FB/BS Bond Week: Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights

living-daylights-dalton-dabo-desertLauren’s Take on Timothy Dalton:

In 1987, something very exciting happened. The James Bond franchise got a face lift. An older Roger Moore opted out of a film called The Living Daylights, and young man named Timothy Dalton changed the way the world saw Bond. An avid reader of the Fleming novels, Dalton created a version of the character which was more serious, more physical, and edged on the emotional darkness we saw in the novels. Dalton was also blessed with two good scripts which minimized the puns and creepy one-liners of the Moore Era and allowed for the intensity and intimidation of a new kind of Bond. In fact, you could argue that Dalton’s Bond paved the way for Craig’s Bond.

Fun Facts about Dalton:

  • Dalton was only in two movies – The Living Daylights and License to Kill. He was contracted for a third, but quit after filming was cancelled for 5 years during a legal battle between EON Productions and UA/MGM.
  • Voiced Mr. Pricklepants the Hedgehog in Toy Story 3.
  • At 6’ 2” he is the tallest Bond by half an inch. Connery and Lazenby are both 6’ 1.5”, Moore and Brosnan are 6’ 1”. Craig is 5’ 10”.

Review of The Living Daylights:

We start off with an exciting car chase. There is a bad guy and James Bond is chasing him. We don’t know who he is or what he wants, but it doesn’t matter because there is a fiery airborne car chase ending with parachute landing onto a boat conveniently floating by with an even more conveniently attractive woman who must be seduced immediately. Rather exciting intro for our new Bond.

The next section of the movie, from which the title phrase is derived, is one the greatest segments in any James Bond movie. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but closely follows the short story with the same title by Fleming.

The movie continues with fast-paced action, actual funny moments replacing annoying puns, and a sled scene involving a cello case. It’s awesome. Then it gets slightly ridiculous in a Connerian manner.

There are 9 separate catastrophes in the last 10 minutes of the movie! And when that’s over, we realize it’s not the end of the movie at all!

First, Bond must sneak into the Russian Airbase in Afghanistan. Then, he fights off one bad guy. Then, he must steal the plane filled with heroin. Then, he must rescue his girl. Then, he must diffuse a bomb. But wait! He must now fight another bad guy who has snuck onto the plane, while dangling at 200 feet hanging onto a cargo net. Ignoring the blatant lack of realism, Bond must then diffuse the bomb, which is does with 2 seconds to spare. He then returns to the cockpit only to narrowly avoid hitting a mountain that Kara apparently didn’t realize she was steering straight toward. And then he must drop a bomb and save the Afghani revolutionaries. And then he realizes that the fuel line is leaking and proceeds to fall 50 feet from the plane in a jeep! Miraculously neither the jeep nor the two occupants are damaged, and Bond and his girl finally ride off into the sunset.

But wait!

Bond must now fight a fourth bad guy. This movie never ends.

I realized why Timothy Dalton was only in 2 movies. He had enough fights scenes for 4 films!

Rating: 7/10

Bottom Line: Timothy Dalton is supremely underrated. He is strong, athletic, and intimidating. Although he got mixed reviews reviews from a public used to Roger Moore’s Bond, I HIGHLY recommend you give both his films a chance. You are welcome in advance 🙂

Damien’s thoughts:

Earlier this week I watched my first Bond movies starring George Lazenby and Roger Moore. Now I’ve finally seen Timothy Dalton in action and I have to say I was surprised. While the performances of Lazenby and Moore (and to a lesser extent Connery) brought the charming side of Bond to life, Dalton played up the more action oriented side of the character. For the first time since Connery’s tenure I actually thought of Bond as a dangerous agent. Now he’s not nearly as intense as Craig’s Bond but it’s a huge advance from Lazenby’s ruffles. Dalton even makes the transition from formal wear to tactical gear earlier in the film when he converts his suit jacket into basically a tactleneck for a mission. Overall, this film’s action was solid and exciting even if the editing of the final battle left me confused as to who was shooting who, what was being blown up by what, and what was happening in general. Dalton may be my fourth favorite Bond behind Connery, Brosnan, and Craig but that’s good company to keep.


The….slightly darker black tactleneck.

Rating: 7/10

Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “FB/BS Bond Week: Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights

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