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Licence To Kill

Licence To Kill (1989)

tomatometer

76

Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 49
Fresh: 37 | Rotten: 12

License to Kill is a sharp action picture -- it's darker than many of the other entries, with Timothy Dalton playing Bond with intensity -- but it still has some solid chases and fight scenes.

62

Average Rating: 6/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 5

License to Kill is a sharp action picture -- it's darker than many of the other entries, with Timothy Dalton playing Bond with intensity -- but it still has some solid chases and fight scenes.

audience

59

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 63,010

My Rating

Movie Info

For his second outing as James Bond, Timothy Dalton is working on his own rather than on behalf of the British Secret Service in this follow-up to The Living Daylights). When his American friend Felix Leiter ({$David Hedison), an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration, is seriously injured by drug dealer Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi), 007 is out for blood. There is precious little time for the usual Bondian quippery and campiness, resulting in a marked increase in bloodletting (including the

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure

Michael G. Wilson

Oct 22, 2002

Watch It Now

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All Critics (49) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (12) | DVD (22)

Every once in a while, [the Bond series] pulls in its stomach, pops the gun from its cummerbund, arches its eyebrow and gets off another bull's-eye. The newest, Licence to Kill, is probably one of the five or six best of Bond.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If the series is ever going to return to its Connery-era glory, it definitely needs some new writers, ones who know how to streamline a story and keep the dialogue tight.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dalton revives the cool, ironic detachment of the Connery years, but he also allows a touch of obsession to show through Bond`s surface aplomb.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With Dalton straightening out Bond for the second time, Licence to Kill continues the salvage operation begun in The Living Daylights and rescues a series that was in danger of shooting itself in the foot. With a Walther PPK, of course.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Bond women are pallid mannequins, and so is the misused Dalton -- a moving target in a Savile Row suit. For every plausible reason, he looks as bored in his second Bond film as Sean Connery did in his sixth.

October 13, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The thrills-and-spills chases are superbly orchestrated as pic spins at breakneck speed through its South Florida and Central American locations.

October 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Licence to Kill gets better as it unfolds for more than two hours. It just takes an insufferably long while to find the right pace.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Licence to Kill ranks as one of the best of the 16 Bond films, thanks to Dalton's athletic, tough and deadly new 007.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

As unlikely as it seems, Mr. Dalton actually appears to be growing in the Bond role, which is potentially stifling because its own popularity has so rigidly defined it.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

This series' record of maintaining an admirable level of quality stays intact, even if this film might best be used as a cinematic appetizer to see before renting a tape of one of the Connery or Moore classics.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

He may look the part, but Timothy Dalton fails the boots, the scuba gear, or the automobiles left him by Moore and Connery.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

It's a watchable adventure boosted by impressive action sequences and a fiery climax with a bone-crunching punch-up. Pity Dalton didn't have another crack at proving his secret-agent credentials.

May 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Darker version of James Bond has more violence, language.

May 5, 2014 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Anchored by an engaging revenge plot, this Bond film has a great villain, a dark tone and several top-notch action set pieces.

November 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Geek Central
Film Geek Central

No quips. No smirks. No innuendoes. Just raw, exposed nerves. The traits for which Dalton gets dinged are those looking past the character's admittedly alluring surface pleasures. Women aren't the only things that keep 007 awake at night, you know.

October 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Suite101.com
Suite101.com

The good: this is beautifully complicated stuff... The bad: simply, that it's not a Bond film.

September 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Licence to Kill gave us a grittier and more ruthless Bond. Dalton can definitely play dark, but he lacks the charisma of Connery

January 9, 2010 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

It's a strained, sexless, and overcooked film...Dalton's game, but the film is inert, perhaps unprepared to work with the new Irish Kiss direction of the series.

August 26, 2009 Full Review Source: BrianOrndorf.com
BrianOrndorf.com

A well-produced slick high-octane action thriller that remains escapist and as entertaining as possible throughout.

February 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

...it often feels more like a typical '80s actioner than a bona fide James Bond adventure...

October 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Fast, efficient and unusually gruesome Bond. The tone is sombre, the action is ingenious and in Dalton the series finds the only actor to take 007 seriously.

October 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Audience Reviews for Licence To Kill

In Timothy Dalton's second and final film as James Bond, we get the best in the series since "For Your Eyes Only" and one of the most unique and interesting entries. This movie is as far from the Bond formula as the Daniel Craig films, but the difference is that audiences apparently weren't ready to give up the cheesy one-liners and bombastic thrills the series had become known for up to this point, leaving this picture with the worst attendance in the series history by a wide margin. It's unfortunate because I feel like audiences would appreciate this film more today, but the toxic word of mouth the movie received upon release has become its legacy. This is a revenge thriller that sees Bond going rogue in order to purse a personal vendetta against a drug lord that seriously injures a friend and kills his friend's wife. Timothy Dalton is better here than he was in The Living Daylight's, and although Bond doesn't have the dashing personality anymore, he has never been more ruthless. It makes the movie a little bit of a downer compared to the rest, but also one of the most driven. It's compelling from beginning to end, despite a few dry spots. The same cannot be said for the last couple of entries. Q's added role in this film is also a pleasure for fans of the series. Overall, it's one of the stronger entries in the series and seems to be a clear influence on the current Bond films.
February 28, 2013
jlewis07

Super Reviewer

This is a pretty good Bond film. It's edgy, violent, and the first to be Rated PG-13. Dalton gives a good performance, so it sucks that this was his final of two films in the role. At least he went out on a high note.

Not until Daniel Craig came around did the film get as serious as it does here. That's why I like it so much, because Bond gets almost ruthless. Granted, it's still an 80s era film, so the cheese and camp aren't 100% gone, but even then, this film gets dark, and there's an increase in the bloodletting.

Bond is on a quest for revenge, and goes off the books in order to get things done. The target is a ruthless drug lord who has seriously maimed Bond's friend American DEA Agent Felix Leiter. Robert Davi is great as the antagonist, and you really believe that he's a chilling and ruthless fellow. Benicio del Toro gets his career off to a start as a henchman, which is cool, and, despite the campiness of it, I do kinda dig seeing Wayne Newton as a huckster type of character. Carey Lowell is the primary Bond Girl, and I like her a lot, She's got this quality about her that I just really like, even if I can't properly articulate why. It's too bad she has basically gone under the radar for the most part since then.

All in all, a really fine film.
December 21, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Timothy Dalton's second turn as Bond would also be his last, and I think that's probably a good thing. He does a decent job as Bond, but really makes the character humorless, and a borderline bore. Her he sets out avenge a friend by going after a Latin Drug dealer. The movie has great action, and look closely for a young Benecio Del Tore as a psychotic henchman(has an awesome death scene by the way). It's a more violent take on Bond than the Moore movies, and that's fine, but just keep the humor and womanizing with it. Also, I didn't care that movie ends with a cheezy love song like "If You Ask me To". Not the worst Bond, but probably towards the bottom of them. Still a must watch for all Bond fans.
December 13, 2012
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer

Bond is on a mission and this time it`s extremely personal. An exhilarating and spectacular action-packed thrill-ride that's filled with some pulse-pounding chases and sensational action scenes. Timothy Dalton strikes gold again with Bond, giving him the right amount of charm and edge to make the character ad story work well. One of my favorite Bond films. A taunt and gripping thrill to watch. It digs deep into some nice character stuff leading back to On her Majesty s secret service. A fun and explosive adventure that you will love to watch again
November 11, 2012
allan913

Super Reviewer

    1. Franz Sanchez: Don't worry, it's only money.
    – Submitted by Joakim A (16 months ago)
    1. James Bond: In my business, you prepare for the unexpected.
    – Submitted by Joakim A (16 months ago)
    1. Franz Sanchez: Well, it's a wise gambler who knows when his luck has run out.
    – Submitted by Joakim A (16 months ago)
    1. Franz Sanchez: Our biggest problem is what to do with all the money.
    – Submitted by Joakim A (16 months ago)
    1. Franz Sanchez: <As Bond is tied up sliding on conveyer belt to cocaine shredder> When you are up to your ankles, you'll beg to tell me everything. When you are up to your knees, you'll kiss my ass to kill you!
    – Submitted by Rob M (17 months ago)
    1. Prof. Joe Butcher: Bless your heart!
    – Submitted by Rob M (17 months ago)
View all quotes (8)

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