By Jesse Godfrey
Everyone knows James Bond, the British Secret Agent, codename 007, with a Licence to Kill, well he returns in the film of the same name, “Licence to Kill”. Timothy Dalton is the fourth actor to play James Bond, with predecessors Sean Connery (1962-1967, 1971), George Lazenby (1969) Roger Moore (1973-1985), and successors Pierce Brosnan (1995-2002) and Daniel Craig (2006-2015).
Licence to Kill was made in 1989, and is the fifth James Bond film directed by John Glen, and the second and final Bond film that Timothy Dalton appears in. The plot of this film, is MI6 Agent James Bond 007 (Timothy Dalton) going out on a “personal vendetta”, after being suspended by MI6, as he swears revenge on drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi), after Sanchex attacked Bond’s best friend and DEA Agent, Felix Leiter (David Hedison) and raped and killed Leiter’s wife Della Churchill (Priscilla Barnes) while on their honeymoon.
DEA agents follow James Bond, (Timothy Dalton) Felix Leiter (David Hedison) and Sharkey (Frank McRae) who are on their way to Leiter’s wedding. The DEA agents warn Felix that drug lord, Franz Sanchez is nearby, in the Bahamas, and they ask Felix to help capture him, and Bond also goes along to help, leaving Sharkey to tell Della (Priscilla Barnes) that Felix will be a little late for the wedding.
Leiter and Bond end up capturing Sanchez (Robert Davi), and pull Sanchez’s plane away with a Coast Guard helicopter. Following that, Bond and Leiter parachute down just in time for the wedding. (Bond is Leiter’s best man).
The DEA and security then take Sanchez away in the back of a truck, with DEA agent, Ed Killifer (Everett McGill) bribed $2 million by Sanchez to help him escape. Sanchez’s henchmen Dario (Benicio del Toro), and his team go to Leiter’s house, in where they take Felix to an aquarium warehouse owned by Sanchez’s friend Milton Krest (Anthony Zerbe) , while Della stays at the house and is raped and then shot dead by Dario’s team.
Sanchez is at the warehouse, where they have Felix tied up, and Sanchez has Felix lowered into a tank with a great white shark, which bites Felix’s leg off and maims him. Felix also finds out that Killifer helped Sanchez, as he is there witnessing the attack and Killifer says “Sorry old buddy, but 2 mill is a hell of a chunk of do”.
Later, Bond hears of Sanchez’s escape, he heads back to Felix and Della’s house, and finds Della dead, and Felix alive, just. One of the DEA agents calls looking for Leiter, but being unconscious, Bond answers the phone and asks for an ambulance.
Felix is then taken to hospital in intensive care, with Bond and Sharkey there, and a DEA agent. The DEA agent tells Bond that Sanchez has all of Leiter’s files and Sanchez has vanished, and also that they can’t help Leiter because Sanchez is out of the DEA’s jurisdiction.
Bond and Sharkey, leave the hospital, and Bond along with Sharkey, decide to start their own investigation. Bond and Sharkey discover the aquarium warehouse run by Milton Krest (Zerbe), where Sanchez has hidden a submarine for smuggling and also cocaine.
Bond then comes across Killifer, the DEA agent who betrayed Felix, is ready to drop him into the tank with the great white shark (the same one that maimead Felix Leiter). But Killifer is stopped by Sharkey, and Bond strikes Killifer over the shark tank, Killifer offers Bond half the $2million in the suitcase that Sanchez bribed him, but Bond refuses and chucks the suitcase to Killifer which causes him to drop into the tank with the shark, which kills him leaving the money floating around in the water.
The morning after, the DEA agent speaks to Bond, and takes him to see M (Robert Brown) at Key West’s Hemingway House. M orders Bond to an assignment in Istanbul, Turkey, but Bond refuses and says he hasn’t finished his investigation and feels he owes his life to Leiter. Bond then resigns, but M instead suspends him and revokes him of his “Licence to Kill”. Bond then escapes from M and now becomes a rogue agent, with no help from MI6 following his suspension.
Bond then sneaks onboard the Wavekrest (a ship owned by Milton Krest), and takes Sanchez’s latest drug supplies, and also steals $5 million, and also finds out that Sharkey has been killed by Krest’s henchmen. Bond goes back to Leiter’s house finding that Leiter has a meeting with ex-CIA agent and army pilot Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell) in 2 days time.
Bond meets up with Bouvier and saves her from Dario and his team. They then travel to Isthmus City to track down Sanchez. On arrival to Isthmus City, Bond is met by Q (Desmond Llewelyn). Bond then poses as an assassin looking for work, when he meets Sanchez. Bond introduces himself saying the famous “Bond, James Bond”, where Colonel Heller (Don Stroud) asks him to sit down.
Q supplies Bond with a signature camera gun, (M is unaware that Q is unofficially helping Bond) to help him assassinate Sanchez. Bond is all ready to fire, until he is stopped by ninjas, who work for the Hong Kong Narcotics, and they take him to an abandoned warehouse. Fallon (Christopher Neame) meets them there, as Kwang (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) wants to know who Bond is, and why he has a signature gun. Fallon informs them that he is James Bond who is a rogue agent and Fallon (who is an MI6 agent sent by M to bring him back dead or alive) asks Bond how he got the gun.
Fallon is ready to sedate Bond and send him back to London, until Sanchez and his men arrive and rescue Bond. Sanchez believes that Kwang was the one who tried to assassinate him. Sanchez then takes Bond back to his place. Sanchez’s girlfriend Lupe Lamora (Talisa Soto) informs Bond that Krest’s boat is arriving in Isthmus City later that night, and Bond, with the help of Bouvier and Q, frame Krest by storing the $5 million that Bond stole, in a hyperbaric chamber on Krest’s boat, the Wavekrest.
When Sanchez learns of this, he is furious with Krest and locks him in the chamber and decompresses a tube connected to the chamber with an axe, which blows up Krest, killing him. Sanchez pays Bond for helping him, welcomes him into his inner circle and takes him to his distribution centre.
Dario recognises Bond as an informer, and tells Sanchez. Sanchez has Bond tied up and put into a conveyer. Luckily for Bond, Bouvier arrives just in time, shooting Dario, and allowing Bond to pull Dario into the conveyer, killing him.
Sanchez escapes the distribution centre, taking four tankers full of cocaine and petrol mixture. Bond and Bouvier pursue Sanchez by plane, and in the desert, Bond manages to kill many of Sanchez’s other henchmen and destroy three of the four tankers. Sanchez, covered with the cocaine and petrol, tries to kill Bond with a machete on the last tanker, as it rolls down a hill, but Bond takes out a cigarette lighter (that Della and Felix gave him) and sets Sanchez on fire, who stumbles into the last tanker, which explodes and kills him.
In the final part of the movie, they have a party at Sanchez’s old place, with Lamora, Bouvier, Q and President Lopez (Pedro Armendariz Jr). Felix, still in hospital calls Bond, and tells him that M is offering him his job back.
Bond and Lamora kiss, but Bond notices an upset Bouvier who runs away down the stairs, Bond goes after Bouvier by jumping off and into a pool, pulling Bouvier in. President Lopez and Lupe end up together and Bond ends up with Bouvier in the end.
Timothy Dalton gives a great portrayal of James Bond. He has been said by many to be the closest to the portrayal that author Ian Fleming created. Dalton gives a hard edged, darker tone, and he reminds me a lot of the recent James Bond actor, Daniel Craig, who has the same approach to the role. Carey Lowell and Talisa Soto are some of the most memorable Bond girls of all time, and are up there with some of the best. Robert Davi does a great job as villain Franz Sanchez, and he does look every bit menacing, and a big threat to Bond. David Hedison in my opinion is the best actor to play Felix Leiter to date, and is only one of 2 to play him twice (the other was Jeffrey Wright in Casino Royale & Quantum of Solace with Daniel Craig), after previously playing Leiter in 1973’s Live and Let Die with the previous James Bond actor ,Roger Moore.
Sadly, this was Timothy Dalton’s final appearance as James Bond, after deciding not to return to the role following the six year wait. Pierce Brosnan was picked as Dalton’s successor, in the following film, Goldeneye.