Finally done with the Moore era. I love the guy, but I must admit these last few have been a ballache to sit though.
A View to a Kill (1985)
Having a 57 year old Bond is just not a good idea. I’m not ageist, but the fact that the character is meant to be able to do all these incredible physical things is part of the fantasy. There’s a bit in A View to a Kill where “Bond” does a simple combat roll whilst fighting off house intruders. I just thought “Nope, sorry.” and it took me out of the film for those couple of moments. Plus, they didn’t age up any of the Bond women, so it adds a real creepy vibe when Moore is snogging their faces off. I love ol’ Rog, but he should have stepped aside three films ago. Curse those Bond producers for their casting cowardice. Damn their oily hides!
Upon learning that the Russians (yeah, those guys again) have exact duplicates of British microchip designs, James Bond (Roger Moore) is sent to investigate the source of these chips, Max Zorin (Christopher Walken). Bond soon discovers there’s more going on as Zorin and his scary henchwoman Mayday (Grace Jones) plan to flood Silicon Valley in order to gain a monopoly in the microchip business. Along the way, Bond meets geologist Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts) and the pair must fight to stop Zorin. The plot is a pale facsimile of Goldfinger‘s with added bullshit and nonsense. For some loopy reason it’s not bad enough that Zorin is clearly a deranged evil man, but he’s the product of steroid testing during pregnancy in World War II. He’s a super-intelligent Nazi psychopath. How Saturday morning kids’ show. Connery’s Bond would have never have stood for that sort of shit.
Moore has admitted that he himself was “too long in the tooth” to be playing Britain’s finest agent. To me, he seems to be playing the whole thing like a parody. There’s a lot more eye-rolling and knowing nudges than there have been before. Walken doesn’t really do much as Zorin. I really wanted him to get stuck in and chew the fuck out of the scenery but he didn’t. Damn shame too. Tanya Roberts is often referred to as the worst Bond girl, but she’s OK. She’s wooden as hell, but passable. The only person with anything about them is Grace Jones’ May Day. She has a real energy about her and is the only bright spot in a fucking snoozefest of a film.
Jesus this film is tortuous. It’s dull, plodding and Roger Moore only makes cameo appearances in between all the stuntmen doing cool shit. The pre-credits bit starts promisingly with Bond in Siberia, recovering a microchip from 003’s body. There’s some skiing and stuff and convenient things happen so that a snowmobile blows up near Bond. He then uses the front ski off that to snowboard away whilst “California Girls” by The Beach Boys plays. I’d somehow forgotten about this and so it was a fresh cockslap to the face when it came up. It is the lowest moment in Bond history. Yes, worse than the CGI parasailing bollocks in Die Another Day. It’s a fucking warcrime of a move. The titles aren’t much better with girls in rubbish neon paint lazily flouncing about. At least it has that kick-ass Duran Duran track which is one of the only good things about the film. The writing is awful too. Almost every interaction Bond has is some kind of clunking single-entendre.
The stunts are good, but without anything to prop them up they’re just hollow. You can’t find anything thrilling if you’re bored off your arse by everything else. There’s a ridiculous chase through Paris where Bond endangers way more lives than Zorin’s plan does, tear-arsing around in half a Citroen. The firetruck set-piece is extremely well done, but is ultimately pointless. This is Lois Maxwell’s last appearance as Moneypenny and it’s a shame this toss is her swansong. She was always incredibly endearing in the role. That bit in OHMSS with her at the wedding still chokes me slightly. Oh- and Alison Doody shows up as Jenny Flex (was there ever a more ’80s name?). I love her.
Fuck this film. It’s dull, lazy and derivative. Worst Bond ever? It’s a toss-up between this and Thunderball. I’ll get back to you on that one.