The Living Daylights, new boy Timothy Dalton's first Bond outing, gets off to a rocking start with a pre-credits sequence on Gibraltar, and culminates in a witty final showdown with Joe Don Baker's arms dealer, set on a model battlefield full of toy soldiers. While the Aston Martin model whizzing through the car chase has been updated for the late 1980s--including lethal lasers and other deadly gizmos--the plot is pretty standard issue, maybe a little more cluttered and unfocused than usual, involving arms, drugs and diamond smuggling. Nevertheless, the action-formula... firmly in place, this one rehearses the moves with ease and throws in some fine acting. Maryam d'Abo, playing a cellist-cum-spy, is the classy main squeeze for 007 (uncharacteristically chaste for once). Dalton, with his wolfish, intelligent features, was a perfectly serviceable secret agent, but never caught on with the viewers, perhaps because everyone was hoping for a presence as charismatic as Sean Connery's in the franchise's glory days.--Leslie Felperin On the DVD: Casting the new Bond takes up much of the "making-of" documentary: first Sam Neill was in the running, but vetoed by Cubby Broccoli, who wanted Timothy Dalton and had considered him as far back as On Her Majesty's Secret Service (but Dalton felt he was just too young at the time). When Dalton proved unavailable, Pierce Brosnan was hired. Then, at the last minute, Brosnan's Remington Steele contract was renewed and he had to drop out. Dalton came back in, on the proviso that he could give Bond a harder, more realistic edge after the action-lite of the Roger Moore years. The second documentary attempts to profile the enigmatic Ian Fleming, who was apparently as mysterious and chameleon-like as his alter ego. The commentary is a miscellaneous selection of edited interviews from various members of the cast and crew. There's also Ah-Ha's "Living Daylights" video, and a "making-of" featurette about it. A brief deleted scene (comic relief--wisely dropped) and trailers complete another strong package. --Mark Walker [show more]
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Timothy Dalton plays James Bond for the first time, leaving behind the high camp of the Roger Moore years for a relatively straight reading of the famous secret agent. The action this time sees Bond running around various exotic spots (Gibraltar, Afghanistan) in pursuit of a couple of seedy dealers in arms, drugs and diamonds. There is as much action and gadgetry as ever, but a slightly less tongue-in-cheek script keeps 007's romantic liaisons down to a minimum. Caroline Bliss makes her debut as Miss Moneypenny.