James Bond Retrospective: The Living Daylights (1987)

The Bond Villain Much like For Your Eyes Only, The Living Daylights does not have a clearly defined villain until part way through the film€™s running time. Initially General Georgi Koskov is believed to be an ally after MI6 assist in his defection to the West, however once he has mislead British intelligence that General Pushkin (John Rhys-Davies) is a threat he fakes his own kidnapping so he can carry out his drug smuggling operation in Afghanistan. Koskov is brought to life by Dutch actor Jeroen Krabbe who, in an almost dual role, convinces as the cowardly defector before showing his true colours as the corrupt General. While not the most interesting villain of the series, Koskov was a timely indication on the times when the film was first released. With the Cold War coming to a close and a time of glasnost in the Soviet Union there was increased détente between the East and the West however this was initially met with a certain degree of scepticism which is reflected in the plot of the film.

Classic Line

Leonid Pushkin: Put him on the next plane toMoscow€

General Georgi Koskov: Oh, thank you General, thank you so much€

Leonid Pushkin: €in a diplomatic bag.

The other main villain, Brad Whitaker is a more eccentric character. Played by Joe Don Baker, he is a former American soldier with delusions of grandeur and a fascination with the history of warfare despite his own failure to forge himself a military career. With his collection of war memorabilia including weapons, armour and glass cabinets featuring miniature recreations of great battles through history, he is a man obsessed with war, morally corrupt supplying state of the art munitions to the highest bidder with little regard to the consequences. Similar to General Orlov in Octopussy only with slightly less world conquering aims, he is larger than life and Joe Don Baker instils a sense of desperation and a desire to be taken seriously while playing on the character€™s more unhinged side.

Classic Line

(During a gunfight, Whitaker€™s makes a sly nod to a similar line in Dr. No)

Brad Whitaker: You€™ve had your eight, now have my eighty.

Koskov and Whitaker share the same henchman, Necros, a ruthless KGB assassin once again in the Red Grant mould with his athletic physique and blonde hair. Played by Andreas Wisniewski, the 6€™ 4€ German former dancer is an imposing figure who would go on to appear in Die Hard and Mission Impossible. Not quite a master of disguise but with an uncanny ability to mimic accents including a cockney milkman, an American jogger and an Austrian balloon salesman, Necros is one of the more memorable henchmen of the later films mostly due to the fact that he is instrumental in many of the film€™s action sequences. With Koskov and Whitaker lacking the presence of the franchise€™s best villains, Necros outshines both and makes a much more lasting impression. His final scene with Bond as the two men fight to the death on the cargo net behind the Hercules is one of the series€™ finest stunt sequences and a worthy end to a consistently great henchman. The Bond Girl Kara Milovy offers an interesting take on the traditional Bond girl. She is a much more multi-layered character than many of the previous female leads and proves to be a genuine love interest for Bond rather than just another notch on the bedpost. In a role that follows a similar thread to that of Tatiana Romanova in From Russia With Love, when we first meet Kara she is already involved with Koskov and Bond escorts her across Europe to what she thinks will be a reunion with Koskov. However Bond sees her as a means to gather information on Koskov before revealing to her that Koskov has been deceiving her all along. Played by Maryam d€™Abo, who had originally auditioned for the role of Pola Ivanova in A View To A Kill and was also used to play opposite potential Bond€™s during screen-testing for the film, she was identified to have a sweet innocence and vulnerability that was perfect for the role of Kara. d€™Abo also possesses an air of intelligence and independence while bringing validity to the cello playing girl caught in a web of espionage.

Classic Line

(After escaping a Russian jail cell)

Kara Milovy: You were fantastic. We€™re free.

James Bond: Kara, we€™re inside a Russian airbase in the middle of Afghanistan.

After the vapid turn by Tanya Roberts in the previous film, d€™Abo is a breath of fresh air bringing depth and a real involvement in the overall plot of the film. Her on-screen chemistry with Dalton is convincing and her wide-eyed beauty is endearing making her one of the better, more memorable Bond girls of the series.

Chris Wright hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.