It's nice to know that even if the movie should suck, there's always something to cheer you up (if you're a heterosexual male/homosexual female, that is. Otherwise, Timothy Dalton is a total babe).
* The Miami Vice villain who's stumbled into this Bond movie, Franz Sanchez, captures Bond's buddy Felix Leiter, and makes shark food out of him as a thank-you for busting up his drug operation.
007 later arrives, and finds Leiter's dead wife and Leiter himself - eaten, but somehow alive. Bond gets all serious and swears revenge... heyyy, wait a minute! Drug baron? Revenge? Isn't this Chuck Norris territory? I'm thinking maybe Steven Seagal, as James Bond decides to go rogue and punches out some MI6 people who try to stop him.
Oh, and the MI6 dudes return the favor by shooting at Bond! I didn't know that this was standard practice at MI6 - what if they actually hit him? "Yeah, see, he punched us, so I thought it was OK to kill the highest-ranking agent we have. After all, he said something about murdering a drug lord out of revenge, and we can't have that, now can we?"
* This whole vengeance thing has turned LtK very American, somehow. There's even a ridiculous, Western-style bar fight in it. All that's missing, is the cowboy hats (Maybe there are cowboy hats, I dunno - I'm too busy being annoyed to pay attention).
Carey Lowell, the other Bond girl in this installment, is also more worthy of attention than the stupid fight. Soto + Lowell might be the most attractive pair of Bondettes in the entire series. Enough eye candy to give your retinas diabetes.
* Following that whole direct-to-video, Chuck Norris vibe, LtK has tons of stupidity to go with the good action elements.
- There's waterskiing behind an aeroplane! But there's also a harpoon fight, where the bad guy grabs hold of Bond and cuts the line to his oxygen tank. Hey, mr. Henchman! If you're close enough to do that with your knife... why not try the throat instead!?
- There's a camera gun! But it's never used as a camera, making the presentation of the whole gadget completely useless. Might as well have a gun shaped as a gun, then!
- There are friggin' ninjas again! Who turn out to be Hong Kong narcotics agents! Whose leader later kills himself with a cyanide capsule rather than spill his guts to Sanchez! What!? Cyanide capsules on narcotics agents? Does the DEA give out the same to their agents?
- My favorite is when 007 complains that Sanchez is too hard to kill where he sits behind his fortified glass window - "I need a cannon to get to him!" Yeah, that, or you could go up the stairs and kill the two useless bodyguards who stand between you and the bad guy. I wonder who issued you that licence to kill in the first place, Bond.
At this point of time, I'm actually more amused than angry at the incompetence involved in coming up with this crap.
* Anyway - the movie kinda trots along. It is pretty entertaining all the way, although never really thrilling. I'm having a hard time stringing my notes together, because few scenes in between the start and the finish seem really important to me.
Then there's this huge drug bust towards the end, where Bond raids Sanchez' headquarters. Action, action, action!
I'm marveling at the sight of Sanchez' main henchman - a young Benicio Del Toro (!) - and how wiry, fit and dangerous he looks (Today's version of Del Toro, by comparison, looks like if the old version has been soaking in water since 1989). He falls into some kind of shredding machine and gets mashed into a bloody pulp. Oh well - maybe he survives it, like Felix Leiter survived his shark attack. If not, he's tied for the #1 "horrible death" spot in this movie. Some other guy's head explodes in another scene, and I'm wondering whether I'm watching a Bond movie or Big Trouble in Little China.
* After the bust: More action!
Now there's the obligatory chase - and it's in huge tanker trucks! Honk! Now that's actually pretty cool. There are stunts, rockets, huge explosions, you name it.
James Bond finishes his revenge mission by acting like a badass and setting Sanchez on fire with his cigarette lighter. I cringe, and half-expect 007 to say "hasta la vista", or something equally profound.
It also strikes me that Bond has just avenged... his friend's... injury? And his friend's wife's death? Uh, OK. It's not exactly "this is for murdering my brother!" is it?
Also - it's just some lameass drug lord he's killed. Not exactly Blofeld.
* Really nailing that campy 80s vibe in the end, Bond and his squeeze jump in a pool together, deliver a vomit-inducing callback line, and make out while shitty music assaults the one sense that isn't already scarred.
I'm all the while thinking that Licence to Kill isn't a Bond movie, just like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom isn't an Indiana Jones movie. They're both serviceable action movies - but that's the category they belong in... not in the part-of-a-relatively-homogenous-series category.
* Taliiiiissssaaaa Soooootoooooo!