Saturday, 3 March 2012

Carry Bond up the Khyber Pass

The Living Daylights sees Timothy Dalton debut as Bond. It also sees a Dutchman playing a Russian and lots of cellos.

We've been yearning for a younger, more able and less cheesy Bond. Dalton delivers this and does his own stunts but you get the feeling he thinks he's too good for it. It's almost like he's trying out for a stage role with some positively Pinter-esque pauses and long stares into the foreground. This from a man who wore green tights in Flash Gordon. At least he's ditched the cigars and is back on the fags.

Bond's first action is a T.A. jolly to Gibraltar which is suspiciously populated by extras from Bergerac and dubious tourists. 004 bites the bullet and Bond is off to get to the bottom of Smiert Spionam in a flurry of paintballs. A parachuted escape out of a Land Rover and we're into a-Ha giving Duran Duran a run for their money.  Bond is then drafted to aid in the defection of a Russian general, Koskov. Amidst exploding milk bottles, trips to Tangiers and a pool party we're dropped into the most non-sensical plot since Octopussy.

A deleted scene from Bergerac 

Koskov wasn't really defecting you see, it was an elaborate plot to get the Brits onside so he could screw over his boss, Pushkin, so he could get away with using some money to buy drugs, turn a profit and then buy the guns he was supposed to. I'm sorry but a Bond villain is supposed to want to take over the world not make a few quid on the side much to Mother Russia's chagrin. Somewhere in there Koskov buys some diamonds to use in his drug deal. Quite why is beyond me. This is a bit lame so far, chuck in some action please.

Oooh, a car chase on icy roads. Just an excuse to show off Q's added extras and Maryam d'Abo's interesting 'surprised' face. 'Salt corrosion', a shed and escape by cello, insert attempt at witty one liner.  At least Roger Moore was ridiculous, so far Dalton's just flat and his Bond girl is irritating (silly bint doesn't even know when she's flying into a mountain). Pierce Brosnan was lucky NBC saved him from this.

There's a rooftop chase after Bond fakes the shooting of a remarkably tall Gimli the Dwarf which fails to inspire after a quick flash of side boob. Whilst we appreciate a bit of seriousness being put back into Bond we still need a little bit of humour. This humour is not introduced by Art Malik and his odd Mujaheddin. In fact the funniest bit of the film is Dalton's reaction to the chloral hydrate in his martini.

Bond's final act of globetrotting then ends up with him in Afghanistan. Those pesky Russians are at it again with the local population whilst The Red Cross is practically everywhere. A fact that they were less than pleased about.

Jeroen Krabbe's attempt at worst baddie ever is cemented by the fact he doesn't even die. He gets arrested by Gimli and there's a vague allusion to execution.  Throughout the story he's been flouncing around in uniform without looking the least bit sinister.  He makes Kristatos from For Your Eyes Only look butch. At least his henchman goes out with a scream, I wonder if he ever let go of that boot?

The rushed ending could have been avoided too. There really wasn't any need to see Whittaker in his games room but then we did get a Twin Peaks episode out of it.

Sort yourself out for the next one please Timothy. I'm expecting vast quantities of cocaine and some faffing about with beach planes and petrol. I don't care if you do know a great restaurant in Karachi. Oh, and whose idea was Chrissie Hynde?