The Timothy Dalton James Bond movies are by far the most underrated and under-appreciated movies in the franchise. I'm glad to see they are at least being recognized here on Amazon. The story with these movies is pretty simple, people were tired of seeing the same old Roger Moore quipping the same old tired puns, with the storylines becoming more and more absurd. So what did they do? They went back to basics.
In an unfortunately limited run of only 2 movies (apparently Brosnan had already been promised the role) we got a much more sincere Bond, from a classically trained actor in Timothy Dalton that took a grittier approach all while maintaining the traditional 007 archetypes.
One of the great aspects of The Living Daylights is the Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante, which I think is one of the best cars of the franchise. After the Lotus became the Bond car towards the end of the Moore-era, the Aston Martin was just an after thought. Though the vehicle lasted for just a short period of time (as seems to be tradition) it showcased perhaps the coolest features we had seen in over a decade to this point.
Having a beautiful Bond girl who isn't a bad actress doesn't hurt it's case either. Bond girls have really been hit or miss coming up to this point, and since it's such an integral part of the series, a good Bond girl makes a better Bond movie. The theme song really embraced the 80's with the A-ha title track, just as it had earlier in the decade with Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill", which was a better song, but a worse movie.
Overall this is a great 007 movie, there are enough poor and mediocre entries in the series that this one really stands out and deserves further consideration.
Bond Element Ratings:
Intro/Title Sequence/Theme Song: 4.5/5
Bond Girl: 4/5