Living Daylights was by far my least fave Bond movie, even taking Spectre into account. This edit let’s me swap their rankings for sure. However, it remains a dour entry for me.
Lapis has immeasurably improved this; no question. It flows well, the jokes are not missed, and frankly the cello removal is a gift, however what remains is a dour/sour performance which to me feels wooden too often. My enjoyment score is improved for sure in the original, and if Enjoyment category was Improvement, it would have been another 10…
Timothy Dalton is my favourite Bond (in my opinion definitely the best actor to play the character) and The Living Daylights is among the few films in the series that I consider to be objectively great. Perhaps it is no surprise then that I feel that this edit cuts away just a little too much and I find myself missing certain parts, including bits of Q’s lab (Moore-ish as they are); Necros’ original introduction; the conclusion of the snow chase and the full ending scene. I must commend the cutting around the notoriously sub-par appearance of Felix Leiter, something that has always bothered me especially considering his significance in the following film (with a different actor no less), but this leaves me wondering if somebody not familiar with the theatrical version might be confused as to how Bond deduces the scheme without this bit of exposition.
Still, I cannot think of another way around this and maybe it doesn’t matter, the film is still enjoyable and the actual cuts themselves are seamless whether it is the excision of a cringeworthy moment or the removal of an entire scene. It would not take the place of the original for personal viewing, but may work better for introducing somebody new to the story.
Lapis gives us more Dalton to enjoy with this fine tweeking of a timeless Bond adventure. I remember recording this in the spring of 1998 and watching it endlessly, Dalton is a masterclass as Bond. Many of the movie's overly comedic gags and loony set pieces are cut for this, many to great effect. Some scenes go by smoothly with the cuts (like in Q branch, the jail, and Whitaker), others (like the trimming of the Cello sled and the rooftop chase), while not jarring, seem incomplete and take the audience familiar with the movie by surprise (rooftop chase in particular because there is very strong background music playing which, either due to a happy accident or to Lapis' credit, is drowned out before the scene ends by gunfire so it's not too noticeable)
Any faults I point out here are mostly due to maintaining a feeling of immersion and being overly familiar with the movie. You might find new audiences who are indifferent or dont' mind the changes, you might not even notice any, and if you can, then that's Lapis' job done. I do recommend this edit.
The movie is dull and that's a fact. All the edits are excelent and help the narrative flow better. Silly stuff is gone and it's more of a spy film than before, like the books. It's better than the original, without a doubt, but the source material isn't just that great to start with.
This fanedit will also replace the original blu-ray in future viewings and 007 marathons.
Lapis Molari did a great job, and it's recommended!
The Living Daylights is an entry I've always had mixed feelings about. The good part is that Timothy Dalton is a really excellent Bond, for me second only to Connery, and the movie itself is interesting and entertaining enough during its first two thirds. The not so good part is that it contains too many Moore leftover traits, both villains are terribly weak (whose idea was it to play Koskov, a KGB general, as an used car salesman?), and the whole Mujahideen thing in the third act is a bit too Rambo III for my tastes. Oh well... guess they wanted to use what was making the headlines those days. A bit of a curate's egg, but one I still like to revisit from time to time because of Dalton.
And my next revisions are likely to be of this cut. It can only be tweaked to a point, of course, and still needs stronger villains, but I was happy to see most of the Moore-isms gone. I would have gone a bit further and removed Rosika's "distraction tactics" as well, but that's just personal preference. The rest of the changes were more than welcome, and I for once did not miss Felix at all. The fact that it was the worst Felix ever by far definitely helps the cause, of course.
There is, though, one bit that I didn't think worked too well (I almost feel bad pointing one perceived flaw in each and every Lapis' Bond edit - nothing personal, I swear!) and that'd be the ending. Finishing the movie with just Kara playing with no Bond in sight felt strange, almost surreal in fact, as in we are suddenly somewhere indeterminate with no real reference about what's going to become of her. Didn't feel like a Bond ending to me. In my opinion it needed to keep the dressing room scene. It may not be the best classic Bond ending, but it's still a classic Bond ending, and ending on Kara's concert is not. For my tastes, of course.
Editing itself is very well done, though there's a slightly iffy audio transition: at 1:09:58, when we cut from the rooftop chase to Pushkin's "corpse", the music change feels a bit unnatural. Probably not much of a way around it, though, and I don't certainly miss the harem bit. Otherwise the technical aspects are superb.
All in all, another very solid entry in the Lapis Molari Bond series, and another one I'll sooner rewatch than the original. Well done!