Posts Tagged ‘ james bond ’

Live and Let Die (1973)

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Terrible Roger Moore Bond flick that left me angry and shaken and wanting revenge. Just awful on every possible level. I mean, magic and voodoo? In a Bond flick? Really? Whose idea was it exactly to turn the next installment of the series into a cheesy 1940s supernatural horror film? Who, I ask? WHO?!?

Terrible editing, acting, story, music choices, you name it. The only sort of okay actor here, other than Moore who really, really tries despite the god awful material, was Jane Seymour who played the ridiculous fortune-teller character. Idiotic and totally out of character for a Bond film, yes, but she does a good job in the role and, frankly, is quite easy on the eyes, as they say.

But no, awful. Stay away.

Watch this one instead. Way, way  better.
(Yes, I’ve sold out. Extended periods of unemployment will do that to you.)

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Never Say Never Again (1983)

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What the hell was this? A monstrosity masquerading as a James Bond film, with an ancient looking Sean Connery going to a wellness center at the beginning of the film, or was that a retirement home? What in god’s name were they thinking? A Bond movie that starts off with him being shipped off to a retirement home for being too old? Is this a joke? Not only that, but by sheer coincidence the retirement/wellness home happens to be the same place where the main villain is beginning to hatch his evil plan! Wow, what are the odds? And it only gets worse from there.

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God, I can’t even… This movie was so bad, so bad. I just about gave up once Rowan Atkinson showed up. And then the shark sonar, god, why? WHY?  Just awful and cheap and terrible in almost every respect. And Connery is so old and sleazy looking, and yet all the women just can’t get enough of him. And such a promising story too. How could you screw up something like this, and so badly? I don’t understand it. They didn’t even use the proper 007 title sequence for god’s sake. It was almost painful to keep watching, but I gritted my teeth and hung in there, hoping against hope for something, anything worth hanging on to. But nope. The villain is good, but everything else is a complete disaster.

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It’s almost intentionally terrible. It must have been. A clear punishment to the fans for their clear abandonment of Connery and their loyal devotion to Roger Moore, maybe. Well, consider me disciplined. Traumatized even, from Bond films, forever. It’s so bad. Words don’t do it justice.

Overall, stay away. Stay FAR FAR AWAY. Never Say Never Again indeed. NEVER EVER AGAIN.

 

 

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

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Decent Bond with a very slow first act that seems to go on forever, but eventually takes a turn for the better once the plot sort of kicks in and the world is thrust into sudden danger yet again, I think. I don’t really remember. The plot escapes me, though I think it had something to do with nuclear weapons and a submarine, I don’t know. It wasn’t entirely preposterous, just somewhat so, which is rare for a Bond film given their tendency to have really ridiculous, over the top plots full of crazy schemes that would never in a million years happen in “real life.” The plot isn’t too zany here, though not too memorable either, I guess. Everything else is okay for the most part.

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Not much to say about this one. Other than the meandering first third, it’s typical Bond. The action set pieces are okay, though the first one with the parachute was somewhat impressive, if a bit tired. And yeah there are plenty of half-naked women all over the place, more so than in most Bond movies come to think of it. There’s even some actual brief nudity here and there, which was somewhat surprising. Bond films have always given the illusion of nudity, but to outright show it like they do here? Wow. Bold. And so much sexual innuendo. Individual moments do feel a bit recycled though, especially near the end with the **SPOILERS** villain’s indoor fortress rail system **END SPOILERS** looking suspiciously like the one Dr. No has at the end of one of the films he’s in. What happened, guys, did you run out of evil villain layer ideas? The romance was a nice touch, though, especially the predictable yet nonetheless creative “twist” in the second act where she **SPOILERS** promises to kill Bond once the mission is over. **END SPOILERS** Made for some nice moments.

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Overall, not a bad Bond. Certainly not the best, just good, barely. The plot was good but the execution is stale at times, though mostly because it feels like a rip off of what other Bond films have done in the past. And the first half hour or so is so slow, ugh. Roger Moore is good at least, though he doesn’t have as much to do despite being the main character. But the romance was interesting, and the ending battle is **SPOILERS** surprisingly quick and brutal. **END SPOILERS** No big epic battle there, strangely enough.

So, not a bad film, just nothing special. Worth watching if you’re a completist.

A View to a Kill (1985)

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Entertaining Bond film with a suspenseful, though ultimately ridiculous plot that fortunately doesn’t fully reveal itself until the last half hour or so, not that it’s necessarily all bad once it does. It’s a traditional hair-brained Bond villain scheme, full of big explosions and mass destruction and something about making lots of money through the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, all helmed rather admirably by Christopher Walken who is arguably one of the best Bond villains I’ve seen yet. Man can that guy act evil when he wants to. And Roger Moore is of course great as always, though so very, very old. How old was he here, 60? Man. But fun movie.

Like I mentioned earlier, the real strength of the film is its suspense. You’re not really let in on what the “big evil plan” is until the last half hour or so, you only get pieces of it here and there, which makes for quite the engaging mystery. You know it’s going to be something big, you just don’t quite know what it is, and it works. An engaging mystery in a spy film? Who’d a thought? The film is also smart; not always mind you, but some scenes and plot points here and there are very clever and well written. Don’t get me wrong: the film is also chock full of really dumb moments, but it’s a Bond film so some occasional silliness is to be expected. You just hope the smart moments outweigh the dumb ones, which in this case they kind of do. But man was the opening scene with the skis stupid. Poorly shot, edited, and so ridiculous, especially given Moore’s age. It’s arguably the lowest point in the film, but it comes in hard and fast and quick, and is over before you know it. That’s what she said, har har! Ugh.

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Overall, very enjoyable Bond. Sure, some of it is stupid, especially the overall “plan” which is kind of a mix of the intelligent and the ridiculous, but, again, that’s to be expected of a Bond film. And yeah the direction is kind of lame and the action sequences kind of flat save the last one. But it’s a fun movie, it’s suspenseful, it’s engaging, it’s well acted, especially from Walken, and I was surprised to see the lady from That 70’s Show, Tanya Roberts, as the Bond girl here. Man was she gorgeous back in the day, and it was interesting to see that her annoying, nasally voice was just as ear-splitting then as it is now. I was also a bit disturbed by a scene near the end of the second act where **SPOILERS** Walken guns down dozens of innocent construction workers trying to keep from drowning after he floods their tunnel. **END SPOILERS** I understand he’s supposed to be a psychopath and all that, but man was that brutal and violent, even for a Bond film. And the crazed, gleeful look on Walken’s face as he does so certainly didn’t make the scene any easier to handle. It was almost like something out of another movie.

Anyway, good Bond film, very entertaining. Strongly recommended.

For Your Eyes Only (1981) – 4/5

Above average James Bond film full of the usual explosions, car chases, shootings, and casual sex the series is known for, but with a few extra touches of artistic flair here and there to keep things interesting. And Roger Moore is pretty good here as Bond; suave, charming, intelligent, though a bit old for the role, especially given some of the stunts he manages to pull off and the ages of the women he can’t seem to keep himself from effortlessly seducing. What a charmer.

The story here is typical confusing and complicated Bond stuff, (something about a sinking ship and a missing square-shaped computer-looking nuclear device that could end the world, or something), but there are enough simple scenes here and there that it doesn’t get in the way too much. The stunts/action scenes here are really great too, especially the skiing one, the underwater one, and the great, suspenseful rock climbing sequence. The underwater section especially reminded me a bit of The Abyss. Great stuff, and all done in the early 80s, wow.

Overall, yeah, really good film. The second half is better than the first, but it’s a good, solid entry into the franchise overall. And sure, not all of it makes sense, but whatever; it’s a fun action adventure film full of humor and excitement and terrible looking 80s cars, featuring a guy in his 50s who thinks he’s still in his 20s beating up bad guys and seducing women one-third his age. A typical Bond film, in other words. And what a great opening song.

Worth watching, definitely.

From Russia with Love (1963) – 4/5

Slow first half gives way to a pretty good rest once things start kicking into gear and people start dying/things start exploding. The plot is also more complex than what I’d been getting used to from Bond films. Much more complex, actually, almost too much so at times, hence the slow first half. I didn’t quite understand it all, frankly. The film does pick up eventually though, managing to deliver quite the one two punch by the end.

Not much happens in the first half other than a whole lot of talking, which I normally don’t mind but it really slows down the film here, especially considering how tense and action driven the second half turns out to be. It’s too much setup, I think. They should have maybe spread out the action a bit more, given the film a few scenes of early tension here and there rather than waiting until all the characters **SPOILERS** are on the train **END SPOILERS** before upping the ante. Once they are, though, things take on this eerie, almost sinister quality to them, with some confrontations, especially the ones between Bond and **SPOILERS** the blond villain guy who looks suspiciously like Daniel Craig **END SPOILERS** being downright disturbing at times. The villains here too seem so heartless and evil. The stuff they do to one another in the name of power, man.

Overall, not a bad film. Not the best Bond, naturally, and not wholly enjoyable, but decent enough. The plot is too complicated for its own good at times, and the first half is, as I’ve said several times now, slow, but it makes up for it with a thrilling, violent second half. Nothing great, but nothing terrible. Watch if you don’t mind a slower Bond than what you’re probably used to.

You Only Live Twice (1967) – 4/5

 

An entertaining, but relatively predictable and often hilariously sexist Bond film full of explosions and half-naked women and deformed guys sensually stroking fluffy cats. It’s a ridiculous movie, no doubt, with a silly plot that barely makes sense, but whatever; it’s fun and exciting, though it does go on a bit longer than it should. And I really don’t see what the big deal with Sean Connery is. He’s a decent actor, but he’s old and not very attractive; he simply isn’t very believable as the charming, large than life super spy that the character of James Bond is supposed to be. But maybe he just wasn’t in his element here.

The plot is okay, kind of silly, like I said before. The idea of moving the action to Japan was a nice touch: the country is beautiful and the culture seems to really rub off on the film, to an almost racist extent at times, especially during the scenes where **SPOILERS** Bond has surgery to look more “Asian,” complete with straight Asian hair being attached to his head. **END SPOILERS** Ugh. And the sexism here, god. Women serve only two purposes in this film: to look good in skimpy clothing, and to have sex with/be romantically attracted to Connery. I understand that women never really have much else to do in these types of films, but this movie doesn’t even try to hide that fact. Definitely a product of its time.

Overall, I liked the film. Sure, it’s outdated and silly, and occasionally offensive to just about everyone that isn’t white and male, but it has a few decent moments, and some iconic scenes/characters that have been stolen by a number of other films/shows over the years. The film is typical Bond: predictable plot, cool action, evil villains, attractive women, etc etc. And it’s funny at times, sometimes intentionally, sometimes otherwise. Not great, but good.