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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Living Daylights (1987)



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Bond is back in top form, and this time Timothy Dalton is agent 007. Dalton's Bond is grossly underrated by the media and casual viewers, while Bond purists and fanatics often rank him with Sean Connery for the best Bond. (In my book, Connery is a close second to Dalton.) Dalton brought an edge and a tangible sense of danger to the role. When Dalton's Bond walks in to a room, you don't know what he's going to do, but you know he's capable of anything. Watch the fantastic scene where Bond confronts Pushkin (John Rhys-Davies) for a perfect example of this. The first twenty minutes of The Living Daylights, from the opening frame up to where Bond says, "Whoever she was, I must have scared the living daylights out of her," comprises the best screen translation of Ian Fleming's hero ever filmed -- Bond's character, the dialogue, the imagery, etc, make up a stunningly accurate and exciting adaptation of Fleming's short story The Living Daylights. The rest of the film is a well crafted extension to that story that continues in the same spirit. The Living Daylights, like For Your Eyes Only, was a conscious attempt to return the series to its more serious roots and was a grand success. It suffers only from a slightly flawed ending and a weak villain (Jon Doe Baker), but neither are bad, and Daylights, even so, manages to rank in the list of top five or even top three Bond films of all time. Maryam d'Abo is a welcome change from the traditional Bond girl, and the plot is so full of twists and action (enhanced further by Dalton's performance), that you won't want to take your eyes off the screen for a split second. Highly recommended, and a must for even the most casual Bond fan.

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