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Category:    Home > Reviews > Spy > Action > Thriller > The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) + Licence To Kill (1989/MGM Blu-ray/Third Wave)

The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) + Licence To Kill (1989/MGM Blu-ray/Fourth Wave)


Picture: B+     Sound: B     Extras: B     Film: B-/C+ (Shorter Cut)



Two more of the James Bond films have been issued on Blu-ray and both have their own kind of cult followings.  The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) was the last Bond Harry Saltzman ever co-produced with Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli before Broccoli successfully took over the series.  It was Roger Moore’s second Bond, bombed upon its Christmas release, is ideologically the farthest Left a film the series will ever produce, is the last Bond produced in the old Hollywood style and remains the highest-rated Bond ever to be broadcast on TV.  Licence To Kill (1989) was the second and last Bond Timothy Dalton ever made, was the last Cold War era Bond film, is still the most violent film in the series and was a huge hit everywhere by the U.S., where Reagan/Bush-friendly MGM dumped the film for political reasons.


You can read more about both films, their extras, storylines and other facts about them at the following links to their DVD set Ultimate Editions:


The Man With The Golden Gun



Licence To Kill




So are these upgrades over the DVD sets and worthy of getting?  More than you could imagine.



The 1080p 1.85 X 1 AVC @ 27.15 MBPS digital High Definition image on Golden Gun may have some issues with background detail, but it is as good looking as any (and I mean any) Bond Blu-ray release with incredible color, depth, detail and a rich appearance that will full you into thinking you are looking at a film print.  There are some shots so good, that they stun and are demonstration quality.  Only some slight motion blur and that detail issue hold this back from being even more amazing.  Note the clothes Moore wears. You can now see how expensive they really are.  Color neon signs shock in their vividness and the more than colorful locations (note other clothes and buildings new and old) never fail to hold their color and detail quality.  The islands show their priceless beauty and Peter Murton’s Production Design looks like a million dollars more than ever and even the recent Daniel Craig Bond Blu-rays have trouble looking this good.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 25 MBPS digital High Definition image on Licence was also a huge surprise, in this case because the DVD only looked so good, but this anamorphic Panavision shoot is sometimes more impressive than the 35mm screening I saw back in 1989 in a declining cineplex (since rebuilt) that I first saw it in.  Even when there is some softness, motion blur and slight detail issues, the depth, detail and general performance are impressive enough top make it one of the other best Bond Blu-rays yet.  Darker shots have some minor crushed Video Black issues, but for a film known for its dark, dirty gritty look, this is impressive throughout.


Originally a monophonic film, Golden had been upgraded to DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) lossless 5.1 mix and even a Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono mix for purists.  The DTS is definitely better than any previous Dolby option or the recent DTS DVD by a narrow margin, though compression (as in the title theme song by Lulu) and in some of John Barry’s score can distract, new bad sound effects are still in this mix and the dialogue can sound restricted, yet other audio elements sound good for their age and help save it/


Originally a Dolby SR (Spectral Recording, advanced analog) theatrical film sound release, Licence has been upgraded to DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) lossless 5.1 mix and even a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with Pro Logic surrounds for purists.  The DTS is definitely better than the previous Dolby versions or (once again) the recent DTS DVD by a narrow margin, but at least the SR soundfield has not been chopped up as has happened in many SR-to-5.1 upgrades we have suffered through.  The Gladys Knight title song is a bit compressed, but other sounds are very good for their age.


Extras are the same as the DVD Ultimate Edition sets, but some clips within the documentaries have been upgraded to HD images.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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