In comments, Jay calls LTK a great film, while Matt Sherman lists it as a favorite. I’ve recently posted about my adoration for Timothy Dalton, so why do I rank LTK relatively low (#12 on my list of 22)?
Let’s start by saying, it’s not that LTK is bad; it’s that 11 Bond films are better. But it’s also true that LTK has appreciable flaws.
Actually, just one big flaw: Budget. LTK is a cheap film.
Let’s visit Felix Leiter’s home for the first time. That’s got to be interesting, right? Turns out it’s…a suburban ranch with no distinguishing features. All the Florida scenes look painfully cheap, Milton Krest’s warehouse looks like every warehouse on every episode of CSI: Miami, and the big opening chase looks like it was filmed on an empty backlot. In fact, the budget for Bond films had been held firmly the same since Moonraker; the bloated MR budget made MGM/UA push back, and not one penny had been added since. Unfortunately, the cost of every aspect of filmmaking had increased in ten years, and LTK really suffered for it.
The cast also has a made-for-TV feel. Priscilla Barnes, Anthony Zerbe, and Everett McGill were all primarily television actors in an era where prestige cross-overs like Saving Grace and Damages didn’t exist. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with these people (Zerbe in particular is awesome), but a television-familiar cast adds to a cheap feeling.