My overall impression of LTK at the time was that it was low-budget. From Bond's off-the-rack wardrobe to Kamen's lackluster score, the down-to-earth plot, Glen's workmanlike direction, one guy's "death by a drawer full of cold, cooked pasta" and the almost complete lack of marketing here in the states, it just felt like "Bond on the cheap." It was the first Bond I ever relegated to "also-ran" status when listing the event movies of its year.
I think the film suffers from being too derivative of the glut of "revenge" and "drug war" movies of the era, as typified by Steven Segal (it even has a three-word title like every Segal film). And while Dalton does "lethal and angry" better than any Bond actor, that's still not what I crave in a Bond film. Guys like Segal and Chuck Norris are perfect for testosterone-driven alpha-male fantasy films, but couldn't fake sophistication and class on a bet. Bond, on the flip side, oozes class but is ill-suited to the "gorilla with a machine gun" genre. If I want to see a guy getting sweaty and dirty and spattered with his enemies' blood, I'll go somewhere other than a 007 film. (They try to have it both ways when Sanchez says he "knew" Bond was a British agent because "you have class." What he based that judgement on, I couldn't say. Also, this almost counts as a "meta" reference. Why would anyone imagine a British spy should necessarily have class, unless they'd seen a Bond movie?)
On the plus side, I love the "farewell to arms" scene. I'm a sucker for any scene with tension between Bond and M. We got some great ones with Dalton, plus a couple with Laz and at least one, for a second or two, with Connery, but this one's arguably the best. And for all my griping about "revenge" and bloodlust, Bond's murder of Killifer is awesome, especially when Sharkey looks away but Bond keeps looking, with an expression that says, "Hmm...rough way to go. But not rough enough." The stunt work is uniformly great and it helps that Dalton did as many of his own stunts as they'd let him (and a couple they didn't want him to!). Also, even if this plot doesn't fit my preferred approach to Bond, I have to admit it does at least have a real sense of momentum and occasional suspense, which is more than I can say about a lot of entries in the series. Sanchez is a strong villain and Davi makes him genuinely scary at points. His demise is one of the better in the series, with the "poetic justice" of the (Felix) lighter thrown in.
My wife enjoyed it a lot better than I did, I gather because it largely chucked the formula, moved quickly and made the stakes very human and relatable. She was alternately bored with and exasperated by a lot of the earlier Bonds. At the time, I saw it as the beginning of a shift to a new approach to the series, and I was okay with that if my wife was an example of the new audience it might bring in. As it turned out, we instead got a 6-year hiatus and then an overly cautious, 4-film retreat to formula that made me appreciate LTK's risk-taking much more.
Overall, entertaining enough, but usually not one I choose to pop in the player.