For our final Bond movie of 2014, we reach the Dalton era and The Living Daylights. This is Mel’s birth-Bond, the film that came out the year she was born.
M is briefing three Double-Os who are about to parachute out of a plane. They must take on the SAS in a paintball match to capture radar installations. Mel recognises the location of the training exercise immediately.
“Gibraltar!” she says. “Gibraltar is nice. We went for a day trip from Torremolinos when I was about thirteen. It rained every single day in Torremolinos. I think it was late October. Wrong time of the year to go to Spain. We went all the way up to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar in a little minibus. There were loads of monkeys around and they looked dead cute, hanging around. But then they started —-ing jumping on the bus and the people told us we had to get out. As soon as you open the door these monkeys come at you, grab you, try and get in your bag. If you had food they would bite you to try and get at your food.”
Did you have any food with you? I ask.
“I threw it out. They were vicious little shits. They jumped over your head to try and get in the minibus. It was horrible. Absolutely horrible. I was screaming. I hated it. My mum was laughing her head off, she thought it was hilarious. She was there when I was attacked by that bat as well and she did nothing then either.”
The three Double-Os land on Gibraltar.
“I bet two of them get killed,” says Mel.
It’s just a training exercise, I remind her.
“Yeah, but something’s gonna kick off.”
004 is killed when someone cuts his climbing rope.
We finally see the new James Bond when he looks up at 004’s death scream.
“He’s a bit of a skinny, scrawny one isn’t he?” is Mel’s initial impression of Timothy Dalton’s spy.
As Bond chases the assassin, he is momentarily startled by a monkey.
“The —-ing monkeys! I told you. I bet that wasn’t even in the script, they were just filming and it jumped on them. That’s what they do.”
After a chase across Gibraltar, Bond ends up parachuting onto a yacht.
“I bet there’s bikini-clad women on there.”
There’s only one.
“I told you.”
When A-Ha’s theme song for The Living Daylights kick in, Mel tells me, “I like this one.”
I ask if she enjoyed pre-title scenes of the film, but she shakes her head.
I tell her that I really this one. It is both action-packed and exciting.
“You need to get out more,” she replies.
We meet Bond again on a mission in Bratislava. He is helping Soviet General Koskov defect to Britain. He’s to cover Koskov with a sniper rifle, and take out the KGB sniper assigned to cover the Russian as he legs it out of a toilet window.
A female cellist catches Bond’s eye. His contact, Agent Saunders, advises Bond, “Forget the ladies for once, Bond.”
Mel adds, “Let’s not be sexual harassers today. Let’s do our jobs.”
The cellist is the sniper, so Bond shoots the gun out of the lady-musician’s hands instead of killing her.
Mel says, “He wants to shag her.”
“There’s a big difference from the old Bonds. So far he doesn’t seem as slimy. But he still likes to ogle.”
Koskov is smuggled in the oil pipeline to Germany. Back at MI6 headquarters we meet the new Miss Moneypenny.
“She’s a bit sexier than the old one isn’t she? They’ve traded her in for a younger model. It’s a bit sexist that James Bond goes with women young enough to be his daughter, but they replace Moneypenny when James Bond is younger. And that’s just for a bit of flirting.”
A muscular, blond man runs into a milkman near the safe house where Koskov is being debriefed by M and the Minister. This is Necros, a killer who is in cahoots with General Koskov and dastardly arms dealer Brad Whittaker.
“He’s doing something bad there,” predicts Mel. “See, I told you,” she adds when the poor milkman is killed.
“I drove a milk float once. Very briefly. When I was about eight, we lived in Manchester.”
Joyriding? I ask, before realising I’m probably doing a disservice to kids in Manchester.
“No! The milkman let me.”
At Q’s lab, Bond is given a key that can open ninety percent of the world’s locks.
Mel says, “That would be useful… squatter’s rights.”
I think she must be recalling her childhood in Manchester again.
Bond goes back to Bratislava. He witnesses the cellist, Kara, being arrested by the KGB on a tram. He recovers her cello case and carries it into a public toilet. Watched by the attendant, he takes it into a stall.
“It must be really odd for men in toilets. Everyone knows you need a poo when you go in a stall. There’s a mystery with a lady… an elegance. And men gets their willies out in front of each other. Why is acceptable to have a wee right next to someone and not a poo? It’s odd. Who decided that?”
But women share stalls with their friends, I reply.
“Only for wees. You’d ask your friend to leave if you needed a poo. Because of the plop and the smell. The plop is as bad as the smell.”
Well, that’s the same reason as men not pooing openly in front of each other!
“But you never said that. You can’t steal it now.”
Meanwhile Bond has sneaked Kara from her flat and they are escaping in his Aston Martin. As a police car draws alongside and signals them to pull over 007 uses the laser in his wheel to cut the car’s body from the chassis.
“Salt corrosion,” Bond tells Kara by way of explanation.
Mel says, “He doesn’t deliver those lines in such a cheesy way.”
007 blasts through a lorry roadblock with a missile.
“I would love that. Especially when you’re driving home with a take-away.”
Mel has long believed that cars should be fitted with a siren and flashing lights that can be used when you have a take-away to cut through traffic.
After escaping into Austria by using Kara’s cello case as a sledge (“I like that”), Bond checks into a hotel with Kara. The concierge asks if he’d like his usual suite.
“Not tonight, Hans. Something with a second bedroom,” James replies.
Mel says, “Urgh. That’s his shag-pad; where he takes his all his women.”
Bond and Kara go to the fairground.
“I quite like him on the fairground ride. And he hasn’t got his kit off yet.”
Kara asks Bond if he’ll “take her on the wheel,” and he quickly obliges when they find themselves alone in the carriage.
“Here we go – slime.”
The carriage comes back to ground level, where some giggling onlookers are waiting outside.
“Dogging,” says Mel.
Saunders is killed by Necros, in a booby-trapped door incident. Chasing the balloon-wielding assassin, Bond spots some balloons over a hedge. He draws his gun to confront Necros…
“It won’t be him.”
…It’s a small child with some balloons, forcing the secret agent to quickly holster his Walther.
“You could tell.”
Bond meets up with his CIA friend Felix Leiter.
Mel is annoyed, “They’ve changed him as well. It’s hard enough to remember them all without changing the actors all the time.”
I ask Mel if she’s serious. I tell her that every time Felix Leiter has appeared he’s been played by a different actor. That’s why I kept asking if she noticed anything about Felix in the early films.
“I’m bad at this aren’t I?” she replies.
Bond goes back to the hotel, where Kara fixes him a vodka martini.
“She’s trying to poison him.” Mel predicts. “She didn’t drink any, and she’s being funny with him.”
Bond passes out from the drugged drink.
Koskov takes Bond and Kara to Afghanistan, where he has them both thrown into prison.
“He’s a shit isn’t he?”
They escape to a Mujahideen camp, where Bond tells Kara that she is beautiful in Afghan.
“I like him better. It seems like he actually likes her. That won’t last though.”
The Mujahideen are doing an opium deal with the Soviets. Bond cuts into a bag with the Red Cross symbol on it and it comes out brown.
“Chocolate!” jokes Mel.
It all kicks off when the Mujahideen attack, and during battle a shower block is destroyed.
“At least in this one you get to see some male nudity too. Little bit of equality.”
Kara fends off an assailant during the melee.
“Good lass. Give him a smack.”
Bond and Kara take off from the airbase in the plane full of opium. Necros gets aboard and a vicious fight ensues between to the two men on a cargo net hanging out of the loading ramp.
Mel is impressed. “That was exciting, wasn’t it?” she exclaims.
Mel is less impressed with Kara’s handling of the plane while Bond is killing Necros and disarming the bomb. She’s not been watching where they’re going and is about pilot them into a mountain range.
“Is she thick? She had one —-ing job!”
With the plane out of fuel, the pair reverse their jeep out of the back and land in Pakistan.
“He’s always unscathed isn’t he? Not a scratch on him.”
It seems Mel is expecting the film to end there. But then we see 007 infiltrating arms dealer Brad Whittaker’s compound.
“What now? I want to watch some normal telly.”
Bond kills Whittaker and Pushkin arrests Koskov. In London Kara is giving a performance attending by M, the Minister and General Gogol. Bond cannot be there, so Kara dejectedly goes to her dressing room.
“He’s obviously in there waiting for her. With his willy out.”
I ask Mel what she thought.
“My favourite so far,” she replies. Before hastily adding, “Apart from Daniel Craig.”
Mel will return… Watching Licence To Kill.
Order The Living Daylights on DVD: