Timothy Dalton was, I think a pretty good Bond. But his second outing, License to Kill, was definitely not a good Bond film. It very nearly derailed the series. It took a long time to get another one made. But by the time they got it on screen, it seemed like they knew what they were doing.
Pierce Brosnan was almost the Bond of the 80s, but he couldn’t get out of his Remington Steele commitment. Thankfully, the producers didn’t forget about him when the 90s rolled around, and he was brought on board for Goldeneye. This film follows most of the tropes of classic Bond, but often with a twist of some sort. He has a super-cool car, but it’s (horrors) German! He has a truly dangerous villain to contend with, but (surprise) it’s a former British secret agent (Sean Bean)! And, believe it or not, M is now a (wait-for-it) woman!
Now, several films later, none of this seems odd. Brosnan’s bond drove a bunch of BMWs as the series progressed, Judi Dench proved the best M in history, and they replayed the former-agent-as-bad-guy game in Skyfall. But at the time, this all felt new and exciting. And, apart from arguably the best Bond villain in history, they also threw a lot of great guest stars at us. Let’s recap, shall we?
- Alan Cumming as a doofy computer programmer.
- Robbie Coltrane as a Russian crime boss.
- Famke Janssen as a crazy-hot and, also, simply crazy assassin.
- Joe Don Baker as a guileless CIA helper dude.
- Tcheky Karyo as a clever Russian investigator.
- Samantha Bond as the most interesting Moneypenny to date.
I suppose I should mention Izabella Scorupco, but she is merely a middle-of-the-road Bond girl. Nothing too wonderful or too terrible about her.
There’s really a lot to love about the film. The through line of Bond destroying every vehicle he gets into. The delicious deconstruction of the Bond character, in speeches by both Judi Dench early in the film, and by Sean Bean near the climax. And what remains one of the best hand-to-hand fight scenes I’ve ever seen between Bean and Brosnan. This is still my favorite Bond film.
Robbie Coltrane was in Goldeneye with Famke Janssen. Famke Janssen was (at least according to IMDB) in…