Friday 24 July 1987

…I cannot quite describe how it felt to see The Living Daylights.
I also cannot quite describe what happened in it.
There was plenty of action and not so many love scenes.
But I will have to see it again to work out exactly what was going on…

I did indeed go and see it again, a couple of weeks later. And I have seen it several times since. But I still can’t work out exactly what is going on.

The film has one of the best-ever Bond themes, a smashing soundtrack, enticing locations (you can never go wrong with the Iron Curtain) and some superb action sequences.

But Timothy Dalton never once looks like he’s enjoying himself, the plot is incomprehensible (not in an endearing way, like Octopussy, just downright stupid) and there aren’t enough gags. There’s a bit where Bond appears to team up with al-Qaida, plus an entire run of dialogue stolen from The Man With The Golden Gun (“We have a saying too… and you’re full of it.”)

There’s also the dangerously tedious sequence where 007 is being given a dressing-down by Saunders, head of Section ‘V’, Vienna. We know this, because his first line is: “Saunders, head of Section ‘V’, Vienna.” He continues: “You’re BLOODY late. This is a mission, not a fancy dress ball.” “We have time,” Timothy Dalton replies, boringly. And this happens in the first 10 minutes! When we should be being told, repeatedly and excitingly, that the person who has replaced Roger Moore is the best thing since, well, Roger Moore!

I couldn’t really articulate my response to The Living Daylights in 1987. I’d enjoyed it but not as much as I’d hoped. It was all a bit… different.

It was the last time I’d see a new Bond film in the cinema for eight years. The next time round I knew exactly how to articulate what I felt, which was a fusillade of joy.

Got the hump, Timothy?

One thought on “Friday 24 July 1987

  1. It’s a bit unfair to criticise the Saunder/Bond dialogue as being dull, since it comes after Bond chased a terrorist down the Rock of Gibraltar, parachuted out the back of a burning truck and shagged a girl in a swimsuit on a yacht. After all that you need a breather. And the whole Bratislava sequence is pure Fleming – though they cut out the bit where Bond reads a dirty book.

    I agree about the plot. It took me about ten years before I could finally work out who was doing what to who and when and why.

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