|BlogalongaBond: The Living Daylights (1987)|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Friday, 16 March 2012 07:15|
Roger Moore is gone. Long live James Bond. That's the response of any sane 007 fan now that Old Eyebrows out of the frame. In his place, someone new. Someone young. Someone with hair. Someone with manly sideburns. Someone... Welsh. Someone called Timothy Dalton.
It's surprising just how much of a difference one actor can make. You see, no matter who's wearing the Bond shoes, this is still a John Glen film - and the A View to a Kill, Octopussy and For Your Eyes Only helmer is still churning out the same old thing. So too are stalwart Moore-era screenwriters Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum. It's no shock, then, that within a few minutes of the opening credits (featuring a title song that rivals Duran Duran's previous effort), James Bond has already scaled a cliff, driven a jeep off the top of it, wrestled a man for a parachute mid-air, landed on a speedboat somewhere in the ocean and picked up a hot girl. He even says a joke at the end.
But you know what? At no point does any of this stupid nonsense feel camp, cheesy or silly because unlike Moore's affable granddad figure, Dalton's secret agent has a sense of a danger - a cold edge that he balances perfectly with a twinkling smile. Not since Connery has there been such a finely-tuned mix of debonair and ready-to-detonate. Timmy gives the whole spy thing a gravitas sorely missing from the last seven movies.
And thank goodness for that. Because his stunts are as ridiculous as ever, from diving out of the back-end of a plane to ice-skating in an Aston Martin V8 Vantage round a frozen lake - blowing up lots of things in the process.
How does Bond keep control of the vehicle through all of this? Well, he obviously had this educational pamphlet with him:
How to Drive a Car (according to James Bond)
Now listen carefully. There are two pedals that control a car. One of them makes it go faster. Don't worry about the other one, unless it dispenses drinks.
Ignore road signs
Road signs are for women. So is the highway code. If someone tells you not to drive the wrong way down a road, do it. If someone says you should pull over, keep driving. If someone puts up a road barrier, go around it. In fact, whatever anyone else tells you to do, do the exact opposite. Then shoot them with the machine guns hidden behind your headlights. (Did you know that they even order people not to drive tanks through the streets of St. Petersburg?)
Use a map
Actually, don't use a map. Use your highly complex GPS tracking system instead. Give the map to a woman to read. (Do not let the woman drive the car.)
Always carry a missile
A car isn't a car without a missile. This is one of the founding principles of automotive engineering. If you've ever been on a boring drive through the countryside, you'll know how dull it without blowing SOMETHING up with your land-to-air heat-sinking stingers. So wherever you drive, find the nearest large object (trucks, barricades, buildings, doors) and head straight towards it. Then blow it up.
Don't read the instruction manual
Real men don't read instruction manuals - you should be able to use your car without having any knowledge of how it works. Just start flipping levers until you find the one you want. That never fails. Think of it as a giant IKEA wardrobe. A highly weaponised IKEA wardrobe. With wheels. (Note: Skipping any boring lectures will also give you more time to play that classic PS One video game, 007 Racing. It's wonderfully naff.)
Press every single button
Once you've worked out what the buttons do via a careful system of hitting them randomly, make sure you go on to press every single one of them. Twice, if possible. After all, what's the point of having oil slicks if you don't use them? Remember: any car trip that doesn't use ALL of the buttons is frankly a waste of time.
Slash people's tyres
Tyre slashing is something that naughty teenagers do for fun, but a quick spike to someone's wheels is a great way to pick up a girl - or, if you're really after a good time, upgrade to a laser and chop a whole car in half. Then spend the rest of the day pretending you're watching The Flintstones.
Get shot at
You'll never know if that glass really IS bullet proof unless you get someone to test it. Quality control in your vehicle is important. Besides, chicks dig bullet holes.
Camouflage is always a sensible tactic when people are shooting at you - testing those windows is fine, but you don't actually want to die. Pay attention to your surroundings. If you're in a car park, hide between other vehicles. If you're by a frozen lake, hide in a shed. Think of it as having an invisible car. (Whatever you do, DON'T get an invisible car. That would be stupid.)
Driving is one thing, but flying? That's really awesome. Whether it's off the roof of a building, over a guard hut or just a good old cliff, if you have the chance to jump in your car, always take it.
Ok, so your car can't fly... OR CAN IT? Scaramanga's turned into a jumbo jet, so the least you can do with yours is sellotape some skis on the side. Hell, even some fans and a snorkel would be cool for driving underwater. The important message to take home is this: transforming cars are awesome. Suck on that, Michael Bay.
Always go for an Aston
Aston Martin's are the best cars in the world. Full stop. They're British, they're sexy and they're a classic choice for a secret agent. Just look at this design sketch by Ken Adam. Phwoar. Aston Martin also has all the cool names. DB5, DBS, V12 Vanquish, Vantage Volante. They all sound classy. The BMW 750iL? That sounds like a digital camera. (The BMW Z8 may sound cool, but it's only good for one shot before a helicopter chops it in half.)
Ok, so Aston Martins are also bloody expensive, but that's only because they come with missiles, guns and ejector seats as standard. Have you ever seen an Aston Martin without them? (Admittedly, the Lotus Esprit is also a very impressive vehicle. But while turning into a submarine is a neat trick, it also has a tendency to blow up when burglars get near. Messy.)
Blow yourself up
Anything a Lotus can do, an Aston can do better. Best of all, you can trigger the self-destruct mode on a timer, giving you the convenience of blowing up your own car whenever you want. That means no more unexpected detonations at 3am. The neighbours will be thrilled.
Of course, cars can only survive for so long - all that button-pressing wears the battery down. Once yours has run out of power, don't hesitate to get the hell away from it. After all, it's not as if you have a portable electric charger, unless you drive a Toyota Prius or something. In which case you really shouldn't be reading this in the first place.
Always have an escape plan
Secret agents drive cars. Cool secret agents drive cellos.
So, to recap. Mirror, signal, blow stuff up with missile. Got that?
Follow everything you learned in this driving lesson and you'll be one of the safest and most reliable drivers in the history of the world, second only to Michael Winner. And remember: buckle up. Things are about to explode.