It's a shame, as the film on the whole has a lot to offer. Dalton is terrific as Bond, arguably the closest anyone has got to playing the character as Fleming wrote him, and Robert Davi's Sanchez is one of the most realistic and finest villains in the long history of the series. However, the film is not without its problems. Considering John Glen is an experienced Bond director, the film feels somewhat clumsy at times, particularly in some of the editing and most noticeably in the performance of Talisa Soto as Sanchez's girlfriend, Lupe. Also, such is the serious nature of Dalton's Bond, the few attempts at humor do not work that well.
** A huge thank you to Problem Eliminator for allowing me to use some of the ideas from his Licence to Kill edit **
-Cut a couple of brief shots during the divers rescuing Sanchez and Killifer, to remove obvious use of stunt doubles
-Some scenes at the wedding party are trimmed
-Zoomed into picture as Bond arrives at Felix’s house, as it’s too obvious that the extras walking on the sidewalk suddenly quicken their pace to ensure they are not in the way
-Credits now start just as Bond has discovered Felix has been murdered
-Cut scene of Bond calling for an ambulance and the subsequent scene when the CIA have arrived
-Cut scene at hospital as Felix is no longer alive in this edit
-Trimmed scene where Krest visits Lupe, to remove line about Sanchez fixing a beauty competition for her
-Trimmed scene where Bond causes havoc as Krest attempts to off load a drug shipment in exchange for money, to remove the shot of Bond smiling as he flies off piloting the plane – As Bond is on a personal vendetta and it’s still very early after Felix has been killed, it seems unlikely he would smile to himself like that. Also fixed a jump cut as Krest fires his pistol
-Heavily trimmed fight scene at the Barrelhead bar, to make it less like an old fashioned bar brawl where suddenly everyone is fighting each other. Also replaced the Dirty Love song, with Richard Marx’s “Satisfied”, which was released in 1989 when this film was released
-Slightly trimmed scene of Bond and Pam on the speedboat, now ending on them kissing, leaving the rest to the viewer’s imagination
-Cut exterior shot of Bond arriving at the bank, as you hardly see him due to a poorly structured shot where passing extras get in the way
-Trimmed Professor Joe’s shots as Sanchez watches from his casino
-Trimmed scene of Bond meeting Sanchez for the first time – we no longer see Bond searched. This is partly to trim down the Professor Joe scenes playing on TV in the background
-Scene with Bond and Pam meeting Q trimmed
-When Bond arrives back at the casino this scene is shortened and begins with Bond picking up the drinks tray and impersonating a waiter
-As Bond abseils down the casino building, have cut the sequence so the rope is no longer in plain view outside the window where Sanchez is
-Cut scene where Lupe tries to warn Bond to stay at Sanchez’s place
-As Pam and Bond are aboard the wavekrest planting the drug money to set Krest up, have slightly trimmed scene of Pam running into the corner to hide, to make it more believable that she is not seen
-Cut scene with Lupe warning Bond that Sanchez is onto him – this is to help avoid any love triangle developing
-Heavily recut sequence where Lupe warns Pam and Q that Bond is in danger – it now plays so she warns them, but does not say that she loves James so much and doesn’t know what she would do if anything should happen to him
-Cut sequence of Q dressed as a road sweeper – instead we see the point of view from Q using binoculars to spy on Sanchez and report to Pam
-Finale at Sanchez’s base restructured. This includes trimming Pam’s meeting with Professor Joe, removing Bond’s awful one liner that “he came to dead end”, and the tanker chase which is altered so we no longer see Bond doing a wheelie in his tanker truck. Involves audio replacement work
-Cut scene with Felix at the hospital
-Trimmed final scene at the party to ensure that there is no real indication that Lupe was properly involved in a love triangle. We still see her kiss Bond, and Pam gets jealous, but that’s all
-Cut ridiculous scene of the Fish statue winking
I've had a love/hate relationship with this film. It's not the best Bond, but it's the only one I owned on Laserdisc back in the day so I watched it often. I therefore watched this edit critically: with high expectations and great familiarity. The result was both rewarding and frustrating.
Rewarding because most of LastSurvivor's concepts are clear improvements to the story. Frustrating because the execution of those concepts, with the limitation of available material, results in narrative gaps. Not technically, the visual editing is flawless, but the flow of the story is jumpy. Although the cut bits were bad, their removal creates noticeable jumps.
Rewarding because most of the sound replacement work is unnoticeable. Frustrating because some of them are. I find the new song in the bar sounds like an overlay, intended for the viewer's ears instead of playing inside the space for the characters. A few times background music cuts too abruptly between shots. Not a hard cut, but still unexpectedly sudden.
One moment puzzles me: We open on Killifer with Sanchez, then the wedding where Killifer walks in, then back to Killifer with Sanchez. Is that wedding scene a flashback or is Sanchez being loaded so close to the wedding venue that Killifer can go back and forth?
The lasting takeaway from watching this edit is rewarding because many BIG narrative improvements work perfectly well. Top marks that Leiter dies (I have nothing against this Leiter, it just serves the story better) and the love triangle is removed. On the whole, this edit improves the frustrating story. Individually the improvements are solid, but collectively they remind me of "the whole is less than the sum of its parts".
Lastsurvivor has cracked the case!
A project that proved to be quite complex at times, altering Licence to Kill to work with a new narrative pays off here. Borrowing some elements of another editor helped point LS in the directions he wanted to take, and the result is a masterclass in editing and pacing that makes this Bond a skilled contender for the best entry in the series...certainly the best entry in LS' series of Bond edits to date just for the challenges and frustrations involved, and he managed to overcome them.
A solid film and a hard-fought victory in the saga of man vs the edit!
Bond is back and with Last Survivor's help, he has never been better!
Another thoroughly enjoyable Bond edit by LS. Gone is the action packed traditional opening. In its stead, is a darker, more intimate toned opening which continues through the rest of the movie as Bond embarks on journey of cold vengeneance. Only nitpick here, the pre-credit opening does feel a tad bit longer than normal.
Some clever edit magic done on the opening titles, such as inserting the License Revoked title card and the new scene replacement/transition through the camera lens -- marvelous stuff!!!
Lots of small trims/cuts to keep the tone consistant, most completely unnoticeable. The subplot of the love triangle has been expertly removed -- thank goodness! It was the most painful element of the original to watch lol.
Audio replacement work -- WOW!!! Last Survivor is now the reigning master in this department. I know he made changes but the movie gods help me, most of them went by me completely unnoticed until he pointed them out in his commentary. BRAVO!
And the commentary! What can I say at this point that I have not said many times before? Deeply informative and entertaining. What more could you want or need? Professional home media bonus content creators should take lessons from Last Survivor on how to do good commentary.
Highly recommended! A fan edit by one of our Best!!! You can not go wrong. :)