My new article is up at Anorak now, and it looks back at Timothy Dalton's era as 007, circa 1987 - 1989.
As James Bond, agent 007, Timothy Dalton only lived twice, unfortunately. he actor, who long performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, starred in two of EON’s Bond films, The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989) and his brief tenure as the super-spy remains a controversial one with Bond fans to this day
Here's a snippet of the article:
"In broad terms, the Timothy Dalton era of James Bond films dispatched with the cheeky humor, super-heroics, and comic-book villains of the Roger Moore era, and attempted to reground Ian Fleming’s beloved character in the real world.
In The Living Daylights, for instance, Dalton’s Bond battled Whitaker (Joe Don Baker), an egotistical U.S army officer clearly patterned on the disgraced Lt. Colonel, Oliver North, in a plot involving an illegal weapons-for-drugs deal and reflecting the Iran-Contra Scandal.
And in Licence to Kill, Bond combated a Pablo Escobar-type drug lord, Sanchez (Robert Davi) “south of the border.”
Both villains seemed ripped from contemporary headlines, and were a far-cry from the likes of Stromberg (The Spy Who Loved Me) or Drax (Moonraker)…men seeking to cause global Armageddon and create a “master race” under the sea, and in outer space, respectively.
The Bond films of the Timothy Dalton Age — arriving shortly after President Reagan’s first public comments on AIDS on March 31st, 1987 — also played down 007’s penchant for womanizing, and stressed realistic, even gritty action instead.
In a very real sense then, both The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill forecast the 21st century direction of the beloved franchise, dealing explicitly with Bond’s internal angst, and occasional obsession with revenge.
Before Daniel Craig went that very route, Dalton’s Bond blazed the trail.
Harking back to the literary source material, Dalton’s James Bond was frequently on edge, and not at all happily ensconced on Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Indeed, much of The Living Daylightsconcerns Bond’s freedom (or lack thereof…) to interpret orders as he sees fit and not execute them mindlessly, as a martinet.
And if “M” — his superior at M.I. 6 – didn’t t like his interpretation of said orders, well… he could fire Bond.
Indeed, Bond would be just fine with that outcome, as 007 himself notes caustically early in The Living Daylights.
Reflecting on the character and franchise re-boot of the Timothy Dalton age, I submit below my choices for five great character moments from this span in the franchise’s history."