panos75’s review published on Letterboxd:
Bond's American friend and colleague Felix Leiter arrests notorious druglord Sanchez. But Sanchez manages to escape, maims Leiter and murders his wife. Now Bond is determined to take revenge and he has to do that without any official help from MI6, which considers him a rogue agent.
We are in the eighties and action films in the mold of "Rambo" and "Commando" are dominating the Hollywood landscape. For his last outing, veteran director John Glenn decides to take a page out of their playbook and turn Bond from a suave spy into a violent action hero, like the ones portrayed by Stallone and Schwarzenegger. The end result is the best entry of the franchise in an overall underwhelming decade. "License to Kill" is an exciting film, full of visceral thrills and sadistic violence. Even during the quieter moments, 007 exhibits a cynicism that is almost unprecedented. This time it's personal, and it shows.
If there is something that could make this movie better is a bit more of humor. It's understandable why Bond has become more dour, but he could use a couple more of his classic one-liners, nonetheless.
Timothy Dalton, in his second outing as the iconic agent, is more comfortable and brings an edge to the character that was sorely lacking during the Moore years. In hindsight, he blazed the path for Daniel Craig with this performance. Robert Davi plays with confidence the most realistic baddie in the history of the franchise. Carey Lowell is noticeable because she acts more like a sidekick than a typical Bond girl.
While "License to Kill" seemed to inject a much needed dose of adrenaline into a declining series, audiences didn't seem to agree, which meant the Dalton era was over. Nevertheless, IMHO this was the best Bond film of modern times, up until 2012 and the arrival of "Skyfall".