Timothy Dalton, the fourth Bond, registers beautifully on all key counts of charm, machismo, sensitivity and technique. In The Living Daylights he’s abetted by material that’s a healthy cut above the series norm of super-hero fantasy.
There’s a more mature story of its kind, too, this one about a phony KGB defector involved in gunrunning and a fraternal assassination plot.
There are even some relatively touching moments of romantic contact between Dalton and lead femme Maryam D’Abo as Czech concert cellist. Belatedly, the Bond characterization has achieved appealing maturity.
D’Abo, in a part meant to be something more than that of window-dressed mannikin, handles her chores acceptably. Able support is turned in by Joe Don Baker as a nutcase arms seller, Jeroen Krabbe and John Rhys-Davies as respective KGB bad and good types (a little less arch than the usual types), and Art Malik as an Oxford-educated Afghan freedom fighter.