Robert Davi’s a dick!
UPDATE: Robert Davi is NOT a dick. Please read this.
But I like this film. I was just the right age when it came out. It’s gritty, a little dark, and even pulls a couple of elements from the Fleming novels. Look, I’m basically just grasping for any reason not to go back to a Brosnan this low on the list and I’m quickly losing my resolve. So what I need to do here is focus on what an insufferable dick Robert Davi is. He’s the villain in the film (and in the life of everyone that knows him, I imagine). Are you with me? You would be if you met him, saw him in interviews, or watched him on the Sean Hannity show. I’ve done all three and he really does seem like a big tall dick! Here’s just a taste.
But more on that later, let’s focus on the good:
Hold on, I said GOOD, not THE BEST. Settle down, everyone who has a different opinion than me. I think Dalton is a very good Bond. He really did make a concerted effort to get down to Fleming basics. He’s no good at the one-liners and why should he be, he didn’t think they were right for Bond. I like his take on the role, it’s a shame the movies didn’t match his tone.
2. Big Rig Stunts!
I know they’re ridiculous in this movie, going so far as to do wheelies through fire, but the stunt guys do some amazing stuff with these diesels that have been matched only by monster truck rallies.
Also, Licence To Kill sees Felix Leiter get his feet chewed off by sharks, Wayne Newton as a creepy cult leader, and a homicidal 21 year old Benicio del Toro. What more do you want from a weird Bond film?
THE YEAR: 1989
THE GIRLS: I had a big crush on any girl with short hair back then and Carrie Lowell was no exception. I don’t even know if she was any good because I was 16 and there was no internet and you could see her neck a lot. I do know that the other Bond girl, Taliso Soto, wasn’t so good. She had longer hair.
THE VILLAIN: Robert Davi’s a dick!
Regarding his ‘character’ in the film Showgirls: ‘So I asked Paul Verhoeven, “Could I be a little more predatory? Could I pick out a leopard-skin pattern for the shirt?” And I did. After that film, even The Rolling Stones, I think Keith Richards—the pattern of that shirt I had in Showgirls started to be seen a bit.’
THE MUSIC: Licence To Kill performed by Gladys Knight. Not so memorable. Do you remember it? See. But let’s talk about the score. You couldn’t walk into an action movie in the late eighties without hearing a Michael Kamen composition. There’s something about them that feels very cocainey to me. Maybe it’s that everyone of these movies was about Cocaine. Licence To Kill certainly is.
THE PLOT: Cocaine!
THE GADGETS: A laser-shooting Polaroid and C-4 plastique explosive toothpaste. For reals!
Licence To Kill was originally titled Licence Revoked but producer Albert R. Broccoli changed it because he didn’t think American audiences would know what that meant. Maybe he was right, but maybe that’s what’s wrong with the film. Just when it starts to get a little smart and original, it dumbs itself down.
This is the last film that had its title sequence designed by Maurice Binder. His work on this series can’t be undervalued. Even in these later films, which haven’t yet graduated from dated to retro-cool, they are unique and so enjoyable to watch.
This is also the last film to be actively produced by Broccoli. Every report of him was that he was an incredibly gracious and kind man. He treated the Bond cast and crew as family. Also, his nickname was Cubby.
Anyway, Robert Davi’s a dick!