Lupe Lamora: A Tale of Beauty, Betrayal, and Bond
Portrayed by Talisa Soto, Lupe Lamora is a notable character from the 1989 James Bond film, Licence to Kill. As the girlfriend of Latin American drug lord Franz Sanchez, and lover of James Bond, she’s mixed up in all sorts of conundrums. However, she navigates her way through the plot with no fear and emerges as one of the most memorable femme fatales in the franchise history.
Claiming the name Lupe Lamora, a young Latina beauty queen is caught up in the insidious machinations of businessman and drug lord, Franz Sanchez. After securing employment as a dealer at Sanchez’s Casino de Isthmus, she finds herself grow into being the drug lord’s lover.
Despite her deep-seated fear of him and the desire to escape, Lupe Lamora realizes that leaving Sanchez without his consent is impossible, as he keeps a close watch on her, so she’s forced to endure a lavish yet captive life.
Lupe Lamora’s first appearance in the film is during the opening sequence. Sanchez chases her down in the Bahamas, throttles a guard, and discovers her in the company of another man, Alvarez. In an act of twisted irony, Sanchez commands his henchman Dario to remove Alvarez’s heart and present it to Lupe, while Sanchez himself whips her with a manta ray tail for her betrayal.
Later, Lupe is alone aboard the Wavekrest without Sanchez, and Milton Krest seizes this chance to make unwelcome advances towards her. Under the cover of night, Bond confronts her, knife in hand, demanding Sanchez’s location. She insists on her ignorance, claiming that Sanchez hasn’t let her know. After spotting his deceased friend, Sharkey, outside, Bond leaves, leaving Lupe behind as he seeks vengeance against Sharkey’s killers.
At the Isthmus Casino, Bond crosses paths with Lupe Lamora once more. Again, he requests to see Sanchez, and this time she complies.
Lupe reappears alongside Sanchez at his hotel while Bond is undercover as a guest and potential cartel recruit. In front of Pam Bouvier and Q, she vocalizes her affection and worry for James, and her and Pam Bouvier get into a jealous argument over 007.
Later, she assists Bond in his covert escape, hoping that he would reciprocate and help her finally break free from Sanchez’s clutches. Bond later brings down Sanchez’ empire, killing the drug lord and helping liberate Lupe.
Bond meets Lupe Lamora one last time during a party, after triumphing over Sanchez. She expresses her gratitude for his assistance, and they both share a passionate kiss.
This display of affection catches Bouvier’s eye, leading her to walking out, dejected, to sit down by the pool alone. When presented with a choice between the two women, Bond ultimately opts for Pam Bouvier, arranging for Lupe to be with the President of Isthmus City instead.
Talisa Soto, born on March 27, 1967, in Brooklyn, New York, is an American former actress and model. Starting her modeling career at 15, Soto worked with top brands like Calvin Klein and Versace, and graced the covers of Vogue, Elle, and Glamour.
Talisa Soto made her acting debut in 1988 and gained fame as Bond girl Lupe Lamora in Licence to Kill and as Kitana in the Mortal Kombat franchise. With over 20 film credits, she retired from acting after marrying actor Benjamin Bratt in 2002.