Juck’s Thoughts on License to Kill

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most recent. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. Let’s get started!Licence-To-Kill

License to Kill is Timothy Dalton’s second and final entry in the Bond series. I write this with great sadness, as I have greatly enjoyed Dalton as Bond. Dalton brought an energized magnetism to the character, a cold danger to the man who, for so long, lacked any kind of screen command.

License to Kill stands out from the get-go because it clearly establishes itself as a non-formulaic Bond movie. The film begins with Felix Leiter’s wedding. Of course, Bond is there too, celebrating and enjoying himself. At the same time, notorious criminal Sanchez escapes from custody via Inception and captures Felix. The rest of the movie follows an alternate course for Bond. Instead of trying to save the world from a grand scheme, Bond goes out to find Sanchez, a pleasant change of pace from the usual Bond.

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Dalton is still cold, though I won’t go into much detail about it because I don’t want to spoil his actions. There is genuine shock value in this movie that I wouldn’t want to deprive you of. Oh, and there is notably more blood in this installment than any Bond film prior.

Sanchez, the main villain of the film, is strikingly menacing. He walks around with a Goodfellas-esque confidence and sells it entirely. Strong villains seem to be a growing trend in Bond films as of late. I like it.LTK-Robert-Davi

I enjoyed watching Benicio del Toro as the goon because it was like watching a young Fenster from Usual Suspects. To say that that is the sole reason why I enjoyed watching him would be misleading. Benicio del Toro was not a clear-cut goon who was sent around to do dirty work. Instead, he seemed to be like a son to Sanchez, a dynamic that gives him depth that is not attributed to many Bond goons.
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Q shines in this movie, providing a warm screen presence as well as a delicate dose of humor. I feel that Q has always been a lovable character. His ceaseless scolding of Bond has always been a key component of the Bond films, and an enjoyable one at that. In License to Kill, however, Q is not reduced to a single humorous scene or two. Instead, he is a key character in the plot of this particular story. The fondness and loyalty that Q has for Bond is highlighted throughout the movie. The scene below is a fantastic representation of the spirit he contributes to License to Kill.

Bond’s other MI6 chum, Moneypenny, does not fare as well as Q, unfortunately. I have determined that the new Moneypenny is no good. The new actress just doesn’t fit the mold of the witty yet lovable secretary. I can’t tell if she’s supposed to be brainy or sexy or foolish. This Moneypenny is a bit jumbled, is all.

One thing that did fall flat in this film was the romance. Bond’s womanizing is forced. There is literally no buildup to the romance with either of the women. I don’t feel that this is the fault of Dalton, as he does a fine job on his end at appearing interested in the women he acts opposite to. Instead, I feel that it is the script that puts the romance in the backseat, as there is little opportunity to develop the motivations and the passions. This is surprising, as the Living Daylights featured one of the most natural relationships that Bond has had with a woman.

The film ends with one of the most inventive Bond chase sequences to date, which features massive explosions like I’ve never seen in a movie. The flat explosions from Transformers cannot hold a candle to those in License to Kill. I felt the heat of the fire and the shock waves of the explosions. I kid you not. And seeing a tanker truck drive like that was incredible to witness. 

Fullscreen capture 12042012 124237Timothy Dalton had an excellent run as Bond. I would have liked for him to have continued carrying the torch for a few movies more, but perhaps it is for the best that he didn’t work himself dry as did Sean Connery and Roger Moore. Of the four Bonds that have been put to screen as of this film, Dalton is my favorite. He will be missed. The next film in the series will introduce me to Pierce Brosnan, the Bond that I knew when I was growing up.

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on For Your Eyes Only

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most recent. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. The franchise has been around for over 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!

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This is series is called “Juck’s Thoughts on Bond,” yet I don’t have many thoughts to share. For Your Eyes Only failed to captivate me. The action was well done, the writing was fine, the sets were nice to look at, the score was alright, and the film was cohesive, but something was missing. I felt like For Your Eyes Only displayed Bond going through the motions. There was no passion to be felt, no spectacle. And there was hardly any spy-work to be done.

For Your Eyes Only was a grand action sequence that contained occasional breaks which served to advance the plot. Chase after chase, action scene after action scene, it was as if the brain of the Bond series was simply shut off for this installment. I certainly don’t hate it, as it has some positive qualities, but it made a very minimal impression on me. For Your Eyes Only is perhaps the most forgettable Bond film thus far into the franchise.

Instead of delving into my thoughts on this film, of which there are few, a simple shrug will suffice.

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most recent. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. The franchise has been around for 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!

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Please take a look at the man in the picture above. What do you see? I’ll tell you what I see. I see a man with an ass-chin. I’ll tell you what I do not see. I do not see James Bond. This man-no, this wooden board-was chosen to replace Sean Connery as 007. I will refer to him as ‘Wooden Board.’ I am doing him a favor by not mentioning his name because, if I were in his position, I would not want my name to be attached to the “performance” he delivered in this error of a film.

Wooden Board was neither charismatic nor interesting. He was not charming. He was not cool. He was not interesting. Instead, Wooden Board was just there. He may as well have been wearing a black morph suit. Or, better yet, he may as well have not been there at all. He had one single line that was funny, in which he mentions “a stiffness coming on.” That’s it. Wooden Board’s time as Bond peaked at that line.

The flaws of this film, of which there are many, stem from the directing. The cuts were unusual. Rather than looking natural and fluid, they were choppy and awkward. This poor camerawork yielded action sequences that appeared forced and ridiculous, almost cartoonish. I did not enjoy the action in this film in the slightest. As I have said, the botched cutting corrupted the experience entirely.

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I had a bad feeling about the film from the moment that the opening titles appeared. The opening song didn’t have a singer, which I found to be incredibly odd. Why fix what wasn’t broken? The arrival of Wooden Board as the next Bond did not call for such a seemingly pointless change.

Thus far into the series, the Bond films have retained campiness and corniness. This film pushes such campiness and converts it into ridiculousness. I found myself saying, “What?” on multiple occasions. There are a host of scenes and instances that are unbelievable, even for Bond. There is a montage in the film in which Bond frolics around a garden with a lady. By the end of the montage, Bond has bought a ring for her. Because of the choppy editing and sloppy cuts, I can’t be sure that that is what happened, so take my description of this montage with a grain of salt.

In the end, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is joyless and devoid of fun. The dialogue is boring, the action scenes were poor, and Bond was a wooden plank. This film felt its age and then some. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is my least favorite Bond thus far. If you have any interest in seeing this film to see how that one guy did as Bond, squash it. There is no payoff. There is no development of the Bond character. There is no substance. Let us all collectively erase this Bond installment from the pages of history and from the racks of retail stores.

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on You Only Live Twice

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most current. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. The franchise has been around for 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!

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You Only Live Twice starts with a hearty dose of intrigue. At the beginning of the movie, Bond dies. Of course, you know that the agent must be alive, but I was left scratching my head as to how he survived the attempt made on his life. If my memory serves me right, this instance would mark the second attempt to trick the audience into buying Bond’s death. The first instance, which was included in From Russia With Love, was a poor gimmick that was so campy I could roast marshmallows over it. This time around, however, the evasion of death was cool, albeit ridiculous.

The best thing about You Only Live Twice is that its events unfold at a fast pace. Because the plot was brisk, the direction of the story was unpredictable at times. A few minor twists and turns certainly helped the movie to remain fresh.

You Only Live Twice is undoubtedly the best-looking Bond film released thus far. Japan is living, the sets are beautiful, and the picture is clearer overall. It was a joy to watch this Bond movie because it was aesthetically pleasing. In addition, the action is intense and hilarious. Well done yet campy in many ways, I enjoyed the heck out of the fight scenes. Check out this scene, it’s a good time.

Bond does some solid spy work in this installment of the franchise, bringing us closer to modern Bond. In fact, You Only Live Twice is the most modern-feeling Bond film yet. Of course, the special effects are not up to par with what filmmakers can achieve today, but in terms of pacing and style, You Only Live Twice is pretty relevant. If I were to stumble across it while watching TV with no prior knowledge about its release year, I wouldn’t consider it to be as old as it is. (You Only Live Twice was released in 1967).

Alas, this movie has a dire shortcoming. When the film hits its halfway point, it assumes a campy, taking-oneself-too-seriously kind of tone. Things slow down and, before you know it, Bond is Japanese.

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Yes, this is Bond’s Japanese disguise. Ah, blatant racism. Remember the days when you were a staple of Street Fighter?

Anywho, despite some ridiculous moments , the movie is not absurd. It is easy to poke fun at, sure. But the absurdity doesn’t spoil the fun.

A moment that I am surprised does not live in Bond infamy is the staring contest between Blofeld and Bond when the count-down clock ticks down. The camera literally shows Bond staring at Blofled and Blofeld staring at Bond, back and forth, back and forth. 

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And so, while the movie feels new and stylish for its first half, its second half lags and throws the audience back to the campiness of the previous films. It is clear that there was lots of Austin Powers influence pulled from the second half of this movie. Regardless, You Only Live Twice is the first Bond film to put its foot in the door of modern Bond. It’s a good one.

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on From Russia with Love

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most current. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. These aren’t reviews, just thoughts. I encourage you to hop aboard. The James Bond film franchise is one of the largest out there. They’ve been around for 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!

From Russia with Love is the first Bond film where 007 gets a gadget! It’s nothing as crafty as a laser watch, but instead, a briefcase laced with weapons and tricks. It concealed money, a knife, and tear gas. So perhaps it wasn’t the most dynamic gadget, but it was a gadget no less.

Although Bond’s modern image is being built up piece by piece, it has admittedly been tainted, in my eyes. In this movie, Bond hit a woman. Yes, he straight up struck her across the face. She posed no physical harm to him. Bond struck her upon learning of her association with the enemy. I thought that Bond was a classy Englishman. It’s a thing that I didn’t except from this character.

This isn’t Bond’s only flub in the film. He allowed the enemy to remove something from his pocket, and, just as it did in Dr. No, the decision backfired. It nearly got him killed. Bond has been doing this job for a long time, and to see him make the same mistake twice tarnishes his image.

Perhaps these moments were put into the movie to remind the audience that Bond isn’t Superman, or a flawless character.

My last issue with Bond himself was that he was difficult to take seriously. Where in the first him he was a suave, relaxed, respectable guy, he comes across this time around as a clown. One-liners are tossed out left and right, so frequently that they lose their humorous quality halfway through the film. 

I truly hope that Goldmember has less of this cheesiness, as I would prefer Bond to be taken more seriously.

The bad guy was ridiculous. His name is Number 1, the audience isn’t shown his face, and he strokes a cat. To make it even worse, a repulsive woman takes the wheel as the head goon tasked with killing Bond. She was nasty and not the least bit intimidating, clearly the inspiration for Austin Powers’ Frau. 

Unfortunately, I saw more Austin Powers in ‘From Russia with Love’ than I did Bond.

Not much is achieved in From Russia with Love. This film builds a bit on the character of Bond, but the bad guy isn’t defeated, no major plot is foiled, and there wasn’t much intrigue this time around. I am aware of the fact that Bond films, especially in their earlier years, are known for being campy. I’ll just have to take what I can get. Until the next one!

~Juck

Are Russian women the most attractive people on the planet or what? Like, actual Russian women, not that hag above. Agree with me in the comments below.

 

Juck’s Thoughts on Dr. No

So I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most current. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. These aren’t reviews, just thoughts. I encourage you to hop aboard. The James Bond film franchise is one of the largest out there. They’ve been around for 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started! Dr. No was an interesting film in the sense that it established James Bond’s image, which still remains intact today.

In this film, Bond receives his iconic Walther PPK,

he remarks that his vodka martini mustn’t be shaken,

he drops the still-famous “Bond…James Bond,”

and he womanizes. A lot.

There are certainly many more staples to be tacked onto the Bond series, and I imagine that they will be coming up in nearing installments, but these inseparable qualities were introduced in Dr. No.

What I find especially interesting is that, in this film, Bond plays detective more than he plays spy. He’s a lot like 24’s Jack Bauer, piecing together clues and following leads. Also, his only piece of equipment was his Walther PPK. No spy gadgets or anything of that sort were present in Dr. No.

Notably, this movie contains the most badass spider kill ever put to screen. Granted, I don’t recall a spider kill in any other film, unless you count the Hobbit, or maybe Harry Potter. Regardless, it was badass. Dr. No, the villain, was an intimidating character, though I feel that he should have been given more screen time. He had robotic hands that were extremely powerful, and seeing him do some more with those would have been well appreciated. It was during the last 20 minutes of the film that flashes of Austin Powers entered my mind. A goon repeating the countdown of a rocket launch threw me back to Frau and her ridiculous hair.

Over all, watching how Bond started was an intriguing experience. I look forward to the next movie. ~Juck

Tell me of the biggest spider scare that you have experienced. I am genuinely interested. I’ve had a few disturbing run-ins myself.