Licence to Kill (1989) - Action, Adventure, Thriller

Hohum Score



After capturing a drug lord, Felix Leiter is left for dead and his wife is murdered. James Bond goes rogue and seeks vengeance on those responsible, as he infiltrates an organisation posing as a hitman.

IMDB: 6.6
Director: John Glen
Stars: Timothy Dalton, Robert Davi
Length: 133 Minutes
PG Rating: PG-13
Reviews: 39 out of 340 found boring (11.47%)

One-line Reviews (201)

Ian Fleming made Bond as a propaganda character hero to end the Cold War.

The biggest problem here is that the story and the villains are simply too common and too boring.

Only Robert Davi could have matched Dalton's intensity in this film and his he is compelling due to his fantastic charisma.

The entire movie features one memorable sequence after another from a brilliant opening sequence all the way to the edge-of-your-seat thrilling ending.

He was capable of intense hatred (witness Fleming's description of Bond when he first sees Blofeld's face in "You Only Live Twice").

Definitely one of the most underrated Bond movies, this engaging film is a great piece of entertainment, and one that I hope will gather praise with time.

The picture with a low-key intrigue contains sensational chases , silly set pieces, high adventure ,great stunts, ferocious action , amazing gimmicks and exciting images like are the happenings on the frantic boat pursuit , a midair brawl with breathtaking aerial scenes over the controls of an out-of-control aircraft , and unstopped action truck-races in the Mexican desert .

I have already spoken of the type of Bond that Dalton portrayed and his intense and brooding performance is one of the best performances by any Bond actor.

Another Thrilling Dalton Film that is a Refreshing Change of Pace .

He's a depressing, dark bore.

However; while this potentially might have made for an intriguing development to see Commander Bond turning rogue agent it unfortunately comes as the expense of a plot of some substance.

Nasty and Boring .

Blacks are more deep gray, whites are either blooming or dull and age related artifacts are quite obvious throughout – much more so than expected for a film of this vintage.

ItsLicence To Kill lacks excitement, plus it can be very slow at times and misses the fun factor present in other bond films.

Beyond a rousing interpretation of the James Bond Theme, his music is hardly interesting and it lacks any of the substance that John Barry or even David Arnold brought to the series, while the stingers and Chinese narcotics agents subplots seem too tacked-on and only pad out and complicate a script that should have been 5-10 minutes shorter.

This Bond film is much more entertaining than other Bond films and includes some notable actors.

The movie itself is thrilling.

I'm amazed that audiences seem to prefer the bland Brosnan efforts to this.

Dalton's previous outing, The Living Daylights was a fairly straightforward Bond movie, but the great thing about Licence to Kill is that it is so unpredictable.

The finale, in which Bond is unmasked and a hugely thrilling chase with drug-filled petroleum tankers ensues, is possibly the best of any 007 film in the last dozen years -- it certainly knocks GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies into a cocked hat.

James' old CIA pal Felix Leiter is attacked and his new wife is killed, and Bond launches the oh-so-predictable quit the service and have a revenge mission.

The action is pointless and boring.

Bond also romances Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell), a BLAND Bond girl.

Dark, realistic, vicious and compelling Bond film, one of the best in the series.

It's a pretty entertaining Bond film overall.

LTK took the high road and avoided that altogether, and wound up being quite an entertaining film.

Bond quits, has his 'licence to kill' revoked, and begins a long mission of vengeance, aided only by CIA operative Pam Bouvier (breathtaking future "Law and Order" star, Carey Lowell), and ever-loyal 'Q' (Desmond Llewelyn, in the finest performance of his long 'Bond' career).

This really is a case of less would have been more, and had they dispensed with the lame jokes, every part of Q's contribution and the tedious villain-hideout-that-goes-boom ending, it would most likely have been a much better film.

Brutal, Bloody, and with Considerable Concern for Realism (except perhaps for the thrilling chase climax), it is a Bond for those that had Their Fill of Fluff from the Roger Moore Movies.

The lasting benefit is the return to thrilling, action-packed adventures that transformed James Bond from literary hero to cultural legend.

Riveting and fancy main titles by habitual Maurice Binder .

The plot is complex and the action is entertaining.

A shame, because this is one of the best Bond films - pacy, exciting, with a tense atmosphere unusual for a film of this series - and a stunning oil-tanker chase at the climax.

The film opens with an enjoyable, if unspectacular, scene where drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) is captured by Bond and his friend, Felix Leiter.

They expect to see something stylish, entertaining and above all just plain old *fun*.

It's one of he most violent Bonds I have seen yet, it dosen't hold back like the films proceeding it did quite regularly, and the finale is absolutely outstanding, it's very intense and it left my mind blown, incredible film making.

Kamen does a great job of getting across the tension in many scenes and many of the action sequences seem grander as a result, while he also does fine job at providing some slower pieces.

The exotic locations are stunning to look at and the energetic score flows exceptionally well.

This is a genuinely thrilling film that kept me awake thinking about it - unheard of for a Bond flick.

This is the sort of stuff that the Bond people do so well, especially when they can give it an unexpected twist.

If it's not witty, it's pointless If it's not pure fun, it's pointless aswell.

Unlike Connery and Moore, Dalton gave Bond's character more emotions and realism; this is evident in the scenes where 007 cries over the lifeless body his friend's wife, and him showing anger and confusion when he was stripped of his license to kill.

This really is a case of less would have been more, and had they dispensed with the lame jokes, every part of Q's contribution and the tedious villain-hideout-that-goes-boom ending, it would most likely have been a much better film.

Okay the tanker chase at the end is edge of your seat stuff but the majority of the film is too deep and slow.

The antagonist Sanchez was fine, but again slightly bland.

Rather like the "Carry on" series,James Bond movies started with a short,sharp well-written and entertaining episode that caught the public imagination then gradually degenerated to the bloated,self-satisfied,auto-pilot jobs with Podgy Rog not far off sixty before he was finally pensioned off.

And best of all, the film is driven by a sharp, intense revenge plot.

I always loved Robert Davi as Commander Acastus Kolya in "Stargate Atlantis", perhaps that franchise's best human villain, and I'm glad to say that he gives a magnificent performance as Franz Sanchez, a fascinating character with a twisted sense of honour and code of ethics.

Do not get me wrong, this is still one of the stronger Bond films and is ridiculously entertaining.

Sanchez played by Robert Davi is probably one of the most intriguing Bond villain's since Francisco Scramanga.

Lots of exciting action and stunts, with a far more graphic edge to the violence, which raises the dramatic stakes.

Wilson eliminated some of the very elements that have contributed to the longevity of the series—namely, the biting humor, fascinating locations, and a grandiose scheme perpetrated by a fantasy villain… "Licence to Kill" was almost a claustrophobic Bond considering its limited and uninteresting trips to Key West and Isthmus City…Dalton—who is once again serious and on target—should have been lightened up a bit… Audiences who spend two or more hours with Bond need to laugh once in a while… Thankfully, Q, awarded the biggest role of his film career (following a tip-off from an anxious Moneypenny), was on hand to provide some crucial comic relief… The story was a brave departure from anything previously ventured: shortly after acting as best man at the wedding of Felix Leiter, Bond discovers that Leiter's bride has been murdered and that his friend has been savaged by a shark… With grim determination, 007 launches a personal vendetta against Frank Sanchez, the sadistic drug baron responsible; his obsession sees him stripped of his license to kill by a furious M (Robert Brown).

The action set pieces were exciting and entertaining albeit a tad unrealistic, particularly balancing and driving a tanker on one side of tyres.

Underrated Bond - worth watching [MINOR PLOT SPOILERS] .

The film score is poor, with the exception of the Bond theme and the songs, the rest is boring.

Composer / conductor Michael Kamen gives us a grandiose, rousing score.

That is its renegade darkness, its fearless exploration of more intense scenes of violence, its use of black and deep red in the costumes, sets, and cinematography, the chance the series took to be like other action movies instead of being isolated a James Bond film.

The Bond girls are as stunning as ever.

The opening may seem a little light compared to the rest of the film, but it is still entertaining.

There's chasing on the water, in the air and, in the climax, on some narrow roads, where we we see some unlikely stunts using tanker trucks - but this is when we're reminded it is a Bond thriller, after all; most of these are exciting and spectacular.

It takes place in Florida, deals with ruthless drug pushers and drugs, and some some exciting sequences involving cigaratte boats.

My Take: Although darker than the previous adventures, this 2nd effort from Timothy Dalton is strong, exciting and well executed.

The final truck/tanker chase scene is a bit confusing as the tankers are all identical.

The plot is also very predictable and slapdash, while the direction and other acting are nothing great.

That said, Dalton's bond portrays a need for vengeance that is almost stoic emotionally; he is chaste, but abruptly makes sexual connections later in the movie that seem forced and contrived.

When I first saw "License to Kill," I agreed with those who criticized it for being overly violent, for its lack of the campy-lightheartedness associated with the series, and for Timothy Dalton's overly serious and intense approach to playing James Bond.

Like far too many movies it devolves into painfully boring set pieces.

The other is the "dragged behind a speedboat over the reef" scene in "For Your Eyes Only.

Wilson and Richard Maibaum's story is engaging and exciting, with a steadfast confidence in their leading man.

After Moore, it's Glen's turn to get on stage, with successive dull projects publishing out and about, he is quite the competitor now.

We get a villain who is both a mental and physical threat, whilst having an unpredictable edge that makes him always a threat.

It is gritty, edgy and cruel, an unexpected change to the "Bond formula" to which audiences had grown accustomed.

Perhaps Dalton's portrayal of Bond was too close to the books and perhaps the Bond of the books would never quite work on screen, but if you remove this film from the context of the series it's totally engrossing and satisfying and you'd want a sequel.

The extremely bland title song.

Skeptics might keep in mind that Bond movies blend formulaic elements of fantasy with a realism that is appropriate to the theme of international intrigue, the backdrop for all the films in the series.

Michael Kamen writes a rousing score and Gladys Knight sings a wonderfully soulful title song.

A More Violent and Intense Bond for the 80's, .

The main complaint is that his Bond is humourless, or even bland.

Casting Tim Dalton, a wonderful Shakespearian actor, to replace the aged and rather dull Roger Moore, was one of the bravest and best things the the Bond producers ever did.

There are, however, two things that save this failure from being the worst movie in the series: the cruel, satisfying villain and the spectacular explosions.

Enjoyable title song and stirring musical score fitting to action by Michael Kamen , in similar style to classic John Barry .

As I said before, the truck finale is perhaps a bit long, even though the stunt work is amazing, but it does slow the pace a bit.

The stunts are the best thing about Licence to Kill, as the director constantly succeeds at delivering memorable and exciting action scenes, the best of which is saved until the end.

The film will appeal to James Bond series's buffs but good for fans only ; because this one goes on far too long .

The movie is a little too eager to embrace the language and conventions of American actions thrillers, including the level of violence and so perhaps it lacks the balance of hard-edge and secret service theatrics that made the previous film so enjoyable.

Not at all as dark as the other reviewers make it out to be, it is in fact a very enjoyable flick.

I think not), and the Bond gadgets (namely a gun/camera) are unoriginal and boring.

In License to Kill, Dalton gets it right with a subdued performance that is far more compelling than Roger Moore in a majority of his films.

Although it might be strange, I find this movie the most enjoyable of the non-Sean Connery Bond movies.

Riveting .

Maybe the movie was made to complete a contract to make so many movies rather than some desire to be entertaining.

It's a very entertaining Bond film, and one I recommend without hesitation7.8/10

He's brainy and classy, fallible and driven, intense and tough, always sexy and always dangerous.

He's an ordinary man fighting cliché villains for a cliché reason (he's been pushed too far?

Anthony Zerbe plays a great slime ball, Everett McGill is effectively odious as a corrupt DEA agent, Frank McRae is engaging as Sharkey (who also helps Bond out in the early going), lovely Priscilla Barnes is fine as Leiters' sweet bride Della, and Benicio Del Toro is wonderfully creepy in one of his earliest film roles.

) Instead, I walked out of the theater and promptly bought a ticket for the next showing.

The latter it isn't, because it strays too much from the style of the series, but it is a great action film and film because it's got the best action hero in it, the direction and editing are taut, the set-pieces stunning (and believable) - including arguably the finest action sequence in any Bond film when 007 escapes from Krest's yacht to the sea-plane - and the acting spot-on.

Score: Michael Kamen provides a more intense score filled with energy.

Since it relies on strategy rather than uninteresting combat, the sequence is far superior to, while being much shorter than, the climax of "Thunderball.

Timothy Dalton gave the most intense performance of any Bond actor until maybe Daniel Craig.

And in the end he winds up simply back in the British secret service as if nothing happened.

It's great to see Bond operating on his own terms against a different type of villain, whilst because of what takes place this is a much more personal and emotional film which only makes it more engaging.

The are some truly breathtaking scenes.

The Living Daylights was an excellent Bond thriller, more in line with Dr No and From Russia With Love in tone and style, but with Licence To Kill you can tell that Broccoli decided to compete with the big boys with this action packed spectacular that aims high and scores.

Past Bond films had Russian secret agents, great train rides, a Bond girl painted gold, a volcano as a secret lair, thrilling ski chases, a diamond studded satellite that shoots laser beams, and an awesome space station.

While he's often branded forgettable or insignificant in the Bond franchise, Timothy Dalton, while not a conventional bond portrayal (right of centre in the very early Connery mould) delivered two very watchable instalments, "Licence to Kill" being an entertaining romp with attractive ladies and the usual motifs and villains.

The action scenes are thrilling, especially with the gasoline trucks at the end.

It's action packed from start to finish.

Cries of "James Bond would never quit his job" were heard the world over, ringing around thousands of empty cinemas.

This was an exciting movie, and an overall good addition to the series.

By the time of this movie, Bond films turned into unpleasant and boring films starring a wooden actor in the role, Timothy Dalton.

The climax is as exciting as you could want as Bond pursues Sanchez via trucks holding tankers, with fights at break- neck speeds and explosions aplenty.

The film features some excellent stunts, including an exciting truck chase at the end.

Not the worst, but one of the worst movies in the James Bond saga 007.

However, because the picture consists of a few good scenes sewn together with long, uninteresting sequences, it doesn't really compare to the rest of the Bond films, which employed nonstop action and snappy - rather than mournful dialogue.

The action is quick and furious, and Dalton is as intense a Bond as there has ever been.

Talking of gadgets, Q gets a meaty role for once, and the film is more enjoyable for it.

Since The Series Turned Into Something what Roger Moore did, the series have to get rid of those gadgets that was never in the novels, Roger Moore's portrayal was great and enjoyable But The Character was not very close , i am very loyal to the novels, so when Dalton came out everything changed , so his 2 movies were great especially this movie,this movie revolutionize the series from serious to goofy then serious, timothy Dalton was a great choice for the role intense,honest,brutal and less humor unlike Moore, this is the 1st bond film to be rated PG13 as it targeted the adults unlike the previous one aiming for kids, License to Kill was the 1st film to feature a villain that has no intentions to take over the world unlike stromberg and Drax with the most ridiculous plots, the previous films were very unrealistic turning bond into a super hero or a comic character, Dalton made it more like the novels what Ian Fleming wrote, The Casting Choices were great especially Robert Davi's Franz Sanchez, was the 1st villain i really like, his portrayal was great as a menacing kind hearted villain, Carey Lowell's Pam Bouvier was a great bond girl, a bond girl that doesn't need a help and she can take care of her own without bond, also David Hedison is back as Felix leiter probably my favorite actor for Felix, the story line was very unique of the series , w/c is about loyalty , the plot were bond must get his revenge for his friend Felix for killing his wife and getting eaten by a shark , and so bond must get Sanchez's trust to destroy Sanchez's by destroying each other, the plot was very great and unique unlike the old ones, License To Kill is one of the best bond movies , with great action sequences, good actor choices and revolutionized the series w/c we have now.

Worth watching late night, over the ab tonner commercials.

In these movies, you expect Bond to be an unrealistic spy whose cracks keep the movie fun, and thrilling throughout.

Licence to Kill is another decent entry for Dalton if slightly bland.

Given that; The Living Daylights was refreshing in that it was actually a fairly riveting if flawed action thriller with a story involving the defection of a former KGB officer which in turn is revealed to be a devious double cross involving an American arms dealer, Licence to Kill opts instead for a rather routine story of revenge which had become the staple of the 1980's.

On the plus side, LTK is an entertaining enough film; the ladies look great, Dalton is superb, and a young Benecio Del Toro gives a very solid performance as a detestable henchman.

The finale with the tankers manages to be exciting, fresh, interesting, and well-made, while providing an appropriate final confrontation with the villain.

And when anyone dares step over the line, the rage he unleashes is scarily intense.

This is an excellent Bond film, and well worth watching.

Roger Moore may not have been physically intimidating, but he always managed to bring style and fun to the proceedings, and the audiences clearly enjoyed it for a decade because Moore would not have lasted as long as he did in the part if the audiences didn't think they were having a good time, even when things got too out of hand in "Moonraker.

Licence to Yawn .

, with some great action scenes, good acting all round and an intriguing central character played excellently by Dalton.

The lone exception is The Spy Who Loved Me, where his wit and the slapstick humor finally meshed perfectly with the exciting action.

License to Kill, despite the fact that it has a non MI6 plot, is an exciting thrill ride.

Entertaining, thrilling and very underrated .

Dalton's performance is stunning, reflecting Ian Fleming's original Bond figure with a suffering and passionate character instead of a playboy just repeating funny dialogues.

Although a failure at the box office, the film is well worth watching.

This films mixes together exciting action set pieces, a very good cast, a top notch script and two beautiful Bond women.

He is definitely one of the best and far more intriguing than that boring Brosnan.

One of them I was bored by ("GoldenEye"), one I couldn't get into until over an hour through it ("For Your Eyes Only") and then I enjoyed it.

It still is very entertaining like Bond movies always.

The stunts are exciting especially the truck chase at the film's climax with director John Glen doing another efficient job at the helm.

Dull throughout, there were at least some good action scenes in the compound of the religion facade to the drug operation that were worth seeing.

This one has nonstop action but it's rather tedious, as there is little that is compelling about the narrative flow.

This time the action sequences are more intense which I like and Dalton is more ruthless in his hunt for the bad guy.

The film, although fast paced, does make time to slow things down and develop the more serious or emotional moments.

The film starts slow and sets things up well, before moving along at a perfect speed and you're gripped by the time everything is in full flow.

The quitting of the secret service for a contrived personal revenge was the only weak point in a brilliantly written film.

Bond's "Yojimbo"-style takedown of Sanchez's enterprise is too contrived, with people that would recognize him unaccountably out of action when Bond arrives at Sanchez's casino.

From it's real life scenario opening credits, to Bond chasing his adversary all throughout Florida to Mexico, to the grand finale in the drug-import factory, where the film concludes in a wild, exciting, and explosive tanker chase shootout.

Anyway, aside from the boring, terrible ending, this would be pretty okay.

" Of course, the titles had long since become the ONLY connection between Fleming's original stories and the movies -- the film plots and Roger Moore's portrayal bore almost no resemblance to Fleming's Bond.

"Licence To Kill" shows that starting to happen, and for Fleming fans like myself, that's exciting to see.

Lowell does fine work in the role and keeps it away from being a token interest cliché.

But equally fascinating somehow.

That's the same schtick as the "unnecessarily slow dipping mechanism" gag in Austin Powers, except it was a joke in Austin Powers!

The grandeur of Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice is dumped in favour of some worthy but dull sermon on drug barons in Latin America.

It's brimming with colorful and fascinating cinematography by cameraman Alec Mils.

Licence To Kill is an enjoyable Bond film, although it's not quite as good as 'The Living Daylights'.

The action, particularly the tanker truck climax, is exciting.

This has elements of a good film, but is marred with poor casting in the key role of the villain, again, and a bland love interest.

Imagine a post-Connery Bond that is actually thrilling!

It's compelling from beginning to end, despite a few dry spots.

Of course this all leads to a grand confrontation between Bond and Sanchez as well as an exciting finale.

A fun and enjoyable film from beginning to end, and the perfect Bond movie for fans who want to get away from the corny and over the top Bond films of the past.

The other is the "dragged behind a speedboat over the reef" scene in "For Your Eyes Only.

That element may be lacking somewhat in "Licence to Kill" but it remains, if not quintessential Bond, then still a riveting and intelligent action thriller.

Robert Davi is the most intriguing Bond villain since Adolfo Celi's Largo in Thunderball.

John Glen was the unsung hero of 80s action - he managed to make Octopussy and A View to a Kill enjoyable despite confused plots which could have been abysmal in anybody else's hands - and with Licence to Kill he was given material that he could mould into something special.

Despite it's flaws, I still find it more engaging than other bond films - especially some of the earlier ones such as From Russia with Love (a drawn out unengaging bond that seemed to end half way through) and Live and Let Die (Yawn).

Plus Dalton's striking as the vengeful protagonist and, if you can hang around for the final act, it's pretty exciting.

Rating : 6 , well worth watching .

I personally enjoyed it.

We'll never know what he would have done with his third Bond but given the direction Brosnan's efforts have taken the series- wall to wall action, no plot, one dimensional characters, merciless product placement, self-parody - one half of him must wonder why so many more people preferred brain dead fodder like Die Another Day, while the other half laughs like buggery at the gap in quality between the two epochs in the series' history.

This is the logical extreme of Dalton's take on the character - very hard, very unpleasant, very cruel but often very enjoyable.

There is real buildup in the way that Bond pursues his man and pulls apart the evil organization in the process, far better than the formulaic 'sudden victory at the end' style which has haunted cinema from the past to the present.

Robert Davi makes a truly brilliant and unique villain, Carey Lowell does a great job and the action is as entertaining as always with a vicious twist.

Licence to Kill has some thrilling moments so there's no fear of getting bored while watching this movie.

Bond later also gets an unexpected visit from Q (Desmond Llewelyn, getting more screen time), sent by Miss Moneypenny (Caroline Bliss) to provide him with some helpful gadgets.

The once intriguing revenge story gets a little tiresome.

The main villain is a drug lord, whom the British secret service says Bond shouldn't waste his time on, despite everything.

And as for Carey Lowell, although she's placed in the role of a tough as nails CIA operative, Lowell's performance is equally bland.

This movie is full of thrilling non-stop action, and villains you would love to hate and root against, most notably, Franz Sanchez.

Both depended upon a subtle balance between genuinely exciting plots and tongue-in-cheek humour.

The story,it is simple,but very suspenseful and personal,Bond isn't off fighting some businessman in a volcano lair,he's fighting a drug dealer who killed his best friend.

I thought getting to see Bond as a normal person (so to speak) was very entertaining and it was made even better that he had a great villain to go up against.

Despite being a unique film the supporting cast and action sequences make it extremely enjoyable and brings a lot of action that was somewhat absent in the Moore years.

It's a solid entry and Dalton gives a fantastic performance, just some of the characters and scenes are bland and forgettable.

The stunt sequences were actually quite entertaining and didn't feel like set pieces between dialogue.

Despite this however, I believe LICENCE TO KILL so completely overshadows the static and dreary THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS that it stands on its own as one of the Bond greats.

" Of course, the titles had long since become the ONLY connection between Fleming's original stories and the movies -- the film plots and Roger Moore's portrayal bore almost no resemblance to Fleming's Bond.

The finale, in which Bond and Sanchez face off while tearing down a mountainside in a fleet of tankers, is one of the most tense and most enjoyable final reels in the series.

As much of a cliché as it is, they're mirror images, and the film is made all the more interesting by the excellent rapport they have.

In case anyone has been confused in my other reviews about what I mean when I say "realistic" and "intense" action that is up to Bond standards, I mean the mountain climbing scene in "For Your Eyes Only," and the fight on the cargo plane in "The Living Daylights.

A thrilling underwater fight precedes a classic stunt where Bond water skis on his bare feet and then hijacks a plane in mid-air, ruining one of Sanchez's drug deals.

The editing is bland.

"In my business you prepare for the unexpected.

At the time, I was very impressed with this movie, and still find it enjoyable to watch though it hasn't aged well.

Licence to Kill presents a gripping return to the darker, human stature of Fleming's Bond.

An intense, mannered actor who deliberately underplays the role, this is often interpreted as woodenness by many.

The tanker truck chase finale that ends Licence To Kill is one of the most complex and thrilling chase sequences in the entire Bond series, which is really saying something.

The two halves just didn't marinate well with me, the subtlety and realism of the first half was diminished by the formulaic and explosive second half.

Dalton has the skill of conveying intense emotions while still retaining a largely expressionless visage.

) and still quite feminine when upset at her man also shares a bed with the stunning, mouth-watering Talisa Soto, the squeeze the main villain covets), and he gets a chance to go underwater in a frogman suit numerous times and there is a shark that gets to feed on humans (both good and evil).