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The broodingly Byronic Timothy Dalton made an impressive debut as 007 in this excellent espionage thriller, which takes Bond from Vienna to Tangier to Soviet-occupied Afghanistan as he pursues a renegade KGB general.
Broodingly Byronic stage actor Timothy Dalton took over the Bond mantle from Roger Moore in this excellent entry in the series, and what he lacked in humour he made up for in grit, toughness and believability. In Prague, Bond aids with the defection of Soviet General Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe), who claims that his KGB superior has instigated an assassination program against Western agents. When Koskov is promptly snatched back from an MI6 safe house in a daring daylight raid, Bond discovers that the wily general has staged both his defection and recapture as part of a byzantine smuggling scheme he has entered into with a yahoo Yankee arms dealer (Joe Don Baker). With Koskov's lovely mistress (Maryam d'Abo) in tow, Bond pursues the renegade general into Afghanistan, where he teams up with the Mujahideen rebels for a blazing battle against the Soviet invaders. Though its le Carré-ish plot is more than a little hard to follow, The Living Daylights contains some of the best action sequences in the series' history — the thrilling opening chase along the rocky cliffs of Gibraltar, an epic firefight on a Soviet airbase, a tense aerial battle as Bond dangles precariously on a transport plane's cargo net — and a fine, forceful performance from the ever underrated Dalton.