M, Q and MoneyPenny are present, there's fewer gadgets. Britt Ekland as Agent Mary Goodnight is at her peak and notable is Hervé Villechaize as memorable Nick Nack, Scaramanga's manservant and accomplice.
Barbara Bach while distant (possibly due to her steely character Anya) is a fine Bond girl addition who is given more purpose and motivation. Strongburg is played perfectly by Curd Jürgens who portrays the ultimate antagonist.
The locations are interesting, acting as a fitting background, the Egypt segments are particularly atmospheric and well filmed, veteran director Lewis Gilbert deserves credit for crafting such a lavish 007 adventure to the screen. As expected Ken Adams sets are superb, the effects, miniatures and stunts are outstanding, notably the Pre title ski jump. Maurice Binder's titillating titles are a highlight coupled with the wonderful theme tune.
Debatably Spy has the best James Bond score (composed by Marvin Hamlisch) to complement the action and emotion. The sound design is bold at times, fitting and also not afraid to be silent. With Bond girls galore, celebrated series characters are all present- KGB Head, M, Q and Miss Moneypenny. All are reliable as ever putting in great performances and Jaws has his debut.
While not the most serious or hard hitting in the franchise, this instalment is the most fulfilling and entertaining. It's a captivating experience with a wide audience appeal catering for young and old.
Its a spectacle, sharks, gadgets, underwater cars and hideouts, submarines, helicopters, henchmen with metal teeth and a fight on a train, it's Moore's Bond at his most balanced and best.
Extraordinary, a must see.
Lead and strong Bond girl Lois Chiles as Dr. Holly Goodhead is more than sufficient and Michael Lonsdale's Hugo Drax is perfect. Calm, charming and debatably one of the best Bond bad guys.
The stunts are fantastic but the stunt doubles are usually so unlike the leads it takes you out of the moment particularly in Moonrakers case. There's excellent sets, a great Barry score but the film has too many comedy moments and although the first half is not bad as soon as Bond goes into space it loses it's way and the great special effects are wasted due to its outlandish laser beam driven ending that feels removed from what 007 is all about. This coupled with too many unsubtle nods to other movies hampers its enjoyment which is a shame for such a successful franchise.
It's fun fast food Bond that overall fails to mix two genres and just cashes in on what was hot at the time. In this case science fiction and cash in it did, surprisingly becoming a smash hit in 1979.
Set against the backdrop of the Cold War spy games. Bond is looking for a missile command system known as the ATAC aided by a Greek out for revenge.
James Bond is once again played by Roger Moore, the opening scene closes a chapter on his wife's death setting a serious tone for Moore's performance and the rest of the movie. There's less gadgets and while the steelier Bond is welcomed with the ending subtle and poignant, Bond girl Carole Bouquet (once the 'face' of Chanel) is less than stirring, mainly due to her lack of dialogue.
Bond bad guy Kristatos played by Indiana Jones and Star Wars actor Julian Glover is bland and forgettable, lacking weight especially when compared to other serious Bond outing villains like Kananga and Licence to Kill's Sanchez or more recently Dominic Greene to name a few. Luckily co-star Topol as Columbo is there to inject life on to the screen with Lynn-Holly Johnson albeit a little annoying as Bibi. Both are good fun and Charles Dance show's up as a henchman.
There's plenty of on location filming giving For your Eyes Only a more realistic feel and while the lavish sets have been played down here, customary with 007 there's some fantastic practical stunts. The ski chase, motor bike action, cliff scaling and so on.
The beach fight and chase is exciting, reminiscent of O.H.M.S.S opening. Cassandra Harris and Moore's performances in their scenes particularly stand out. Even though Bill Conti's score is uneven, at times pure genius and other 80's rubbish tech-no pop, John Glen's directing, Maibaum and Wilson's writing ensure that this entry is more spy action thriller.
In retrospect, despite being a relatively less inspiring Bond credit must go to For your Eyes Only for simply bringing the series back to earth and on track.
Maud Adams returns after her memorable ill-fated role in The Man with the Golden Gun as Octopussy a sort of hybrid of Pussyglore with her merry band of female accomplices', again she proves that she is a first rate actress but is underutilised here. Louis Jourdan plays Kamal Khan and is probably one of the best Bond villains, elegant, calm collected and menacing, his performance seems out of place as he carries a lot of weight. His efforts are marred due to this humour injected outing which includes a gorilla outfit and more '4th wall' bashing with Tarzan yells, tennis match head movement/reactions. Actor playwright Steven Berkoff makes the perfect Soviet general Orlov and Kabir Bedi deserves a mention as Gobinda Khan's bodyguard.
Q gets a larger role but Moneypenny's screen time is limited. As the film progresses Moore appears to look more lost in the proceedings. The three writers give an intricate plot that is sadly cheapened, laced throughout with gadgets of gadget sake and director John Glen sells out at times reverting to Lewis Gilbert Moonraker's absurdity. While Moonraker was half serious with the second half outlandish, Octopussy differs from scene to scene. It begins as weighty serious adventure (like For your eyes only) but then has everything from the kitchen sink thrown in possibly to compete with rival Bond Film Never Say Never Again.
Synonymous with the series there's fantastic locations, in this case wonderfully filmed India, practical stunts notably the train fight and a few great moments involving Faberge eggs.
I have a soft spot for Octopussy (as a youngster it was my favourite) and while it's a lot of fun it never commits to one thematic tone. Overall, it's like an Octopus tentacles going in all different directions.
A View to a Kill (1985)
Oscar winner Christopher Walken gives a fitting cold and intimidating performance as Max Zorin. While arguably not the best Bond villain he is one of the more interesting, being a product of Nazi experimentation during World War II given extraordinarily intelligence but is also psychopathic. As a side note, should David Bowie had been cast the antagonist instead, who knows if it would have changed the dynamics or
enjoyment the film.
Grace Jones plays Zorin's sidekick/lover Mayday and is menacing at times with great screen presence. There are several scenes especially Zorin's meeting with his associates that echo Bonds gone-by which make the film feel tired rather than paying homage. The supporting cast are all adequate and by this time aged Q and Moneypenny can't put a foot wrong. In addition, pre-fame faces pop up - Alison Doody (Indiana Jonesn and the Last Crusade) and Dolph Lundgren.
John Glen direction is again sufficient although Richard Maibaum & Michael G. Wilson's gives us some cringe worthy scenes and dialogue. That aside there's plenty of fine moments including the 'Snowboard' opening, rock salt shootout, burning building escape, Eiffel Tower chase and jump followed by car stunts through Paris. The finale on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge is a highlight (despite some now dated effects) and the mine sets are superb. One of the better theme tunes and score comes from John Barry respectably and '80s hit makers Duran Duran.
Although tired, it's a fun filled adventure that admirably closes Moore's stint as 007 James Bond. Perfect holiday viewing.