License to Kill (1989)

license to kill poster 1989 movie 007
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 6/10

Dalton is an underrated Bond

Dull story hinders the movie

Movie Info

Movie Name:  License to Kill

Studio:  Eon Productions/Danjaq

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  June 13, 1989

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


There are too many guns in this bed

Felix Leiter (David Hedison) is getting married, and James Bond (Timothy Dalton) is helping with the celebration which includes taking down a notorious drug lord named Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi).  When Sanchez escapes custody with the help of a DEA officer named Ed Killifer (Everett McGill) and a smuggler Milton Krest (Anthony Zerbe), Felix and his new wife Della (Priscilla Barnes) meet a tragic fate.  Now Bond is out for revenge, and he’s lost his license to kill…but it won’t stop him from taking down Sanchez with the help of CIA informant Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell).


I have a bad feeling about this movie…I mean situation

Directed by John Glen, License to Kill is the sixteenth entry in the James Bond franchise.  Following Dalton’s first outing in The Living Daylights in 1987, License to Kill was met with a lot of criticism.  The title song “License to Kill” was performed by Gladys Knight, but the film also featured the hit Patti LaBelle song “If You Asked Me To” in the closing credits.  License to Kill was the first Bond movie to also receive a PG-13 rating, and the relative failure of the film plus legal wrangling put the franchise on ice for a number of years.

I feel sorry for Timothy Dalton.  Both Dalton films have ho-hum plots and some really dull action sequences.  I think the “dark Bond” was rather interesting and I liked his less quippy and more vengeful nature.  This carried over into GoldenEye in 1995 due to the fact that it was originally written for Dalton…I think that is part of the reason I like it more than Pierce Brosnan’s other outings as Bond.


Hey, I’m the one who is suppose to have the witty remarks!

I love that you think Felix is dead, but he only is missing a leg (and rather chipper in his last scene).  The movie really dies once it gets into the whole mixing the oil with the cocaine portion.  The stuff goes on forever and then is topped off with a slow tanker chase.  If the people who were making the decisions about the franchise at this point were the same people who decided employ Wayne Newton as a televangelist front man for the evil company, it is probably a good thing that the series went into hiatus.


This movie is making my head hurt

Dalton, I maintain, is a good Bond, but Carey Lowell as his “Bond girl” is rather ho-hum.  Goonies’ vet Robert Davi is a decent villain, and I love the way he deals with his partner Anthony Zerbe who meets an explosive fate.  There is an early appearance by Oscar winning Benicio del Toro as one of Sanchez’s men (who also dies a grim death).  It is also interesting to see Desmond Llewelyn as Q taking on a more active role in the mission.  With such a long break between this film and the next film, this film features the last Miss Moneypenny played by Caroline Bliss (who took over for Lois Maxwell in The Living Daylights) and M played by Robert Brown who first appeared in The Spy Who Loved Me.

I really wish License to Kill had been better and I wish that Timothy Dalton had gotten one more shot.  I would have liked to have seen how he would have handled GoldenEye though I did really like Pierce Brosnan in it.  Next to George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), Dalton ended up with a really short run.  License to Kill was followed by GoldenEye in 1995.

Preceded By:

The Living Daylights (1987)

Followed By:

GoldenEye (1995)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response