train, car crashed into building, blown up in base, shot in face. kills a shark with his face!! Total Bad-ass, indestrictable but least realistic! 9
Bond Girl: Marine Biologist bikini girl Naomi and XXX. 7
Action: Ski Chase / Rooftop Fight / Lambo run – underwater / on-ship action. 8

... you get the idea

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There is one scene where the girls face is the focal point

AND FINALLY…
No look at The Spy Who Loved Me would be complete without Alan Partridge’s narration of the introduction. Enjoy.