Living Daylights: Recut, The
- Cut modern MGM logo.
- Added “Recut” to title.
- Cut Bond’s Russian contact distracting her supervisor with her breasts while Bond activates the pipeline. This is an unfunny waste of time that adds no real tension to the story.
- Recut Bond’s arrival at safe house so that we stay with Bond through his exit from Q-Branch, to his arrival in the Aston Martin, to the meeting with Koskov. This gives a more urgent pace compared to the original scene order (after Bond leaves Q-Branch, we cut to a milk farm). All of the scenes involving the milkman impersonator are still intercut with the safe house meeting, but they are moved down.
- Cut folding couch at Q-Branch. There’s plenty of humour in Q’s scenes already, so this isn’t needed.
- Trimmed bathroom attendant watching Bond take the cello case into bathroom stall. This goes on slightly too long.
- Moved Bond and Kara’s arrival in Vienna so that it occurs directly after Bond and Kara cross the border into Austria. This improves the pacing by letting us get to know Kara more before we are introduced to Whitaker, a relatively minor character.
- Cut surveillance camera watching Pushkin, as well as the boat where the camera images are being transmitted. We learn later that the camera and boat belong to Felix Leiter, but he has been cut entirely from the movie.
- Cut Pushkin and Whitaker talking about whether military commanders are butchers or surgeons. Neither character comes off well here – Pushkin’s viewpoint isn’t believable coming from the head of the KGB, and Whitaker smiling takes the sting out of his words.
- Moved scene featuring Whitaker and Koskov discussing their next plan so that it occurs directly after Pushkin reveals his suspicions about their scheme and threatens Whitaker. This change is intended to make Whitaker and Koskov appear more calculating and competent. In the original film, it feels like Pushkin can take care of these villains himself, without Bond’s involvement – in the edit, we learn about their next plan immediately and how it will involve Bond.
- Cut Koskov lounging at poolside with girls. It’s amusing to see him relaxing after the KGB has supposedly captured him, but the scene makes him too unthreatening.
- Cut CIA girls bringing Bond to Felix Leiter’s boat. Leiter’s dialogue is terrible and so is the actor. The scene exists only so Bond can explain that he faked Pushkin’s murder – however, the viewer should be able to figure that out easily enough. Note: the scene where the girls pick up Bond in the street isn’t removed because it’s needed for pacing, however silly it may be.
- Cut Whitaker’s line “Now we can move. I’ll signal Amsterdam to ship the diamonds.” This line makes the diamonds seem too important, and we don’t need to know about them before Bond does.
- Removed officer inspecting the heart transplant container. This is a weird scene, with rushed editing and badly dubbed dialogue. It’s not important to see the heart transplant before Bond and Kara see it, anyway.
- Added shot of heart transplant that was cut from previous scene when Bond and Kara open the transplant container.
- Cut Bond explaining that the opium is “worth half a billion dollars on the streets of New York.” This raises an unimportant question. What does New York have to do with a Russian/Afghan opium sale? Answer: nothing.
- Cut Kamran defending selling opium to the Russians and talking about needing money to buy arms. This isn’t important and confuses the explanation of what’s going on.
- Trimmed Bond and Kamran discussing the Snow Leopard Brotherhood. This group isn’t important to the story, so they don’t need to be emphasized.
- Cut Kamran shouting “Women!” before chasing after Kara. Boring and unfunny humour.
- Shortened Bond setting up bomb in back of truck. This sequence is too long and shows nothing important.
- Shortened battle in desert by approx. 1 min. For most of the sequence, Bond’s plane is stuck on the tarmac and the villains hide under a truck. Not very exciting, so these moments were reduced. Also cut Kamran bulldozing a building with naked men inside, and cut Kara defeating a soldier who attacks her. She gets another action moment later, so this isn’t needed.
- Cut Kara nearly crashing the plane into a cliff. This makes her look extremely dimwitted.
- Cut Felix Leiter talking to Bond on headset. Leiter doesn’t appear in the movie.
- Cut Bond shooting his entire clip at Whitaker’s face shield, as well as Whitaker’s line "You've had your eight, now I'll have my eighty.” This makes Bond look incompetent – he could have easily aimed elsewhere on Whitaker’s body.
- Added faneditor credit.
- Applied colour correction throughout to reduce tinting that was done on the Blu-ray release of the film.
- Other minor changes as needed.
I enjoyed this a lot. I haven't actually seen the original but opted to watch this instead of the copy in my collection. This felt good and went down easy. I read through the changes after the movie, and while I typically like the Leiter character, it sounds like he was really unnecessary in the film, so happy he was cut. The rest of the changes made sense to me just reading them, and I appreciate the goal of the edit was to take a more serious tone.
The whole thing seemed pretty seamless to me from an editing standpoint. The visuals were great, colors looked good. My only technical gripes are lack of surround sound and subtitles, which I understand aren't exactly easy to deal with in terms of editing, especially given potential mixing of sources, etc.
I really appreciate the time taken on this edit and was happy to watch it as part of my bond marathon.
A very nice edit of one of my favourite Bond films. The cuts are very well placed and the flow of the film is much better than in the theatrical cut, in my opinion. It seems a lot more focused and also closer to Timothy Dalton's style regarding the use of humour eg. one-liners etc.
The only complaint I have - and it's a very minor one - is that the deletion of Felix Leiter makes the scene with the girls who take Bond for a ride seem a bit odd. However, this is clearly stated in the editor's comments regarding "changes". The way that particular scene plays out in the edit makes it look like it is simply a coincidence that these two girls show up and get Bond out of danger. But again, it is a minor complaint and I'd much rather have this somewhat strange short scene than any of that Felix Leiter nonsense. I guess it had to be done ;-)
Overall, I highly recommend this edit if you are a fan of Dalton's Bond.