The Living Daylights (Glen, 1987)
[i]“I’m a British agent, he’s a defector, you’re a sniper assassin… no, hang on: He’s a pretend defector, you’re his missus, and I’m his mate… no no, only joking, I AM a British agent and he IS a fake defector, and… well, you ARE his missus but you haven’t got a scooby, love.”
“No! I HAVE got a scooby, and you are a KGB fckbum, out to kill my man! So I’ve drugged you up like a kipper… Oh noes! It turns out I didn’t have a scooby, you’re not a KGB fckbum after all, and my man is a fake defecting money-roller, spunking Soviet down-payments to an arms dealer on lashings of brown and then squirrelling the proceeds along with the arms dealer who’s in on the fix! Sh*t@rse!”
“Sh*t@rse indeed, you silly tart! Now we’ve got to break out of this jail! Lucky I’ve got this whistly-listeny stun-watch.”[/i]
“You were fantastic! We’re free!”
“Kara, we’re inside a Russian airbase in the middle of Afghanistan…” (Actual lines of dialogue, there) [i]"…you vacuous f*cking doughnut."
“How in sh*tting criminy are we going to bust out of this jib-joint, Jimmy?”
“Don’t worry, our great mates the Afghan Mujahideen will help us. They’re our friends! Do you know why they’re called “Afghan Mujahideen”? It’s for the initials: A.M… Art Malik! He’s their boss! Yeah. He’s well aware that his career is only going to get him through the nineties (no bugger will recognise him by the time he makes it onto Homeland), so he thought he’d start up a fully armed fan club for when things get a bit thin, you know.”[/i]
Ah, The Living Daylights. Harkening back to a simpler time, when Jihadists were like a sort of friendly real-world Rebel Alliance, when Art Malik was more ubiquitous than Ant and bloody Dec, and when Maryam d’Abo, Julie T. Wallace and a-ha all had day jobs.
I know everybody likes to keep track of how many Bonds there have been, but is anyone paying any attention to the Felix Leiters? How many are we on by 1987? Seventeen, is it? Forty-six? A hundred-and-three? They change that f*cker up every single scene he’s in, don’t they? And still none of them have bettered Jack Lord. Still, I’m up to Jimmy B number four, and I think Mr. Dalton’s very good here in a good movie that’s just shy of real greatness. Once again, gadgets were kept on the down-low but when they were utilised they were very good, the main one here of course being the tricked out V8 Vantage Volante, almost as sexy as the DB5 of old and starring this time in the perennial snowbound chase sequence where it also sadly meets its end. But of course it had to die, else we wouldn’t have been treated to Bond and Kara tobogganing down a mountain together in a cello case. There’s still a lot of catching up to be done on the Bond Girl front now, though. It’s becoming critical. I mean, Maryam d’Abo is lovely, but the character of Kara Milovy wasn’t a “sexy” Bond Girl, was she? This was a much more doe-eyed, Cupid’s Arrow type of a deal, wasn’t it? Indeed, much of the middle of the film was a sort of Road Movie/Romance hybrid. I liked the henchman a lot though, and “Necros” is a top “henchman” name. And I liked the new Moneypenny a LOT. Maybe they’ve sexed her up a bit TOO much, though; back when she resembled Christine Hamilton one could understand why Bond limited their interplay to the odd dirty limerick. Here though, I wondered why he didn’t just throw her atop a lab table, stuff his plums in her mouth and tell Q and his poindexters to do one for ten minutes while she hums the theme tune to Z-Cars. I couldn’t buy into Saunders however, chiefly because he was also Heimi Henderson the off-licence owner in The Comic Strip Presents… Mr. Jolly Lives Next Door. Hm, I wonder if the Living Daylights screenwriters nicked the exploding milk bottle gag from the exploding tonic water gag in Mr. Jolly?
Anyway, I liked it. And I really liked Tim Dalton. I bought into him as James Bond from the off and I didn’t find my mind wandering back to other previous Bonds for comparison, either. The Mujahideen bit all seems a bit odd here in 2015 but what can you do? That was the world then and this is the world now. And the theme tune from a-ha is dated now but in the good way, like a Rubik cube. “The living’s in the waay, weeeeee, diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieee!” Nope, didn’t make a lick of sense, that. Still, good stuff.
Roll on Licence to Kill (1989). What is a licence to kill, anyways? Can he just arbitrarily shoot anyone, perfectly legally? Like, if Amazon say they’ll be at Bond’s gaff by lunchtime and then they don’t show up with his King of the Hill DVD until f*cking nine o’clock that evening, can he pop a cap straight in the surly courier’s nostril on his own front doorstep? If so, how can I go about getting me one of those licences?