License to Kill


Here we are at Timothy Dalton’s second (and last) outing as James Bond in 1989’s License to Kill. We open on a radar plane flying around and the radar..guys inside, who spot something off the coast of Florida. They contact Key West that a plane is landing, potentially with drugs(?), and then CUT TO Bond, Felix Leiter, and some other guy driving down the Overseas Highway dressed to the nines for Leiter’s wedding. A helicopter zooms up with hand-painted signs on the side that say “FOLLOW ME,” and then the helicopter lands on the highway. Two DEA agents run up to Leiter and say that they have (someone, I don’t know who; the actor kind of garbled his lines here), and they should try to get him now. Leiter’s like, fuck this whole wedding thing, I gotta go do my job! But he asks Bond to tell his literally soon-to-be-wife that he had to go take down a drug dealer instead of getting married to her that day. Bond says fuck that: if killing’s going to be involved, I can’t miss out on that. So they ditch their pal to make the excuses to the abandoned bride, and it turns out it’s our old pal Sharkey! He doesn’t get to do cool things, unfortunately, but Leiter and Bond run over to the helicopter and off they go.

The next scene, we have some greasy thugs break into a dude’s room and rough up some guy while the lead sleaze threatens the woman in bed. He whips her for her insolence, and then CUT TO Sharkey at the wedding trying to make excuses for Leiter while his bride-to-be keeps circling the block in the limo. Her father sure looks pissed. Then CUT TO Bond and Leiter locking and loading while the lead sleaze jumps out of the jeep that he’s fleeing in. Presumably to kill everybody he can.

They land the helicopter and Leiter tells Bond to stay back. As they run up to the drug plane, the goons in the jeep with the girl start firing at everybody, shooting James’ fancy top hat. Those curs! James gets in the helicopter, is carried like 20 feet, and then jumps out. He shoots the tires out of the jeep and those dudes perform a Chinese fire drill, ditching the girl in the back seat. Bond can never not go after the girl, so he goes up to assist her and she says scram, creep. The plane taxis to take off, with Sanchez (that lead sleazy goon) at the controls. So Bond signals for the helicopter and they all pile in to give chase. Sanchez looks delighted at what he’s doing, and Bond says “I’m ready to die” so he hooks himself onto a winch and lowers himself—in mid-air—onto Sanchez’ plane because he’s out of his goddamn mind. This is yet another practical stunt and it looks as insane and dangerous as these things usually do to me.


I think James Bond only feels alive when he’s this close to dying. So he must feel alive nearly constantly.

He gets on the tail and attaches the winch to the back of Sanchez’ plane (another absolutely insane practical stunt) and the helicopter carries his plane. By this point, they’re literally over the church where Leiter’s wedding is being held. So he and Leiter jump off tail of the plane and the helicopter and parachute down. That is so insanely bad-ass. Everyone is just delighted on the ground and Leiter and his soon-to-be wife embrace and Bond also gets a hug from her and everyone at this wedding is just losing their damn minds over how cool all of this was. Everyone goes inside and BAM! OPENING CREDIT SEQUENCE.

Phew! That was one insanely good opening action sequence. It was fast, exciting, had stakes to it, and ended in an unbelievably awesome way. Damn, License to Kill! The theme song is pretty darn good too, sung by Gladys Knight (sans Pips), and it features lots of dramatic chord changes and a good use of synthesizers. The images are the normal naked ladies dancing in silhouette, but these movies are getting a lot more explicit as time goes on with their use of explicit nudity.

And with that, the opening credits are over and we zoom in on a police station, where Sanchez is being interrogated. He tries to throw money at these dudes, but the police guy says fuck you buddy, this is America. And then we cut to James Bond getting lots of kisses from Leiter’s bride because he just can’t stop and then goes to fetch Leiter, who’s in the middle of conducting business with some woman who seems pissed for some reason. Bond’s like, hey Felix, this is your wedding reception and you’re working in your home office. What gives? Leiter gives some exposition about Sanchez while Bond lights a cigarette and the police dude that was just interrogating Sanchez swings in smoking a cigar. He lets Leiter know that they’re taking Sanchez to Quantico that afternoon and then splits because we need to know what’s going on.

At the cake-cutting ceremony, everyone laughs and has a nice stupid time and this is  intercut with Sanchez getting tossed into a steel police wagon. Reporters are there, with one shouting the inane question, “Are you really Colombian?” which is silly. Then we’re back to this 80’s-tastic wedding party where Bond dances with the bride and is then given a present by Felix and Della (Leiter’s new wife’s name). They give him an engraved lighter and it’s kind of weird seeing Bond leading a normal life. So back with Sanchez, they’re transferring him over that same Overseas Highway when suddenly the policeman that was interrogating him bashes the driver’s head in with the butt of a gun and drives the wagon off the side into the water. Scuba divers come by to give this traitor cop and Sanchez oxygen and break Sanchez free from his chains. Then they swim away to…could it be? Son of Blippy, the loveable little sub from Thunderball! That’s fun.


Hey there, Blippy boy/Where’s that Blippy sub that I love so?

Back at the end of the wedding, Della tosses Bond her garter and he catches it with a grimace. Felix explains that his goddamn wife is dead, Della. Awkward. Even more awkward is that Felix and Della go into their bedroom and Sanchez’s men are waiting for them there. They knock Leiter out and take Della hostage. Worst honeymoon ever!

Meanwhile, Sanchez is just cooling his heels in one of his satellite offices in Key West and some dude comes in saying you gotta get out of here, you dunderhead. Sanchez says first, I gotta pay this dude off that helped me escape. Said corrupt cop gets a suitcase with $2 million in twenties for his efforts, and then he goes to the next room to torture Felix Leiter to death. He asks Sanchez where his wife is, and his creep goon (played by a young and surprisingly handsome Benicio del Toro) says, “Don’t worry—we gave her a nice honeymoooon.” It’s just awful, and then Leiter is tied to a hook and it looks like he’s going to be fed to the sharks. The corrupt cop says sorry pal, but two million bucks is worth selling out everything and everyone I’ve ever held dear. Felix says, “See you in hell!” as he starts getting chomped, and half of Sanchez’s outfit enjoys the show while the other half is disgusted. The corrupt cop makes a face and splits.

Bond is at the airport ready to go on vacation (isn’t most of this guy’s life a vacation?), and as he’s checking in, he notices a bunch of crazy shit is happening. He asks the desk clerk what’s going on and she’s like, I don’t know, some big drug dealer escaped, so he turns right around and beats feet out of there. He goes to Leiter’s house, looking around for his pal, and then pulls a gun when he sees signs of a struggle having taken place. He goes into the bedroom and finds Della dead on the bed, still in her wedding dress. He sees the place has been trashed and also spies a body bag on the couch. Indeed, it’s the maimed corpse of Felix Leiter. A note attached has a quip that  Bond would normally say. But Felix is still somehow alive! What? The phone rings and Bond says to whomever’s on the other end to get a goddamn ambulance here now now now, dammit, now!

Sharkey walks up and Bond says that Leiter has lost the lower half of his right leg while some asshole cop says it was probably a chainsaw. At the hospital, Bond speaks with another agent who says hey man, whadda ya gonna do, hunh? So Bond says fuck this noise: Sharkey, let’s start looking for your namesake. CUT TO some crap building on the water, and hey! It’s where Sanchez is hanging out like he shouldn’t be as a wanted fugitive. A dude opens the door and says hey, we’re closed, guy. Bond says I’m with Universal Exports (hey!) and he’s looking to buy a shark like many mysterious Englishmen in suits are. One of the lead sleazy dudes says let him in and then says we’re all out of shark. Bond’s like fine, whatever, Mr. I Didn’t Catch Your Name. Then he leaves, only to be back that night with Sharkey to snoop around. They see the submarine launch and the double-crossing piece of crap cop is also hanging out in this place. Is this place a Bad Guy’s Club or something?

Bond goes to investigate with a hook at the end of a stick and we CUT TO (this movie’s pretty liberal with its editing) the inside, where oscars and fancy goldfish and tetras are being stored. Oh, and sharks too. Bond snoopy snoops around, putting his arms into a bed of maggots (ewwwwww) where he finds large quantities of drugs are being stored. The security guard comes up behind him with a gun and disarms Bond. So Bond gives him a face full of maggots and tosses him in the maggot drawer (those are two weird two words to see together).


Hey, and it’s even weirder to see!

Some hillbilly-looking guard loads his assault rifle and looks for Bond while he just kind of saunters into the offices. The guard slowly walks down the stairs, but that hook Bond was carrying around comes in handy as he pulls this dude into the electric eel tank, which shock him to death. Electric eels kind of don’t work that way, but whatever, Bond movie. The double-crossing cop then shows up with a gun on Bond and it looks like he’s going to be fed to the sharks, but speaking of sharks, Sharkey opens a door that’s located under Crossy Cop’s feet, which tosses him off-balance. Bond dives to kill him while Sharkey just kind of looks like a goofball, like he’s Steve Urkel or something.

Bond gives him a fist full of punch sauce and Crossy Cop’s dangling over the shark tank. He says that there’s two million in the suitcase and we’ll split it. Bond says OK pal, but you should keep it. He then tosses the case into Crossy Cop’s chest and this makes him fall into the shark tank, where’s he’s eviscerated limb by limb. Yeah, fuck that guy.

Back on Sharkey’s boat, Bond says let’s go to this place, yeah? Sharkey’s like whatever, Bond: I just saw you kill a dude with a shark, so that sounds good to me. Then another agent comes up to Bond on the street and says hey man, I heard what happened at that crazy place down by the docks and you gotta cut this shit out. Bond says fuck that, dude: I’m goddamn James Bond and I do what I want. Then he goes to Hemingway’s house (that’s not a joke: he literally goes to Hemingway’s estate in Key West) and Bond meets with M, who’s smoking a pipe and looks pissed. M says look here old bean, get back to work and stop with this Leiter business. Bond says fuck you too, pal: Leiter’s my friend. M says, literally, “Spare me this sentimental rubbish” in the most British way possible. Now are you getting back to work, fuckface? (He doesn’t say fuckface.) Bond says take my resignation. M then says your license to kill is revoked (TITLE DROP!); hand over your weapon, boy-o. Bond hands his Walter PPK over, but then kicks M in the stomach and dives off the balcony. Never thought I’d see that in a Bond movie. M looks sad as he watches Bond scurry off.


“I want my friendship bracelet back, 007.”

CUT TO some fucking place, I guess. There’s the lady from the beginning that was being held hostage, flipping through a magazine on a bed on a boat (yikes, that sentence). The creepy henchman (like that narrows it down) flops by to sexually harass her while drunk, and he eyes her like a lech. Then she says stop peeping on me you creep, but his sexual harassment is interrupted by the captain of this vessel who says the monitor’s picking up on something big. He slops his way towards the control panel but just sees a manta ray, and in walked a jelly fish, but haha you suckers, it’s goddamn James Bond in manta ray costume!


I know my costume for next year’s Halloween.

He swims up into the ship with Son of Blippy and ices the first henchman he comes across. Now on the ship proper, Bond—who has the look of screaming death in his eyes—disposes of the henchman’s body and ducks out when some other henchmen come in. He gets past the crew’s sleeping quarters and continues his snoop. The henchmen find the other henchman not dead but incapacitated and call for help. Bond goes to the girl’s room and holds a knife to her, saying “Make a sound and you’re dead,” which is just classic charming James Bond. He asks her what the fuck she’s doing here and she’s like I don’t know, didn’t you read the script? Drunky Weirdo goes to her room and asks if she’s seen anybody, she says no, and we see the whip marks that Sanchez gave her. Eesh. A boat pulls up, and the henchmen have the body of Sharkey(!), and now Bond is so furious he could kill just by looking at you. A view from which he could kill, one would never say never (callbacks).

Bond goes out to the deck and just kills the first dude he comes across with a spear gun and then dives into the water when he’s fired upon. He takes the dead guy’s scuba tank and gets the fudge out of there while more henchmen are sent out to find him. Son of Blippy is sent out and one of my least-favorite aspects of any Bond movie starts, which is underwater sequences. As the henchmen dive into the water to find Bond, and a prop plane is loaded up with gigantic amounts of drugs, Bond hangs out by a coral reef where the fish are like, what the fuck is this guy doing here?

Bond’s oxygen is running low, the drug loading is completed onto the plane, and Son of Blippy goes back home. Bond grabs the tow line on Son of Blippy, and once he’s on its back he takes out the bricks of drugs and starts hacking them open because fuck those drug-dealing pieces of shit. They try to get eyes on him, but Bond’s too far gone in a revenge/anger spiral to care. They send dudes after him in the water, and now it’s an action scene underwater.

Bond ducks behind a coral reef while spear guns are shot and a dude cuts his air line. But Bond socks them in the gut while bullets whiz past and the butt of their spear gun finds their faces. He shoots the spear gun onto a pontoon of the airplane and starts waterskiing behind it while henchmen shoot at him. That’s fucking crazy. And then he launches himself onto the pontoon of the airplane as it takes off in another practical action sequence that’s out of fucking control dangerous-looking.


“Yes! This is fucking awesome! Also, I need therapy.”

The pilot tries to shake him off, but he crawls onto the plane and pushes one dude out in yet another completely bonkers practical effect. Then he beats the pilot with a stack of cash and the pilot yet again tries to shake him off. After knocking out the pilot, he just tosses him the fuck out of the plane and takes the controls. This is all outrageously nuts and enjoyable to watch.

CUT TO (WHAT?) Bond now just scaling into Leiter’s house that’s been cordoned off by the police. He gets inside and goes onto Felix’s computer, but not before finding a CD-ROM hidden behind a picture of Della that he pops into the CD drive. It’s a file of Sanchez’s holdings and associates, and the name Bouvier pops up. It details the next meeting between Sanchez and Bouvier, who’s a CIA operative. CUT TO (man, this movie is lightening-fast) Bond pulling up to a sleazy bar that makes the one from Roadhouse look like the goddamn Russian Tea Room. Some contact in the bar was asking where the hell Leiter is, and Bond says he’s all fucked up, while Bond susses out the situation: she’s Bouvier, an informer/contact, and shit’s about to go down in Key West Town. Sanchez’s goons are all over the place, including Dario—one of Sanchez’s main goons, the Benicio Del Toro one, and both of them reveal to each other that they’re packing. Bond has a handgun. She has a fucking shotgun. This movie’s completely nuts and I love it. More goons pour in and Dario slinks over with his own personal goon. Dario calls Bouvier out and says that she used to fly charter planes for Sanchez, while Bond says fuck off dude: she’s with me, and Bouvier says he’s with me. The waitress comes by with their beer and Dario’s goon tries something, so Bond beats him into unconsciousness.

This isn’t even commented upon by the waitress so Bouvier takes a shot for the fuck of it to see how far she can push this game of Sorry before it breaks. Then the place devolves into a crazy barfight. Bouvier  beats the hell from Dario, Bond beats the hell out of another guy, a swordfish is used as a weapon on Bond, Bouvier smashes a liquor bottle over the dude’s head and then knocks out another dude with her shotgun and then blows a hole in the wall for Bond to jump out of while she holds everyone hostage. Holy shit, this is nuts. Bond starts the boat but Bouvier is shot in the back on her way out. Automatic fire starts going off and Dario just smiles like the slinky creep he is. Turns out Bouvier had a bulletproof vest on and she’s fine, and she’s like hey asshole, I’m fucking doing all the work around here. She says she’s a goddamn Army pilot so fuck your stupid spy bullshit. This movie rules.

They run out of gas like silly gooses and are stuck on the water. Bond says he needs a rundown on Sanchez’s whole crazy operation, and Bouvier gets that he’s trying to take down Sanchez and asks how many men he’s got. Bond says it’s just us, lady: $50,000 to do this job. She says no way, and they do a bidding war up to $75,000, and she says deal and then they make out because nothing turns people like this on more than wanton murder and gunfire. It’s all fucking insane. It’s like a regular Bond movie on meth or something. My fingers are getting tired because it’s all moving so fast. They drift in the pre-dawn waters to make out and dream of murder together.

Holy smokes, we’re not even halfway through the movie and I’m kind of exhausted. The pacing of this movie is crazy fast. It’s possibly the most exciting Bond movie I’ve seen so far in this project and now I’m kind of sad that Timothy Dalton didn’t get a few more runs in as Bond. He makes a really good 007 for his ruthlessness and intensity. I’m just impressed at this point after having watched so many goofy Roger Moore entries in the franchise to get back to the same slick, cool, and confident Bond that early Sean Connery movies instilled in the character.

MEANWHILE, M goes up to Moneypenny admonishing her for some typing errors. He asks what the fuck her problem is, and we know what her problem is: no James Bond. M says quit worrying about that handsome rogue bastard; we have to stop him. Moneypenny puts out the order to stop Bond against her wishes, and we CUT TO Cuba again, I guess, I don’t know. I thought we were still in Key West. He and Bouvier check into a fantastic-looking hotel suite, where he delegates Bouvier to being his secretary, Miss Kennedy (GET IT? CUBA?), to deal with the garbage work. Bond tips heavily because classy, and Bouvier throws some SJW shit about how come he couldn’t be her secretary, but he laughs it off because they’re in Cuba and nuts to her dreams of gender equality.

He pays her what he owes her but she wants to stay on and finish this crazy caper. Besides, she argues, I’m a complete badass so let’s fuck shit up together. He gives her some shopping money and gets some info on Sanchez’s stupid bank that he owns. He pulls up in a Rolls-Royce like a goddamn Superman and goes to deposit the fat stacks of cash he has. Meanwhile, some dork that looks like me lets some Japanese businessmen that this bank is fucking cool because they don’t play by the rules. Bond deposits like four million dollars because he’s a rich fuck, and Bouvier comes in in a new outfit and sharp haircut looking like one of the models from Robert Palmer’s video “Addicted to Love” and this chick is just out of sight 1989 cool. Even Bond does a goddamn double-take when she walks in. And he’s James Bond! They jib-jab about some money bullshit and Bond and Bouvier share a look of sex.


“Mmmm…my haircut and new outfit do look good, don’t they? Tee hee!”

LATER, Sanchez and the kidnapped woman hang out watching—of all people—Wayne Newton’s weird Evangelical program about donating money, which I’m sure is foreshadowing to a money-laundering scheme of some sort. Sanchez has a lizard with a diamond necklace on while the kidnapped woman whose name I haven’t caught before says fuck this. CUT TO Bond in a casino playing blackjack instead of baccarat, but it’s the 1980’s so fuck it. He gets a quarter-million dollars in notes and raises the bet to $5000 a hand because he’s fucking insane and has a gambling problem. Then Sanchez and the white guy who doesn’t really look like me now that I see him up-close to tell the televangelist to raise the limit. Also, this is all code to buying coke or heroin or whatever drug they’re doing. Then Sanchez gets a call from the casino manager who calls Bond a jerk-off that raised the stakes on a table. Sanchez says let him play, and Bond plays these fucking cards like a piano. It’s weird how good at being James Bond Timothy Dalton is, but he’s killing it. He keeps draining the goddamn bank because he’s so great at cards, and the casino manager keeps calling Sanchez about how Bond is killing it at blackjack. Sanchez lets him keep playing but also orders for Bond to be brought to him.

He sends in the kidnapped girl and Bond sends away Bouvier for the next hand. They play and the hands are crooked but Bond’s letting it ride. She lets him know that she’s there to spy on him and he walks away, but she lets him know that he should just goddamn leave, you crazy bastard. She also lets him know that Sanchez is upstairs while Bond tells her to take him to Sanchez. And Bouvier is left with a stiff drink while Bond goes to confront Sanchez. She drinks her sorrows away, as we all do in this rotten life.

Up in Sanchez’s office, the door close and Bond sits down for a menacing chat. Sanchez compliments Bond but also lets him know that he knows who he is. So they go back-and-forth tersely and laugh and laugh and threaten each other. This goes on for a while, and Bond says hey man I can help you. Sanchez says whatever bro: see you later, alligator. They shake hands and Bond leaves, but obviously some shit’s happening.

LATER, Bond and Bouvier leave and go back to the hotel. Bond is told that his uncle has arrived, which is odd, and they go back up to the room to see who the uncle is. Is it M? Q? Who? Bond takes a gun either way because it’s time to let them out to pasture. He goes to the room alone while Bouvier cools her slinky heels in the hallway. Hey! It’s Q!


It’s your friendly neighborhood Q!

 He said he thought he’d pop around to see how he was doing in the most adorably British way. Q said he’s here to help and gives him a bunch of crazy gadgets, including an explosive alarm clock, plastic explosive, and pay attention 007: a bullet camera and a laser Polaroid camera that’s also an x-ray. Bouvier takes the master bedroom while Bond has to share a room with Q. Take that, Bond!

Sanchez holds a meeting with the Japanese and the drug dealing underground while Bond and Bouvier hang out in the casino some more. Bond pays her off to get the fuck out of Dodge while he sticks around to kill. He plays waiter to infiltrate this place further and climbs on top of an elevator because whee! He gets to the rooftop while Sanchez advises the Japanese how to bribe people. Bond rappels down outside of the window where he’s giving his lecture on evil. Bond does some sneaky stuff outside the window, setting up plastic explosive and a cigarette pack timer along the ledge. He then gets into his Rolls-Royce, confident that his plan’s going to go off without a hitch. But someone follows him—ruh roh!

Back at the meeting, one of the Japanese bad guys asks for a sample of his goods, what with investing $100 million and all. So they’re going on a field trip to the main distribution center tomorrow! What fun. Bond says thanks for the ride, Q, but you have to get out of here before the insane murder starts. Sanchez’s meeting ends with prostitutes, as many bad guy meetings do, and Bond gets to putting together another weapon of death because he’s all business in this movie. Sanchez takes a meeting with the El Presidente while Bond gets ready to assassinate everybody. He clicks on the timer while Presidente complains that his latest bribery check wasn’t for the full amount. Sanchez threatens him while Bond sees that darn Bouvier in the building doing whatever. He blows the window and gets to shooting, but some ninjas show up to screw his plan. So it’s a kicking good time between Bond and the ninjas capture him. And it was all going so well up until now!

So he’s tied up and these Japanese are like, who the fuck is this guy? Then another English guy shows up and says he’s a rogue agent. Turns out the Japanese guy that was asking to see Sanchez’s operation was Hong Kong narcotics, and Bond’s little stunt back there might have screwed up their whole takedown of his operation. Bond says get me the fudge out of these ties you assholes, but the English agent says no way, you’re going back to London.

An explosion happens right then and the whole building is blown to smithereens by a tank(!). The surviving Japanese agent hides from the paramilitary that’s investigating the wreck, killing two of them before getting shot. But where’s Bond? Sanchez is on-hand to ask the still-alive Japanese agent who sent him, but he has a cyanide capsule and takes the express train to heaven instead of talking. Hey! There’s Bond! He’s alive and Sanchez decides to take him.

Bond wakes up in an uber-swanky pad and takes a moment to look at how handsome he is. And a tux is waiting for him, too! This Sanchez fellow ain’t so bad. He even calls Bond amigo when he sees him. How friendly. The kidnapped gal is also there, what’s-her-face from earlier, and he and Bond have a little tete-a-tete. Bond acts like they’re pals and he tries to plant the idea that someone close to Sanchez must have set up the assassination attempt. Oh, her name is Lupe, the kidnapped gal. Anyway, they take a neat little elevator up to the second floor. Bond starts getting his shit together to book it while Lupe says don’t go, stay, please, come on guy. But Lupe provides him with a distraction as he books it. Lupe further aids him in his escape because you know, fuck Sanchez.

Bouvier and Q hang out in Bond’s suite and the second he gets there he pushes Bouvier into his room to say why the fuck were you in Sanchez’s office you double-crossing so-and-so? Something about stinger missiles and Bond kind of fucked up something and now those stinger missiles are back in play, and because of Bond’s revenge everyone’s plans are all fucked up. Great job, Bond! Q gets back into the swing of things and looks positively chuffed.


“Tell me what’s going on or I’ll kill you! Also, how do you think our relationship is going?”

On a boat somewhere, Q and Bond are in their own little boat and Bouvier take over the business of the bigger transport boat while Sanchez gets ready to do something or whatever, and Bouvier steers the boat into the docks. She gets Bond onto the bigger boat. Sanchez comes on-board while his creep assistant fellow’s like, I’m having a rough week, guy. Sanchez starts looking around because he now suspects his creep assistant. Sanchez asks his creep assistant to tell him about the crazy opening action sequence and doesn’t believe a word of it because it sounds even crazier when it’s spoken out loud. Bouvier gets out of there safely but Bond is still in the hold with Son of Blippy.

There’s a ton of money now found below because Bond planted it to make the creep look suspect and Sanchez goes nuts, accusing the creep of planning the assassination attempt. He locks him into the depressurization chamber and crushes him with…pressure. I’m not sure how it works, but it sure does the job, since the creep’s head inflates like a balloon and explodes. WHAAAAT? Did the director watch Scanners and was like, yeah, I’m gonna use that in the new Bond movie? Crazy. Anyway, Bond sends Bouvier and Q away to Miami for safety while he finishes the job.


“I feel puffy. Do I look puffy?”

Bond resurfaces at Sanchez’s palatial estate, having snuck back in, and Sanchez tosses him some stacks of cash as a way of thanks for the information. Bond keeps pushing Sanchez’s paranoid buttons about a potential inside job against him and Sanchez says hey dude, come with me to somewhere tomorrow, it’ll be fun. Then Lupe comes in and is wondering what the hell he’s doing back here. She says hey dude, don’t go tomorrow, it’s not going to go well. Lupe says let’s leave together and starts in with the kissing, Bond’s one weakness!

Q’s getting ready to split and Lupe shows up to say to Bouvier hey, Bond’s in trouble lady, and also we’re totally doing it. This hurts Bouvier and she get pissed, but Q’s like don’t worry, he’s a spy, having sex with strangers is totally a work thing. She calls bullshit on this and Q just sighs, wishing that he was a spy, too. Anyway, Q’s in the field now, monitoring Bond’s movements and working in concert with Bouvier. She goes to the airport but Sanchez had ordered it dismantled. So she eyes one across the tarmac to steal.

Sanchez get into a helicopter and they take off from his balcony because Sanchez is as rich as Croesus. Meanwhile, the Japanese are driven to a meditation center that’s just a cover while we see Bouvier fly overhead in her stolen plane. Bond gets out of a car and mixes in with the crowd as they put on masks so they don’t get all goofy from the drugs. Sanchez’s helicopter lands in a super-secret underground landing pad while their tour guide shows how they dissolve their “product” into gasoline so they can transport it without being detected. But, asks one guy, how do you get it back? Sanchez says I can’t tell you all of our secrets to avoid explaining this unexplainable thing. Bouvier uses cold hard cash to bribe her way into the meditation outfit while Wayne Newton greets her. She hands over the cash and they chit-chat about whatever. Meanwhile, Bond gets a gun on him while they show how they extract the cocaine from the gasoline, which still doesn’t make a lick of sense but whatever, it’s your plot, Bond.

Bouvier is shown around the place by Newton and it’s pretty swanky. They go to his room and he’s a goddamn creep, of course, so she pulls a gun on him and she says give me the keys, asshole. Then she takes a robe and splits. Back with the Japanese drug dealers, Bond takes a moment to throw punches and start a fire. He’s beaten and Sanchez says who are you working for, jerk? Everyone races out of there while Bond is tied up. Sanchez starts going all Scarface at this point, saying nuts to this facility, we gotta get the hell out of here. Bond’s tossed onto a convayor belt of doom while Bouvier runs around on the top of this crazy place. There goes Bond headed towards the crushing machine when Bond starts saying hey man, who can you trust? Also, stinger missiles. He stops the conveyor belt momentarily at this, but then says ah nuts to that and sends Bond to the crushing jaws of death. He catches the ropes around his wrist on the side of the convayor and dangles over the crushing machine so Dario cuts the rope. He then hangs by a single hand while Bouvier shows up to shoot Dario. Bond pulls the henchmen into the crushing machine where’s he’s ground into a fine mist, and Bond says Jane, stop this crazy thing!


“So you know how I like almost dying but ultimately not dying? Don’t lets not.”

Bond and Bouvier try to find a way out of this exploding fortress of drugs while the tankers filled with cocaine gas make their slow escape. I’m writing a lot of really crazy sentences in this recap. Meanwhile, Sanchez gets into a car that also contains the stinger missiles and the Japanese businessmen just run aimlessly around. Sanchez takes his yuppy suck-up with him and he amscrays. Bouvier finds a fucking golf cart and she and Bond also make their tiny battery-powered escape. They also take the sack of money from Wayne Newton as they drive by, which is pretty funny. They get to her plane and take off after Sanchez. Bond gets out of the plane and drops onto the back of one of the cocaine gasoline tankers. Frickin’ crazy. Anyway, Sanchez stars firing at him as he hides underneath the moving tanker and makes his way to the cabin. There, he sprays the driver with a fire extinguisher, throws him out of the truck, and takes over the truck.

Bond tries to pass the tankers to get to Sanchez but that ain’t happening. Sanchez loads up a stinger missile into a launcher to blow up Bond while Bond races alongside the tanker trying to block him. But nope, Bond just crashes that dude into the side of a mountain. So it’s up to the stinger missile to kill him, I guess. The henchman takes aim but Bond gets the tanker on one side and the missile blows up the already-crashed tanker behind him. Then he crushes the henchmen’s jeep with the truck. They blow out his tires and he exits the tanker as they fire. Bouvier swoops down with her plane and dumps a bunch of crop dust onto them.

Bond stops the convoy by rolling down the detached tanker, which strikes the lead tanker and blows it up. Sanchez shoots his accountant henchman because he keeps reminding Sanchez of how badly he’s fucking up and Bond gets back into the truck’s cab to drive after Sanchez. Bond drives through the damn fire while popping a wheelie in the truck and a snazzy, jazzy version of the “James Bond Theme” starts playing. Neat.


This image alone fathered thirty-six children from its sheer masculinity.

Bond activates the cruise control because maybe he thinks that drives the truck automatically like in Anchorman II and gets on the hood of the truck to climb onto the back of the truck Sanchez is in. He climbs onto the back of the tanker while those dusty henchmen from before chase after him. Unfortunately, their truck is on fire so they go out in a blaze of glory, launched off the side of the mountain where they careen over Bouvier’s plane in another completely nuts practical stunt. She flies over the tanker to help Bond but her tail is shot to ribbons. She just lands it wherever and says what the hell was that all about?

Bond, on top of the tanker, kicks Sanchez in the face but uh-oh, Sanchez cut the air brakes! The driver leaps to safety as the truck careens out of control and both Bond and Sanchez crash with it. The cocaine gas is spraying all over the place and Bond is really taking a beating in this movie. And then Sanchez has a machete to Bond. But before he’s hacked to death, Bond asks him, “Don’t you want to know why?” He shows him the engraved lighter from Della and Felix and then lights the cocaine gas-covered Sanchez the fuck on fire. He goes up in a blaze, there’s a big kaboom, and Sanchez is dead. Bond just kind of gets out of there and Bouvier shows up in the cab of the truck.


Said kaboom.

CUT TO Felix alive and well in the hospital, and bond is in a tux hanging out with Lupe in a swank restaurant. Q and Bouvier toast to their personal awesomeness and Lupe and Bond make out. But Bond feels bad because Bouvier didn’t get any smooching in that night with him, so he goes over to her as she looks out over an incredible pool. Bond jumps from the second floor balcony into the pool and pulls Bouvier in with him. They swim and kiss and Q just shakes his head at this because he wishes he was young and cool again. The last shot of the movie—I shit you not—is of a giant fish statue winking at us. Whaaaa?


Well that was a great deal of fun–maybe the most fun Bond movie I’ve seen since The Spy Who Loved Me. It was probably the best-paced Bond movie so far in the franchise: the action was lightening quick and even though this was possibly the longest Bond movie, it certainly didn’t feel like it. As mentioned in the recap, it’s a shame that Dalton only got two turns as James Bond because he’s a terrific incarnation of the character. He’s dark, violent, and driven by emotion, but he’s also focused on the task at hand (unlike Sean Connery, who looked like he was checking his watch half the time, or Roger Moore, who used his time as a spy like it was a vacation). While the world wasn’t at stake in this film, something more personal was: revenge. It’s nice to see Bond let his emotions out every now and then, and Dalton performed the inner angst of James Bond well.

Besides this, License to Kill was a slam-bang action flick. To quote The Simpsons, it was a non-stop rollercoaster of thrills, spills, and kills. The late 80’s and some new blood did the franchise a lot of good. I wish I could say that I’m looking forward to seeing Timothy Dalton’s next outing as Bond, but this was it. We go to Pierce Brosnan next, who I like as an actor but now after enjoying Dalton so much as Bond, it’s a bit of a bummer that I won’t be seeing him again. Oh well: at least he got to make two memorable Bond flicks and revitalize the franchise.


With a quick pace, loads of completely nuts-o practical stunts, and a James Bond who was doing his dangerous work for personal reasons, which gave the plot gravitas in a way that having to save the world somehow usually doesn’t in these movies. It had action, adventure, and some cute bits for Q, who has become one of my favorite characters in this franchise. Just a cracking good time. Four out of four Bonds.



2 responses to “License to Kill”

  1. […] License to Kill – With quick pacing, loads of completely nuts-o practical stunts, and a James Bond who was doing his dangerous work for personal reasons, which gives the plot gravitas in a way that having to save the world somehow usually doesn’t in these movies. It had action, adventure, and some cute bits for Q. Just a cracking good time. […]


  2. Plus, the scene at Hemingway House also has “Hemingway cats,” those polydactyl cats! Since you’re a fan of cats, enjoy!

    The only thing that bothered me about Q’s involvement in this movie was how he broke the rake/radio and threw it on ground. He’s always after Bond to be careful with the gadgets and it doesn’t feel right that he’d just break and throw it away when he’s done with it, like Bond does.


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