Patrick Brennan joins 007 on a quest for revenge in 1989’s ‘Licence To Kill’
‘Licence to Kill’, Timothy Dalton’s second and final Bond film, leans fully into the actor’s dark, intense portrayal of 007. The villain is a drug lord named Franz Sanchez, played by Robert Davi, and was inspired by real life figures of the time such as General Manuel Noriega of Panama and Pablo Escobar and his Medellín cartel in Colombia.
The final of five Bonds directed by John Glen, the film also stars Carey Lowell as stern CIA agent Pam Bouvier, Anthony Zerbe as the slimy Milton Krest (a character originally from Ian Fleming’s story The Hildebrand Rarity), Benicio Del Toro as the intense and evil henchman Dario, and David Hedison reprising his role as Felix Leiter from Live and Let Die.
Robert Brown and Caroline Bliss both make their final appearances as M and Moneypenny respectively, while Desmond Llewelyn as the beloved gadgetmaster Q has his largest part of any of the films.
The film opens with Felix Leiter’s wedding at the Florida Keys being interrupted by his compatriots at the Drug Enforcement Agency who need his aid on a mission: the arrest of the infamous drug lord Franz Sanchez.
James Bond, Felix’s best man, insists on coming along. Sanchez almost gets away until Bond tethers his plane to a helicopter, which carries it away. Bond and Felix then parachute into the wedding.
The title song by Gladys Knight is completely unmemorable, as is most of the overall score by Michael Kamen.
The plot continues with the escape of Sanchez, aided by corrupt DEA agent Killifer. Dario, Sanchez’s henchman, kills Felix’s bride and Sanchez has Felix gravely (but not fatally) injured by feeding him to a shark.