The Living Daylights ★★★★

A well-defined and robust transition from the Roger Moore era, John Glen's "The Living Daylights" introduces Timothy Dalton as James Bond and offers a straightforward, entertaining, and neatly assembled action epic. With its solid story and hearty adventure beats, the film is not only a strong entry in the 007 canon but a riveting action film in its own right.

Its story grounded in timely realities, "The Living Daylights" finds Commander James Bond of Her Majesty's Secret Service involved in ferrying Russian generals to the west and riding with Afghanistan's mujahideen. It is a compelling mix of Cold War plotting, and real world adventure. Of course, being a Bond film, the story puts a premium on electric action and personality over politics; but the film has its narrative feet firmly planted on the ground.

Dalton makes a terrific James Bond. His 007 is strikingly human, mixing authentic touches of humor with a tortured brutality. The film's tone soundly reflects its new Bond: earnest in comparison to previous chapter, yet pulsing with touches of soul and bursts of mild humor. Dalton is given solid supporting characters who also elevate the entire affair.

The film is visualized with an intriguing texture and sweep, making the most of its varied locations. Glen's action sequences are excitingly staged, and he is able to develop potent stretches of tension and suspense. Dispensing with the silliness of recent Bond films, Glen creates something weighty yet exhilarating.

"The Living Daylights" is a top-tier James Bond film. Sturdy, enjoyable, and boasting an inviting energy, the film is consistently effecting and always appealing. The impressive action outing reinvigorates its franchise, setting it on an engaging and decidedly steady path.

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