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Topic: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

The Living Daylights (1987) is the 15th film in the series, debuting Timothy Dalton.  His interpretation of Bond was darker, solemn, more violent, less of a playboy and more faithful to Fleming's writing.  It sold better than its predecessor (A View to a Kill) and got positive reviews, but some felt Dalton's take on the character lacked humor.

PROS:

  • Dalton re-energized the role with a visceral sense of passion.

  • It had over-the-top elements while still being serious overall.

  • Has one of the more complex cerebal stories in the series.

  • Afghan war and plane set pieces were memorable action sequences

  • Was faithful Fleming's material while being about contemporary issues

  • Bond tries his hand at being monogamous

CONS:

  • Dalton doing the signature Connery humor is awkward.

  • Bond sexually assaults Pushkin's mistress to distract a guard.

  • None of the villains (or their scenes) were memorable.

Overall Thoughts

It took me time to appreciate Dalton's Bond, but he's as three dimensional as they come, with a youthful energy.  He's a romantic one scene and a killer the next.  It was definitely a step up from its predecessor in my opinion.  Perhaps with better casting and directing, it could've been the best Bond movie but it's still very good.

Last edited by Absolutely_Cart (19th Sep 2015 19:56)

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

The Living Daylights was a very good effort all around, with only a few exceptions.  Dalton never quite looks comfortable when he's supposed to be having fun.  Joe Don Baker's bad guy is just lame -- he acts more like a petulant child. A-Ha's theme is just forgettable.  Campy leftovers -- like Robert Brown's dour M having a desk with papers on the plane and Bond conveniently landing on the yacht while the woman is harping about not finding a real man -- seem inconsistent in tone to the rest of the film.  The climax is anti-climactic, too.

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

I agree on pretty much everything above. TLD is a very good Bond Movie, it just isn't a brilliant Bond movie like FRWL, OHMSS and CR.

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

The final battle with the toy soldiers is simply pathetic  ajb007/rolleyes
It reminded me a much of the Atari Battle in NSNA

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

Gassy Man wrote:

Dalton never quite looks comfortable when he's supposed to be having fun.

Yeah, Bond is supposed to be a man of leisure who doesn't just live for his job.  With his flirting for example, it's clear he's interested and the girl next to him is interested, but it doesn't feel like there's any chemistry.  It feels like they're in romance, but not with each other.

Here is how I can describe Dalton.  Think of a singer who spent years reading books on classical music and got a Ph D. in music.  They're quite good at singing, and know the ins and outs of songwriting.  And then, there are singers out there that just naturally have a good voice and their life experiences crafted the soul that would be woven into all of those songs.  Phil Collins is a pretty good singer but he can never be Aretha Franklin.

Connery, Craig and Moore felt more natural in their roles whereas Dalton really stretched himself into something he was not just to be faithful to the books.  I don't want to bash Dalton, because I think, when all is said and done, he's a really talented actor who did move the series in the right direction.  Dalton is overall underrated and he doesn't get enough praise for his real accomplishments.

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

Number24 wrote:

TLD is a very good Bond Movie, it just isn't a brilliant Bond movie like FRWL, OHMSS and CR.

FRWL basically has no equal. But TLD has a very literary Bond in a semi-cinematic environment. The mix works perfectly for me. As does LTK. We all have our favourites, and Dalton's are mine.
Folks who wear neon green trainers are more than likely to disagree. ajb007/shifty

Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
#1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.DN 5.GF/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

PROS.-

*Timothy Dalton.
* Gibraltar PTS
* A ha's theme song. I think it's fantastic.
* Possibly the best introduction of a new James Bond (only Connery's is better).
* The plot is magnificent. The twists and turns of Koskov's defection, then
* Bond's decisions  are very revealing of his character (he decides NOT to use his licence to kill twice, disobeying direct orders ).
* Maryan D'Abo. Very good performance as Kara. Perfectly conveys the naivety of the character.
* John Rhys-Davies. I always liked him, and he's perfect as Pushkin. You can tell he's a good guy and feel for Bond when he's ordered to kill him.
* Jeroen Krabbe as Koskov.- very solid actor, very good at being two-face (as he went on to prove in other movies).
* Great individual scenes (Koskov's defection, Bond's first encounter with Pushkin, the Prater scenes with a great "Third Man" feel).
* Great locations (Gibraltar, never used in a Bond, Vienna, Tangier, Morocco)
* Did I mention Timothy Dalton? ("stuff my orders, I only kill professionals...", "If I trusted Koskov we wouldn't be talking...") Wow...amazing delivery. That's the way I imagine Bond would talk in real life.

CONS

*Necros, a new Grant-like henchman.
* Joe Don Baker/Brad Whittaker.- he's a weak villain. Not menacing enough, not larger than life. In fact Joe Don Baker came back in GE as a comic relief sort of character. I can't imagine any other actor who played a villain in the series doing that.
* A very 80s drum machine-based John Barry score (sadly his last). Although it's not bad, and like much better his OP's or AVTAK's scores.

Overall, one of my favourite movies. It just has a great feel to it. Someone in ajb007 said that Dalton's perfomance is like "seeing a novel come to life". That's how I feel about TLD. I think Ian Fleming himself would have loved TLD.

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

Necros is a lot like Grant, now that I think about it.

On another topic.  It's really weird.  I was watching the Everything or Nothing documentary (released in 2012) with some recent Dalton interviews in it and his overall tone and demeanor in wanting more bloodlust in the Bond series.  And I'm like damn, this 2012-era Dalton has even more fire in his belly than 1987 Dalton!

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

Pros -

Great Locations
Great Soundtrack
Darker and more serious

Cons -

The Film drags during the middle a bit

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

More good than bad points for me & I agree with the opening post.

Just as a footnote I used to know someone who was on the personal staff of the lady to whom the yacht in the pre title sequence belonged.

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

There are cons granted, but there are Bond films with a lot more wrong with them than TLD.

The biggest thing wrong with the film are the villains. Necros is fine but Whitaker is pointless frankly. Personally I'd just get rid of him and that would free up more screen time for Koskov and we could get a proper show down between him and Bond rather than the limp finale.

Also Krabbe just doesnt bring enough menace. He's way too charming and affable which I quite like but he never shows a truly vicious side. I do like him in the scene by the pool where he craftily talks Whitaker into killing Saunders but these moments are few and far between. I think it says it all that the producers just have him arrested rather than killed at the end, probably because the audience would consider it a bit brutal for dear old Georgy to end up dead.

Other than that there isnt a lot wrong - the pipeline sequence I could happily lose and I really hate the laser on the Aston and the bit where the shed inexplicably sticks to the car but these are relatively minor gripes. Even the cinematography seems a little better than Glen's usual - although he reverted back to type for LTK which looks awful.

There is so much good stuff here that it is harsh to be overly critical though:

- great PTS
- a first 10 minutes that is Fleming's writing brought to life (the sniper sequence from the book is worth the admission alone)
- excellent performances from Dalton who, in the first half particularly nails Fleming's Bond and good support from D'abo, Rhys-Davies, Wheatley and Wisniewiski.
- Nice labyrinthine plot which spurned the classic quote from some reviewer 'you need a degree from MIT to understand it'. No - you just need not to be an X Factor/I'm a Celebrity watching moron.
- possibly the best stunt in all of Bond (sorry Rick Sylvester but all you really had to do was wait till the wind was in the right direction and pull the ripcord. BJ Worth and Jake Lombard perform some staggering stuff on that cargo net) - although I despise the inanity of Kara pointlessly opening the cargo door. Why did she do that? It always winds me up. Why not just have Bond and Necros bang into the switch or something?
- Good to see the Aston back (and it not being the f**king DB5 - take note GE, TND, CR and SF) and by and large I like the chase (laser and shed aside). The cello chase is quite inventive too.

By and large a great entry that just falls short of being in the very top bracket probably only due to its poor villains. Substitute a Goldfinger or a Silva for Koskov and Whitaker and we are practically there.

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

I've also always felt the finale of TLD was a bit weak. What could have been done? I think changing Joe Don Bakers resident would be good. He plays a pompous villan, so why not put him in a medieval castle in Morocco. This one would do:

http://www.ciee.org/study-abroad/images/cities/0035/headers/desktop/rabat-morocco-language-and-culture-studying-abroad-fort-castle.jpg

Bond could lead an SAS/SBS troop against the mercenary guards. There is already a raid in TLD, the one in Afghanistan. But that one is very different: it's on an airfield by day and the attackers are Afghan mujahedin on horseback. This one would be commandoes at night against a castle. I think a finale like this would be grander and more interesting to watch.

I think this is the proper role for SAS troops insted of the timid guards on Gibraltar in the PTS. The soldiers on Girbraltar should be Royal Marines or infantry. The stunt instructors should also have made better fight scenes betwen Bond and the guards in the PTS, some kind of quick and dirty tackle.

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

More good points then bad ones, eh?  ajb007/shifty

1. The "suddenly having a crush on Bond just because he flies onto the yacht"  ajb007/rolleyes
2. Dalton's overacted seriousness in the sniper  scene. And the banter with Saunders is just tv-format never convinced me  ajb007/rolleyes
3. Bond replacing the champagne - Moore would have gotten crucified for it  ajb007/rolleyes
4. Exploding milk bottles and strangling with a headphone cable - oh yes!  ajb007/rolleyes
5. The Aston Martin getting "winterized" when it's visually a different car  ajb007/rolleyes
6. Cool gadget car radio being able to receive police communications - we did that with analogue transistors 15 years before
7. Ah, I forgot the 90 degree turn in the pipeline with the "pig"  ajb007/rolleyes
8.  The landing of the Harriers is plain boring  ajb007/rolleyes
9. Salt corrosion -and Moore gets criticized for a wink in the FYEO car case  ajb007/rolleyes
10. Balloon popping as a metaphor - well  ajb007/rolleyes
11. Bond looking cool in a landau: Look at TSWLM and compare it with TLD Vienna scenes  ajb007/rolleyes
12. Bond meeting Kara again in the tent and the misty eyes when they hug - sweet  ajb007/rolleyes
13. Mentioned before: That loose stable in the car chase and cutting ice that can carry a car with the rim?  ajb007/rolleyes
14. Cello case as a mode of transport - good that they left the magic carpet away in the final cut  ajb007/rolleyes
15. Good Taliban - are you fecking kidding me? And people complain about a Tarzan yell or a slide wistle   ajb007/rolleyes
16. Bond being arrested by 2 chicks - how dangerous?  ajb007/rolleyes
17. Baker as a villain - laughable  ajb007/rolleyes
18. Again - good Taliban - are you fecking kidding me?  ajb007/rolleyes
19. That exploding bridge screams miniature  ajb007/rolleyes
20. Kara opening the hatch and no-one discovers it until it's open? There is a "close" button as well  ajb007/rolleyes
21. That Jeep is just pathetic  ajb007/rolleyes
22. And they are riding to dawn - yawn  ajb007/rolleyes
23. The baddies in the snow chase jumping over hills like winning the olympics  ajb007/rolleyes
24. Ghetto Blaster - how inventive  ajb007/rolleyes 

It's probably 10 years that I've seen TLD - I am sure that there are more - these are just from my memory.

Enough to put that boring movie to the bucket  ajb007/biggrin

Last edited by Higgins (14th Dec 2014 13:08)

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

Higgins wrote:

15. Good Taliban - are you fecking kidding me?

At the time, the Taliban were the good guys because they were fighting against a Soviet Afghanistan, and 007 does exist within the Cold War binary.  I don't see the problem with that.

Many of the other things on your list are nitpicks, mostly pointing out the silliness in the movie.  Perhaps its that you feel that they undermine Dalton's serious role; I'm not sure.

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

thewizardofice wrote:

There are cons granted, but there are Bond films with a lot more wrong with them than TLD.

The biggest thing wrong with the film are the villains. Necros is fine but Whitaker is pointless frankly. Personally I'd just get rid of him and that would free up more screen time for Koskov and we could get a proper show down between him and Bond rather than the limp finale.

- Nice labyrinthine plot which spurned the classic quote from some reviewer 'you need a degree from MIT to understand it'. No - you just need not to be an X Factor/I'm a Celebrity watching moron.

By and large a great entry that just falls short of being in the very top bracket probably only due to its poor villains. Substitute a Goldfinger or a Silva for Koskov and Whitaker and we are practically there.

2 of the first 3 Bond movies featured great villains, so it's become a standard of the series onward.  Great villain doesn't always mean great movie (A View to a Kill, for example).  But with some films, it is the deciding factor of the movie.

Goldfinger hinged on its superb villain, but with Skyfall, Silva was one of numerous merits.  I'm sure if Silva was replaced with 3 mediocre side-villains, Skyfall would be a 7/10 in my book (instead of an 8 or 9) as well. 

But all in all, the fact that TLD is still good without a memorable villain is kind of a compliment to the story, considering how many other Bond movies wouldn't be good without their villains.

I think that all movies with 3-4 villains instead of 1 get confused.  It's hard to give adequate screen time to all of them.  Necros feels like a less significant Red Grant.  Whitaker could've been a really cool kooky villain with more effort invested, but otherwise, he was fine as just a minor character.  And Koskov, while he was the core villain, he had very little screen time so I just ended up forgetting about him half of the time.

On the story, it was more complex than most other Bond films.  No, it wasn't a total mind**** of a puzzle and if most people with a decent amount intelligence sat and thought about it, they would have gotten it.

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

I found this ITV documentary from when TLD came out. I think many of the interviews are interesting. Cubby says Roger Moore was considered to play Bond in Dr No, among other tidbits.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWLg5knlXXs

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

Higgins wrote:

More good points then bad ones, eh?  ajb007/shifty

1. The "suddenly having a crush on Bond just because he flies onto the yacht"  ajb007/rolleyes
2. Dalton's overacted seriousness in the sniper  scene. And the banter with Saunders is just tv-format never convinced me  ajb007/rolleyes
3. Bond replacing the champagne - Moore would have gotten crucified for it  ajb007/rolleyes
4. Exploding milk bottles and strangling with a headphone cable - oh yes!  ajb007/rolleyes
5. The Aston Martin getting "winterized" when it's visually a different car  ajb007/rolleyes
6. Cool gadget car radio being able to receive police communications - we did that with analogue transistors 15 years before
7. Ah, I forgot the 90 degree turn in the pipeline with the "pig"  ajb007/rolleyes
8.  The landing of the Harriers is plain boring  ajb007/rolleyes
9. Salt corrosion -and Moore gets criticized for a wink in the FYEO car case  ajb007/rolleyes
10. Balloon popping as a metaphor - well  ajb007/rolleyes
11. Bond looking cool in a landau: Look at TSWLM and compare it with TLD Vienna scenes  ajb007/rolleyes
12. Bond meeting Kara again in the tent and the misty eyes when they hug - sweet  ajb007/rolleyes
13. Mentioned before: That loose stable in the car chase and cutting ice that can carry a car with the rim?  ajb007/rolleyes
14. Cello case as a mode of transport - good that they left the magic carpet away in the final cut  ajb007/rolleyes
15. Good Taliban - are you fecking kidding me? And people complain about a Tarzan yell or a slide wistle   ajb007/rolleyes
16. Bond being arrested by 2 chicks - how dangerous?  ajb007/rolleyes
17. Baker as a villain - laughable  ajb007/rolleyes
18. Again - good Taliban - are you fecking kidding me?  ajb007/rolleyes
19. That exploding bridge screams miniature  ajb007/rolleyes
20. Kara opening the hatch and no-one discovers it until it's open? There is a "close" button as well  ajb007/rolleyes
21. That Jeep is just pathetic  ajb007/rolleyes
22. And they are riding to dawn - yawn  ajb007/rolleyes
23. The baddies in the snow chase jumping over hills like winning the olympics  ajb007/rolleyes
24. Ghetto Blaster - how inventive  ajb007/rolleyes 

It's probably 10 years that I've seen TLD - I am sure that there are more - these are just from my memory.

Enough to put that boring movie to the bucket  ajb007/biggrin

You forgot the paper quality of the poster. I had it for many years and it was really bad quality.

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

I'm a bit psychic and I'm picking up a subtle vibration that Maybe Higgins dislikes TLD !

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

Higgins wrote:

More good points then bad ones, eh?  ajb007/shifty

1. The "suddenly having a crush on Bond just because he flies onto the yacht"  ajb007/rolleyes
2. Dalton's overacted seriousness in the sniper  scene. And the banter with Saunders is just tv-format never convinced me  ajb007/rolleyes
3. Bond replacing the champagne - Moore would have gotten crucified for it  ajb007/rolleyes
4. Exploding milk bottles and strangling with a headphone cable - oh yes!  ajb007/rolleyes
5. The Aston Martin getting "winterized" when it's visually a different car  ajb007/rolleyes
6. Cool gadget car radio being able to receive police communications - we did that with analogue transistors 15 years before
7. Ah, I forgot the 90 degree turn in the pipeline with the "pig"  ajb007/rolleyes
8.  The landing of the Harriers is plain boring  ajb007/rolleyes
9. Salt corrosion -and Moore gets criticized for a wink in the FYEO car case  ajb007/rolleyes
10. Balloon popping as a metaphor - well  ajb007/rolleyes
11. Bond looking cool in a landau: Look at TSWLM and compare it with TLD Vienna scenes  ajb007/rolleyes
12. Bond meeting Kara again in the tent and the misty eyes when they hug - sweet  ajb007/rolleyes
13. Mentioned before: That loose stable in the car chase and cutting ice that can carry a car with the rim?  ajb007/rolleyes
14. Cello case as a mode of transport - good that they left the magic carpet away in the final cut  ajb007/rolleyes
15. Good Taliban - are you fecking kidding me? And people complain about a Tarzan yell or a slide wistle   ajb007/rolleyes
16. Bond being arrested by 2 chicks - how dangerous?  ajb007/rolleyes
17. Baker as a villain - laughable  ajb007/rolleyes
18. Again - good Taliban - are you fecking kidding me?  ajb007/rolleyes
19. That exploding bridge screams miniature  ajb007/rolleyes
20. Kara opening the hatch and no-one discovers it until it's open? There is a "close" button as well  ajb007/rolleyes
21. That Jeep is just pathetic  ajb007/rolleyes
22. And they are riding to dawn - yawn  ajb007/rolleyes
23. The baddies in the snow chase jumping over hills like winning the olympics  ajb007/rolleyes
24. Ghetto Blaster - how inventive  ajb007/rolleyes 

It's probably 10 years that I've seen TLD - I am sure that there are more - these are just from my memory.

Enough to put that boring movie to the bucket  ajb007/biggrin

Dear oh dear.

Bond changing the champagne , the harriers landing (which is what about a 30 second scene?) and the baddies being too competent at skiing? Talk about thin pickings. If this is enough to make you write off a classic Bond film then I presume that theres not one film in the series that you like? Even FRWL has the waving at the microfilm shot so I presume that is also put in 'the bucket' too?

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

Thunderpussy wrote:

I'm a bit psychic and I'm picking up a subtle vibration that Maybe Higgins dislikes TLD !

How could you possibly guess that?  ajb007/biggrin

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

thewizardofice wrote:

Dear oh dear.

Bond changing the champagne , the harriers landing (which is what about a 30 second scene?) and the baddies being too competent at skiing? Talk about thin pickings. If this is enough to make you write off a classic Bond film then I presume that theres not one film in the series that you like? Even FRWL has the waving at the microfilm shot so I presume that is also put in 'the bucket' too?

Speaking about nitpicking 2 points in an attempt to ridicule my argument.
And the skiers look plain silly and not " competent"  ajb007/wink

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

The Plane Fight with Necros never fails to amaze me  ajb007/martini

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

+1, totally brilliant fight and stunt sequence.  ajb007/cheers

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

Thunderpussy wrote:

+1, totally brilliant fight and stunt sequence.  ajb007/cheers

I remember well back in '87 in the theatre being truly amazed by that sequence... that one scene stands out as my best Bond memory of my 20's!

Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
#1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.DN 5.GF/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT

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Re: Pros and Cons: The Living Daylights

I would have loved to have seen that filmed. The few behind the scenes photos I have seen have been awesome!

chrisisall wrote:
Thunderpussy wrote:

+1, totally brilliant fight and stunt sequence.  ajb007/cheers

I remember well back in '87 in the theatre being truly amazed by that sequence... that one scene stands out as my best Bond memory of my 20's!

I've always wanted to have Christmas in Turkey