Customer Reviews: The Living Daylights
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on April 3, 2007
The first thing that struck me about this film is that Timothy Dalton could act and he took the part very seriously. I found THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS to be one of the better James Bond films. I think it is the best since ON HER MAJESTY's SECRET SERVICE. I really liked Timothy Dalton as James Bond, the James Bond he gave us in this film (THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS). He was not the hard edged civil servant but more of a thinking man's blunt instrument as he demonstrated his reluctance to get the job done "their" way as opposed to "his" way.

John Barry delivered his last 007 score and it is one of his best. I also enjoyed a-ha's rich and lyrical theme song played over Maurice Binder's main titles, which are very reflective. This was also the last Bond film made during the actual cold war. We see a much more intelligent British agent discern that the KGB is not made up of a bunch of hoodlums but instead it is actually headed by an equally intelligent counterpart to "M" and the like. The dark yet richly colored photography and locations bring back much of the feel of the earlier Bond films.

Timothy Dalton deserved to be around much longer as James Bond based on his work in this film.
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on August 12, 2000
First of all, this is about 10 times better than Timothy Dalton's second flick as 007, Licence to Kill, which was a good movie, but didn't quite make it into my list of fantastic Bonds. The Living Daylights is a charming, romantic, fast-paced adventure, which, in my opinion can hold a candle to movies as historic as Goldfinger and From Russia With Love. Dalton is on top of his career as Bond, and proves right away that he needed no time to adapt to the character as Moore did (3 movies in fact).This film starts off with a bang as an unknown madman, part of an international conspiracy called "smiert spionem" (kill spies), ruins a routine MI6 training session as he kills off several 00 agents, until getting outrun by 007. The movie itself is centered around an important KGB defector who doublecrosses the secret service after promising loyalty, and hooks up with a dirty dealing American arms dealer named Brad Whitaker (played by Joe Don Baker), who wants to help the KGB defector finance his "smiert spionem" conspiracy. Along with a ruthless KGB henchman named Necros, Georgi Koskov (the KGB defector, played by Jeroen Krabbe) fights time and 007 to carry out his whimsical plans. The movie is equipped with fantastic action sequences such as a chase down an Austrian ski slope in a cello case, a fantastic mid-air brawl with Necros and Koskov, and a climatic thriller in Whitaker's villa, where the insane arms dealer tries to fry Bond in his battle room.
This is a fantastic movie not only because it has a great plot, great actors, and a great bond, but because it also has a bond girl who bond seems really attracted to. Kara Milovy, a Slovakian cellist, seems to have a real romance with Bond, which is a nice refresher since most Bond fans are used to the classic "love 'em and leave 'em" plot line. All in all, a great movie!!!! Just for the sake of it, here is my Bond "gold collection" list of 5:
-from russia, with love -goldfinger -the spy who loved me -the living daylights -for your eyes only
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VINE VOICEon June 7, 2004
The taglines for this, the 15th Bond entry, promised- "The most dangerous Bond ever," and right there beyond the flippant fun that Roger Moore had brought, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS came and made good on that vow. In a cool, totally decked-out Aston Martin, our favorite spy propels himself into this, the last of the series' Cold War intrigues (furthermore being the final title penned by its creator, Ian Fleming). And herein, the flavour of Fleming is found everywhere-
Having been a child of 007's Roger Moore era, I had- on some seven different occasions during the course of his 14-year reign as Bond- looked forward with great anticipation to the very heights of fun and adventure. Moore, with his infectious charm and cheeky wit, was absolutely and completely entertaining as Bond. So I was naturally a little edgy when, in 1987, he retired, to pass the torch to another actor.
I was in college, studying English literature when I heard Timothy Dalton would be the next James Bond. To me, this seemed an exceedingly interesting choice- for here was a classically trained Welsh actor, who at that time had been fairly unknown. Yet I already knew him, of course: not only had he made his impression in some of the Shakespeare plays I'd been studying, but this ardent, sensitive actor had actually won my heart with his perfect portrayals of two beloved Bronte heroes- (Charlotte's "Rochester" and Emily's "Heathcliff.") Needless to say, I just couldn't wait for this one~~
THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS is a spy thriller in every classical sense. From the get-go, it's exciting: the gun-barrel sequence, where John Barry's arrangement pulses more quickly to keep in tempo with the motion of a more youthful 007- the exhilarating pre-credits: where, after a parachute jump onto the Rock of Gibraltar, a double-0 agent gets murdered and Bond jumps onto the roof of a speeding jeep as it hurtles down the cliff, and requites the assassin in like. He then lands emergently onto a yacht- where, by sheer coincidence, the bikini-clad babe onboard has been lamenting her failure to find any "real men" anywhere. Bond grabs her phone to call headquarters, introducing himself with a brisk offhand, "Bond, James Bond". She offers him champagne and, as a consequence, he's an hour late reporting back........
After opening credits - Maurice Binder's flowing artwork gracing John Barry's title song- (a colorful pop number performed by Ah-Ha that won't ever let you forget it's the 80's), Bond reports to Bratislava for a seemingly unrelated assignment. Saunders, of section V, Vienna (Thomas Wheatley) has arranged the defection of a top KGB agent, Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé). Bond is called in to kill the sniper assigned to assassinate Koskov if he should try to bolt. -This scene makes up the whole of Fleming's short story, wherein our hero turns over in his mind the conflicting implications of his work. Well, it's apparent that this James Bond is definitely a man who, though despising certain aspects of his profession, is quite capable of killing an enemy sniper in cold blood. The sniper, however, turns out being the lovely woman cellist that Bond had only moments before been admiring. And Bond, who follows instincts before orders, observes, "that girl didn't know one end of a rifle from the other," and instead of killing her, shoots the weapon from her hand.
Nevertheless, the coup is a grand success. Hours later, in a safe house on the English countryside- (wherein Bond shows himself to be a connoisseur of good food: "The foie gras is excellent," and champagne: "The brand on the list was questionable, so I took the liberty of choosing something different.") -Koskov reveals a sinister plot by General Pushkin (John Rhys-Davies), the head of the KGB, to kill foreign spies- ("Smiert Spionen," Fleming's SMERSH term meaning death to spies). Bond is immediately a little skeptical of Koskov's story, and his suspicions are further enhanced when, shortly thereafter, Koskov gets snatched out of Britain by forces unknown -pulled off by henchman Necros (Andreas Wisniewski), disguised as the most menacing milkman one could ever imagine. For answers, Bond returns to Czechoslovakia to investigate that female "sniper," and discovers she's Kara Milovy (Maryam d'Abo), Koskov's girlfriend. He then poses as Koskov's friend in the hope that she'll be able to locate him.
The inertia of this complex plot carries Bond further, through a number of beautiful locales in the world- London, Vienna, Tangier, Afghanistan, and New York. His mission involves drugs, deceit, diamonds, eccentric American arms dealer Brad Whitaker (Joe Don Baker), and the Afghan resistance, Mujahadin. There's action aplenty - highlights being a car chase in the Aston Martin fully armed, a ski chase downslope in a cello case, and a seat-gripping airplane ride I'd never in a million years want to ride!
The late 80's had safe-sex everywhere afoot - even in Bond. Kara's certainly endearing as the Bond girl, but she doesn't hold the screen next to Bond so well as many of her predecessors. The villains are undeniably wonderful: a swarthy combination of the fearsome and the ludicrous. And Dalton's tough, gritty Bond is as close to Ian Fleming's creation that any actor has come- yet whether or not that's a good thing is a matter of infinite debate. The cinematic Bond had already been well established by then. Like Connery, though, Dalton has a certain cat-like grace, albeit minus the twinkle in his eye. And though he brings an intensity to the character that even Connery could not own, he never really does let loose - never hams it up or has the famous fun that every other Bond has had! But notwithstanding all that, I'm forever disposed to find him perfect.
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on November 8, 2000
The Living Daylights is the first Bond movie(out of only two)with Timothy Dalton.He looks a little uneasy at times,but for the most part,did very well,and plays the part a lot more seriously than Roger Moore did.As for the movie itself,it's very good,and a lot better than Moore's last 007 film,A View to a Kill.There is plenty of action and gadgets,including a really cool Aston Martin car.Maryam d'Abo is good as very pretty Bond girl Kara Milovny.Joe Don Baker as Brad Whitaker and Jeroen Krabbe' as General Koskov are the main villains,they both do a pretty good job,but aren't that memorable as far as Bond villains go.The John Barry musical score(the last one he's done in the Bond series to date) and title song by Ah-Ha are both very good.Overall,it's a good Bond film,and nice debut for Dalton,who really came into his own as Bond in the next film,License to Kill,which is excellent.Great DVD with a sharp picture,good sound,and lots of extras.
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on June 12, 2003
Two years after Roger Moore's swansong, Timothy Dalton, possessing Sean Connery's bravado and cutthroat attitude, made his Bond debut in 1987's The Living Daylights. In only one try, Dalton hit his stride as the quintessential English gentleman secret agent with a license to kill and he had displayed tremendous potential to be a staple like Connery and Moore. Sadly, Dalton became a short-timer like George Lazenby when he simply stepped down and Brosnan had taken the torch and hasn't let go ever since. However, Dalton makes the most of his tenure in The Living Daylights, making this particular energetic Bond flick as one of the best, yet most underrated 80's Bond movie.
The plot has some twists and turns and excellently written and excellently executed. After a riveting, no-holds-barred opening sequence where his fellow double agents were murdered, Bond sets out to free a KGB officer, General Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe), a defector who unravels a top-secret Soviet plot called Operation Smiert Spionem, of whom his superior General Leonid Puskin (John Rhys-Davies) had devised. Koskov is abducted, but it turns out to be nothing but a doublecross, as it turns out he is aligned with an American arms dealer, Brad Whitaker, who wants in on Smiert Spionem, to eliminate all enemy spies including 007. Hot on their trail, Bond tags along with Koskov's Slovakian cellist girlfriend, Kara Milovy (Maryam D'Abo from TV sitcom, The Wonder Years) and together, they unravel a sophisticated weapons plot.
The Living Daylights is a strong, bold entry in the Bond series. The only true weak points are the two villains, Koskov and Whitaker. However, this film revolves around Dalton and his superb performance more than makes up for it. Dalton is true to form of to the Bond of the Ian Fleming novels, as he is uncompromising, bold, serious, ruthless and he shows a darker side to Bond, more so than Connery ever could. As professional and instinctive as he plays himself out to be, Dalton shows his softer, romantic side, paired up with Kara Milovy. Speaking of which, Maryam D'Abo is a refreshing Bond girl as well, as she does not display the toughness and or independence previous Bond girls have and in that regard, she's somewhat of an antithesis to the typical Bond girl. D'Abo, nonetheless turns in the strongest acting performance of a Bond girl. As for the storyline, it is sensible, but sophisticated and you could say the oversophistication of the plot is a flaw to the flick. But the first-rate pulse-pounding action supports the well-thought script. Noteworthy sequences are the botched Gibraltar training pre-title scene, the Austrian ski chase, and the Afghan desert battle. All in all, The Living Daylights stands out as Dalton's moment in the sun.
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on June 19, 2002
Timothy Dalton did display a Bond that was totally different from Roger Moore, which is probably why some critics were not too impressed with his performance. But Bond fans who enjoy watching a Bond that doesn't go from one lady to another, who is serious, who shows his emotions, this Bond movie is for you. Who could forget that scene when Bond is meant to kill the sniper but then he realises that the sniper is the cellist. You can see that tension in his face as he worries over killing her. That was pure Dalton.
The song "The Living Daylights" sung by A-ha is brilliant: it is highly dramatic but viewers have not mention about the song at the end, "if there was a man", which is really heart-warming.
The action in the film can keep you on your toes, especially since Dalton performed most of his own stunts, so it is believable as well. Viewers have mention that the plot can be confusing but compared to some other plots in other Bond films, this one would have be one of the easiest to follow.
"The living daylights" is a lot less violent than "Licence to Kill" so children below 15 should be recommonded to not watch the latter.
To critics who find Dalton boring, are mistaken. With that cruel face and those violent eyes, it would make you wonder what this Bond is capable of doing.
To finish, one viewer mention that it was surprising that Bond and Milovy did not get married, which I agree. But we see in "Licence to Kill" that Bond will not intend to marry again after the lost of his wife, Tracy. But still, I do agree with that viewer.
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on September 14, 2003
With Timothy Dalton replacing Roger Moore as James Bond, the franchise embarks on a new and welcome direction. Taking advantage of Dalton's tougher and more serious personality, "The Living Daylights" returns to the more authentic style and tone of the Bond novels and early movies, and in doing so recaptures the spirit of Ian Fleming. This was Dalton's original idea behind his portrayal, and the producers chose wisely to back it up. Rightfully so the DVD includes a wonderful documentary with Fleming as the subject. As a result of this renewed approach, the series once again shifts its focus to the Cold War (albeit it nearing its twilight), and the themes of espionage and political intrigue that have distinguished some of the better Bonds. In turn, the action becomes much more realistic and intense than that of the Roger Moore era, with fantastic stunts to be found all around. It's not a perfect film; it's biggest weakness being it's apparent lack of a truly menacing villainous presence. But it's a wonderful breath of fresh air after the Moore years and succeeds on most counts. John Barry contributes his final score to the franchise, beautifully updating the sound to reflect the late 80's, and collaborates with Norwegian rock group a-ha to deliver a good, underrated title song which has been unfairly bashed by many. You be the judge.
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on October 16, 2001
"The Living Daylights", loosely based on the short story, was certainly the turning point in the Bond movies and broke away from the film series' usual traditions. Dalton plays Bond ruthlessly and seriously, an agent no one should mess with. Moore and Brosnan pale in comparison. This is a performance not seen since the first two Connery films and "OHMSS". He leans toward the style from the novels of the character's creator and the results are great. This was the way Ian Fleming intended Bond to be.
The action and dialogue scenes make it clear that Bond has matured and we will never look back at the lighthearted nature of the previous films. Kara is the only Bond girl in the entire movie, but her relationship with 007 is the most realistic in the whole series. The villians are very dull and not interesting at all, but isn't it about time they stop making comic book-like bad guys like Hugo Drax? The only problem is that the story tends to drag at some points.
The movie also has the best Bond score, John Barry's last with a great main theme sung by a-ha, a nice love song and a cool upbeat version of the James Bond theme. "The Living Daylights" is probably not going to go down in history as one of the best of the Bond movies (mainly because audiences have been brainwashed by Moore's humorous outings), but it's worth checking out.
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on July 17, 1999
"Where has everybody gone?" That's the song bad guy Necros plays in his walkman whenever he kills some unfortunate soul. We might as well ask the same question, since, being this film one of the best Bond movies ever, none of its actors made it Big Time afterwards (except villain Krabbé, who was already famous at the time).
The movie has a great new Bond (Dalton, second only to Connery in the role), a new Aston Martin that does all sorts of wicked tricks, a new Moneypenny who has to wear eyeglasses to hide her beauty, a great soundtrack by John Barry, a more interesting plot than most in the series and the greatest stunt I've seen in any movie to date: a fight to the death dangling in midair from a plane with loose cargo (no computer graphics here)! Plus, Bond gets to fight (at last!) his original villains from the novels: THE COMMIES! Bond kills more Soviets here than all the Soviets he's ever killed in all precedent movies combined!
But the movie belongs to the best Bond girl ever Maryam D'Abo! Not only she's gorgeous-beyond-compare, she's intelligent, talented, funny, brave, elegant and tender. No wonder Bond remains monogamous through the entire movie!
Maryam, if you read this, you're the kind of girl I'd be more than willing to marry, divorce and pay alimony to without complaining, till death do us part!!!
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on July 16, 2004
As a child of the 70's and 80's,The Roger Moore-era movies defined the tone of the entire James Bond 007 series.When Moore left the series after A View To A Kill,Timothy Dalton took over and put Bond in a direction that was familiar to readers of Ian Fleming's novels, yet confusing to moviegoers.
The Living Daylights (1987)brought an end to the tongue and cheek tone of Moore's movies.Instead,Dalton becomes the 007 of the original novels,Tough, ruthless, yet still refined. Dalton read the original novels and redefined the roll.
Unfortunately,movie goers were a bit uneasy with a James Bond who didn't crack cheesy one liners,jump into bed with an average of three women per movie and harder edged than any other Bond on the screen.
The movie itself is a fine, yet slow-paced, involving a latter-day cold war defection of a Soviet soldier, only to be turn into a plot involving the elimination of British spies.Great scenes include an escape from the iron curtain in an updated Aston Marten, and an airplane cargo fight in mid air.
Dalton only portrayed Bond one more time (License to Kill) before the series was in limbo for six years (until Goldeneye with Pierce Brosnan in 1995).Since then, Dalton's portrayal of Bond has been praised in it's approach to bring Bond back to where it all began.
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