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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989)

Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989)

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Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Location Scouting With Peter Lamont
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-On The Set With John Glen
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Ground Check With Corkey Fornof
Featurette-Bond '89
Deleted Scenes-Sharkey Arrives, Bond & Sharkey Follow Yatch
Deleted Scenes-Bond In Hotel Room, Cash Transaction
Deleted Scenes-Bond Arrives In Isthmus, Bienvenidos M15 Amigos
Deleted Scenes-Bond Returns To Casino, Bond Captured By Hong Kong Narcotic
Deleted Scenes-Boat Ride
Featurette-007, Women, Allies, Villians, Mission Combat Manuel
Featurette-Q Branch And Exotic Locations
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Bond In 1987
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 127:41
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:40)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Glen

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Timothy Dalton
Carey Lowell
Robert Davi
Talisa Soto
Anthony Zerbe
Frank McRae
David Hedison
Wayne Newton
Benicio Del Toro
Anthony Starke
Everett McGill
Desmond Llewelyn
Pedro Armendáriz Jr.
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Michael Kamen
Diane Warren

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Text Commentary
Dutch Text Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The second and last of the Timothy Dalton era James Bond films, Licence To Kill, is probably the most underrated of all the Bond films. Why? Because, unlike the majority of Bond films, this one has heart. Whereas for the most part Bond does his bit for King and country, this is the one film where he truly has a personal stake in what is at hand (such can readily be argued for Die Another Day, but the personal vendetta at the core of Licence To Kill feels more real). It is also considerably more realistically violent than the majority of Bond films (wild stunts aside), and for this reason it has a hard and dark edge that appeals to me. Or maybe I’m just a fan of the Bond movies directed by John Glen.

    The simple premise of Licence To Kill is this: What would happen if Bond were to put all his training and knowledge to use to kill someone in the name of revenge? The result is nothing less than one of the best Bond films ever made, with real stunts that are truly death defying, a host of interesting characters including a truly realistic and evil villain (a very young Benecio Del Toro), and a tough ex-military pilot who goes down as one of Bond’s best matches (Carey Lowell).

    My one criticism of this film is Talisa Soto who, while most definitely beautiful, acts in a very wooden manner throughout this film. Maybe this was a technique to underplay her to Lowell’s Pam Bouvier, but you have to wonder what an all powerful drug lord like Franz Sanchez is doing so infatuated with her when he has more charisma. As a criticism, though, this is not a huge one, and as such I’m inclined to overlook it.

    Not as commercially successful as many of the other films in the Bond canon, in my opinion Licence To Kill has stood the test of time as a real film, not merely passing entertainment. A dark, violent and brutal look at the Bond character, I highly recommend this film.

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Transfer Quality


    Like the majority of Bond movies post the Connery era in this new Ultimate Edition release line, Licence To Kill is presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, mastered from a new high definition transfer. This is an excellent image. Upscaled to 1080i at 50Hz, I was again blown away.

    Again, the big difference is colour saturation, which, after the Lowry processing really does make this a whole new film. Again, I was genuinely surprised by the realistic image I got. The image is also sharper and more defined, and shadow detail is slightly improved.

    Film-to-video transfer artefacts are limited to some occasional background aliasing that I had to strain to see. A definite improvement over both the R4 and R1 original releases.

    Subtitles are available in an array of languages as listed above. I watched the subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired. They are quite accurate.

    The dual layer pause is at 66:40. It occurs in the middle of a scene but is not disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Audio is available in English 5.1 DTS (768Kb/s), as well as English in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (384Kb/s).

    While the Dolby Digital track is very good, and a nice remaster of the original, the DTS track is amazing.

    Dialogue is faultless, but with the DTS we get inflections and tones I missed with the Dolby Digital.

    There is also a greater range, and more aggressive use of surrounds. A great scene where you notice this is the shoot out at Milton Krest’s shark front. The score by Michael Kamen, though a little reminiscent of his scores for both Die Hard and its sequels and Lethal Weapon and its sequels, is given a very good rendition.

    The subwoofer is used heavily, though not to excess – it really brings home the advantages of having a big subwoofer, though.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    All menus are 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, and most have a 2.0 Dolby Surround audio track. Some of the submenus are static and silent. All menus are uniformly clear and well presented.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary – John Glen (Director) and Actors

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this commentary is similar to the one done for For Your Eyes Only, in that it is a re-edit of the commentary from the original R1 DVD release and other retrospective documentary features from that release, and then narrated like a documentary. Again, this is a great, and a very good format for an audio commentary.

Audio Commentary – Michael G. Wilson and Crew

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this is another interesting technical commentary from Wilson and others.

Scene Selections

    Presented 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with 2.0 Dolby Surround audio, each chapter has about a 10 second motion segment to choose from.

DVD Credits

Disc 2

Declassified: MI6 Vault

    The documentaries are all in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, the deleted scenes presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, all with a 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio::

007 Mission Control

    Presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, and with 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this contains a series of snippets from the movie on each of the following topics:

Mission Dossier

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, non-16x9 enhanced (often with a 2.35:1 inset, so you get black bars at the top and bottom), and 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this submenu contains the following:

Ministry Of Propaganda

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, with 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this is a collection of the marketing material for the movie:

Image Database

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced with the image inset within, these are a series of stills.


    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    We are told that these new Ultimate Editions will be released with identical content all over the world. The original R1 and R4 releases contained the same special features as are now in the menus for “Mission Dossier”, “Ministry of Propaganda” and “Image Database”. However, whereas the original R1 release had a fantastic picture (which still holds up, although the colour correction is an improvement) the original R4 release was censored and scarred by moderate aliasing and moire. The new Ultimate Edition corrects those faults.


    Licence To Kill is excellent, realistically violent Bond, much closer to Ian Fleming’s original incarnation of a ruthless and efficient spy.

    This DVD transfer is the best I’ve ever seen this show.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880N Deluxe, using DVI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS50 WXGA LCD Cineza Projector with 100" Longhorn Pro-series 16:9 Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

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