The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) – 3/5


Goofy Bond film with an initially promising plot that’s quickly mired by silly sight gags and lame, borderline slapstick humor. What in god’s name were they thinking? To fuse such a potentially serious story with such ridiculous scenarios, especially the whole head-slappingly moronic bit with the **SPOILERS** overweight Southern police officer that just goes on and on and isn’t funny in the slightest. **END SPOILERS** Who’s bright idea was it to turn Bond into a buddy cop film? And a lame one at that. Granted it’s only for a few scenes, but man are they awful and inappropriate.

That aside, the film just isn’t all that interesting save a few bits here and there. The notion of Bond being tailed by **SPOILERS** the world’s greatest hit-man **END SPOILERS** is great, but what they end up doing with it feels really uninspired, especially given all the inappropriate humor they jam in there whenever they get a chance, which is often. What a waste of Christopher Lee, a great actor who’s pretty good here, but not given all that much to do most of the time. And I never quite understood what the deal with the golden gun was: is it that he charges one million dollars per hit, or that his bullets cost a million dollars, or both? I didn’t get it. Not that it matters all that much, but still, it was confusing. I did like his little henchman there, though, played by Hervé Villechaize; he’s silly and ridiculous and obviously just there to serve as yet another inappropriate pre-80s politically correct era sight gag, but the actor brings a certain much-needed charm to a film that is otherwise lacking in it.

Overall, not a great Bond by any means, probably one of the worst, actually. It’s silly and dumb and more of a goofy comedy than an action thriller type film. The action set pieces aren’t even all that great, come to think of it. Yeah, the **SPOILERS** car flipping and landing in the same shot **END SPOILERS** is kind of cool, but it only lasts like 3 seconds and is arguably the only memorable moment in the thing. Lame. It’s not a terrible film, just not very good by other Bond standards. I do like Roger Moore as Bond, though; he may just be my favorite Bond so far. Blasphemy, I know, but at least he both looks and speaks the part, unlike Sean Connery. Watch if you’re a fan of the series and don’t mind being disappointed. Otherwise, avoid.

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