M: This private vendetta of yours could easily compromise Her Majesty's government. You have an assignment, and I expect you to carry it out objectively and professionally.
James Bond: Then you have my resignation, sir.
M: We're not a country club, 007!
In 1989, Timothy Dalton took up the Walther PPK and role of James Bond for the second and last time. This movie, directed by John Glen is harder than all previous exploits, Bond is driven to avenge his friend Felix Leiter, who had been mutilated by drug baron Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi). As the mission is not sanctioned by MI-6, Bond even gives up his License to Kill. Set entirely in Miami and Mexico, and adopting a harder style, this is the most american Bond, following more in the tradition of american action movies than the Bond tradition.
Franz Sanchez: Señor Bond, you got big cojones. You come here, to my place, without references, carrying a piece, throwing around a lot of money... but you should know something: nobody saw you come in, so nobody has to see you go out.
The plot of the film is down-to-earth and believable, although in places there is the extravagance demanded in a Bond film. It begins with a happy occasion: shortly after capturing the Drug baron Franz Sanchez, Bond's friend Felix Leiter gets married. But Sanchez escapes, and proceeds to teach Leiter a lesson, killing his wife and throwing Leiter to the sharks,severely mutilating him. Bond refuses to drop the matter even when ordered to by M, his license revoked.
Checking Leiter's files, Bond is led to Pam Bouvier (Carey Lovell), a CIA operative. He meets her but they barely escape before flying to Isthmus City, Sanchez's home. There Bond starts spending big money and works his way into Sanchez's trust. He is taken along with top Eastern dealers to Sanchez's base, but is finally recognised by henchman Dario. Bond escapes, starting a fire which eventually blows up the base. Meanwhile Sanchez tries to make off with four tankers full of drugs dissolved in petrol.
Helped by Pam, Bond catches up with the convoy, destroying the various trucks and closing in on Sanchez. They fight hand-to-hand until their tanker crashes, and Sanchez recovers first. He is about to kill Bond with a machete when Bond burns Sanchez's fuel-soaked body with a joke lighter given to him by Felix and Della.
We have two Bond girls, who complement each other perfectly. The gritty, foul-mouthed pilot Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell) is an excellent contrast to the airheaded but enjoyable Lupe (Talisa Soto). Sanchez's kept girl who is whipped for betraying him early in the film, and shows more airheadedness by sleeping with Bond in Sanchez's palace. Krest spies on her and she gets her revenge on him by helping Bond cause his downfall.
Franz Sanchez: What did he promise you? His heart? Give her his heart.
To lay out the toys from Q-Branch, I think I better let the man speak for himself:
James Bond: This is no place for you, Q. Go home.
Q: Oh, don't be an idiot, 007. I know exactly what you're up to, and quite frankly, you're going to need my help.
Remember, if it hadn't been for Q Branch, you'd have been dead long ago.
Q: Everything for a man on holiday. Explosive alarm clock -- guaranteed never to wake up anyone who uses it. Dentonite toothpaste -- to be used sparingly, the latest in plastic explosive...
This Bond lead back to the roots of Fleming's original Bond character, but broke with the spirit of the series. This upset many fans, which, together with production problems, to a long hiatus, lead to Dalton not playing the role in the next part. The next Bond, Goldeneye, would star Pierce Brosnan, who was originally supposed to replace Moore, instead.
To finish up and complete the writeup, here is a nice link to all things Bond:
Previous Bond: The Living Daylights, Next Bond: Goldeneye