Living Daylights, The (1987)

The Living Daylights (1987), directed by John Glen.

James Bond discovers that a Russian general who defects and then vanishes is wrapped up in an arms smuggling operation that...well, I'm forgetting already. It's inconsequential.

Bond #15 is Timothy Dalton's first of two. He brings a darker, more cynical and serious edge to the character. We have no doubt that he is an assassin. He has a dry and understated sense of humor.

He's better than the material given him. The plot is weak and the villains feeble. They just can't get away from the gadget silliness and spoof stunts like using a cello case as a sled. Dalton handles it well and if you subtract the unfortunate bits, it's a glossy and action-packed average entry in the series. Apart from swimsuit art there is less sex content than usual. He's a fighter not (principally) a lover.

The locations include Gibralter, Bratislava, Vienna, Tangiers (all on location) and Soviet-occupied Afghanistan (probably actually Morroco).

In the latter country Bond allies with colorful Mujahideen who deal in opium and assault an airbase on horseback. How the wheel turns. It makes your head spin sometimes.

Available on Blu-ray.