Advice: Don't feed Bond's best friend to a shark -- he'll get seriously pissed.Both Timothy Dalton and his debut James Bond entry The Living Daylights failed to impress me, so I was all the more surprised at the genuine excitement and filmmaking fervor that I found Licence to Kill positively teeming with. This time around, Bond has his "licence" revoked by the British Secret Service when he unofficially goes after a sadistic South American drug lord (a smashing performance by the great B-movie actor Robert Davi) responsible for the severe maiming of his best friend (an appealing David Hedison, reprising his series role as Felix Leiter) and the death of the man's newlywed bride (a touching Priscilla Barnes). Dalton doesn't have the sly wit of a Sean Connery or the appealing savoir-faire of a Roger Moore, but he's more focused, hard-edged, and human than either, and this lends his Bond (who is more faithful in spirit to author Ian Fleming's original creation) an emotional immediacy that supplies dramatic underpinnings to the role. Yes, Dalton is decidedly lacking panache with a punch line, but his suaveness isn't oily nor is his innate sense of decency foolhardy, and there's a welcome sense of danger and darkness to him that keeps us riveted. John Glen returns as director, and his staging of action sequences hasn't been this impressive since the 1983 series-best Octopussy (the grand finale involving two eighteen-wheelers racing down a mountain road while a twin-engine prop plane circles from above is breathtaking). Kudos also to longtime Bond screenwriters Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum for concocting an interesting-yet-comprehensible screenplay that refreshingly doesn't shoot off into Byzantine directions -- you can actually follow the plot without a Bond Plot for Dummies manual -- and for concocting the best villain our fearless superspy has ever faced. Talisa Soto is deadwood as one Bond girl (she can't read a line to save her life), with Carey Lowell (after trying too hard at first) captivating as the other. Lots of neat new gadgets (like a signature camera/gun), fabulous locales (the Florida Keys, Acapulco, Veracruz), and Wayne Newton as a seedy televangelist (who keeps a soundproof "temple" for his lovely female donors).See it.