The Spy Who Loved Me

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All right, Bond franchise, let’s get this show on the road. We open on a submarine, where everyone acts sleepy ( I guess it’s the pressure or something). They drink coffee, play chess, and smoke (in a sub?) until the thing starts to shake, which perks them up. They lose power and try to surface while a periscope is manned by Chops McGinty. What he sees makes him say, “Oh my God!,” and then that scene’s over. A navy dude talks in a red phone about how a nuclear submarine is missing, and then we’re in MOSCOW, where a Very Russian Dude talks into his own red phone. He calls for Agent Triple X, who has a disgustingly hairy back as he gets it on with a Russian minx. He’s, I guess, the Russian James Bond, so he must have an even worse drinking problem. XXX gets a call on his secret music box, but WAIT! The lady is Agent XXX! Nice job faking me out, movie!

M also gets a call, and he needs to get his best man on the job so he asks Moneypenny where the deuce is 007. She says he’s in Austria on a mission, and M says that she needs to  “tell him to pull out. Immediately!” CUT TO Bond doing that very thing with a lady as they smooch next to a fire. He’s in a cozy cabin and his watch actually has a ticker tape in it that says come on guy, you’re working. So Bond puts on a yellow snowsuit and a large red backpack and splits, but his ladyfriend is a goddamn double agent and calls the bad guys to kill Bond.

He skis down a mountain and they pursue, and hilariously it switches between live-action stunt skiers and Roger Moore in front of a blue screen. Still, the skiing is well done and always makes for a neat visual. Also, a really funky version of the “James Bond Theme” plays during this, and it’s a real toe-tapper. He skis towards a cliff and goes right off the side, where he falls and falls and falls until WHAM! deploying a parachute with the Union Jack emblazoned on it. Now that’s just boss.

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‘I love my job!”

Ah, and here’s the opening credit sequence and song, which is Carly Simon singing the stellar “The Spy Who Loved Me.” Man, this song is so solid; it’s such a well-written, melodic ballad. I’d listen to this on its own. And hey! Barbara Bach’s the Bond Girl in this! The visuals are standard: Bond, guns, and naked girl silhouettes, but it’s very evocative and fits the music well. Oh, and Marvin “EGOT” Hamlisch did the music for this one! Is it that every other Bond movie is good? That’s the pattern I’m picking up on.

So we fade in to the Very Russian Dude, who’s I guess M’s Russian counterpart, and here’s Agent XXX getting her briefing. A Russian sub has disappeared, and she’s headed to Cairo to find her contact. Also, he breaks it to her that Agent Somethingorother has been killed, who was her boyfriend or something, and Bond was responsible for this in the opening sequence. We then cut to Bond in a helicopter, who lands on an aircraft carrier somewhere off of Dover (or it could be anywhere; geography’s not my strong suit). He’s introduced to a bunch of Navy mucky mucks and they get to it spit-spot.

A world map outlines the course of the missing submarine, and Bond puts on an overlay that shows the Russians had been following their sub’s path. Q explains it’s probably “heat signature recognition” and jib jabs about how this all works. He’s so goddamn British that he’s wearing an all-tweed gray suit. His superior confers with Bond about what the fudge are they going to do now and says that James is on his way to Cairo.

CUT TO I guess our new evil dude, who looks like he died a few months ago and his body hasn’t noticed yet. His evil scientists that have been helping them get $10 million for their services. He sends out his lady friend, then presses a button like Mr. Burns that opens a trap door into a shark tank, where she is eaten for their viewing pleasure. After these science guys leave, he pushes another button and all of his paintings retract into the ceiling, showing that this room is underwater.

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“Excellent.”

Then we get to see this crazy fucking place he lives in emerge from the water, and it’s actually really cool-looking. Classical music plays in the background during this scene, and this dude is shaping up to be a pretty solid Bond villain. And hey! Jaws is in this movie! He’s one of the most well-known Bond villain henchmen and is a giant with metal teeth, so he has it all going on. New Bad Guy watches a helicopter taking off and sits back down at his pretty cool digs to blow up a helicopter, which included those two scientists. Psych!

Meanwhile, we get to see Bond play Lawrence of Arabia in the desert as he approaches a tent. He speak Egyptian because of course he does, and then enters the harem. A very bored British dude greets him solemnly and then breaks out in a smile because they’re old Cambridge buddies, you see. He asks Bond what can I do for you, old chap? Bond says information: who’s putting that sub tracking info on the market? This dude says you want to make contact with Aziz Fakesh, and from that dude the next guy whose name I didn’t catch. Then he says, look here old sport, bed down for the evening and take this sexy dame while you’re at it, eh? Of course Bond can’t refuse that. Ever. Like, not even once.

The-Spy-Who-Loved-Me-James-Bond-Roger-Moore-Dawn-Rodrigues.png“Should I indulge? What do you think, audience?”

He goes wandering around in Cairo as the call to prayer is heard, but since that’s not his religion he just goes on his merry way. Ah, Cairo: an incredible-looking city that I will never visit. But I guess that’s why Bond films are made: for homebodies to enjoy the sites of the world vicariously. He just walks into a person’s abode like he owns the place and is intercepted by a woman. She plays coy and honeypot and they get to kissing, but a guy with a gun takes aim. Bond still keeps pressing for information, and then BAM! She’s human shielded by Bond. Holy smokes, yet another woman used as a human shield by Bond. I should make a Bingo card for reoccurring Bond madness.

So Bond gets into a fistfight with this dude, who’s a stocky bald henchman that we previously saw in the New Bad Guy’s crazy submersed headquarters. They punch and kick across a rooftop until the bald henchman gets backed up to the edge. He holds onto Bond’s necktie for dear life and Bond lets him keep slipping, asking where Fakesh is. He answers, “pyramids,” and with the information he needs Bond gives his arm the chop and he drops to his death. He doesn’t even do a quip at the end of this cold-blooded shit; he just straightens his tie and calls him a “helpful chap.” Man, Bond’s all business in this one.

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“I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of this. Just putting my best foot forward. Wait, are we doing puns in this scene?”

At the  pyramids, a lecture is happening and Bond spots Agent XXX talking to a man, presumably Fakesh. Hey, and Jaws is there too! Fakesh looks like Alan Dershowitz and he excuses himself from Agent XXX’s company. Bond squinty-eye spies him, and Fakesh just kind of walks off into the darkness. Hey, here’s Jaws again! Fakesh starts running, Bond’s in pursuit, and Jaws doesn’t run for nobody but just lumbers forward like an unstoppable monster.

Fakesh locks himself into some crazy catacombs but Jaws just bites right through the chain and continues his stomping madness. He corners Fakesh and goddamn bites his jugular. Yikes! Bond pulls a gun on this crazy beast, but the light show fucks up his eyeline and Agent Amasova (I’m going to drop that XXX crap) just kind of hangs out in the background.

jaws_farakThe cover of Jaws’ jazz album, Feelin’ Kinda Chompy.

Whatever though, since Bond got what he wanted—the contact to Kalebah. Agent Amasova is standing outside and asks where Fakesh is, and Bond’s like uhh he was dead when I found him? Two of her goons go to fight him, but he handily beats them and says good night, lady.

At another location, Bond is in swank digs and a tux when he spots Agent Amasova, who he instantly lets know that he knows who she is. Turnabout being fair play, she gives him a rundown of who he is, and when she gets to the whole “murdered wife” thing, he actually reacts with human emotion. Then Bond splits, saying yeah we’ll be seeing each other again I bet. He’s looking for Max Kalebah, the name he got from Fakesh’s address book he swiped, and Kaleban sits there looking like he’s not enjoying the crazy dance going on in front of him.

Bond introduces himself and lets him know that Fakesh is dead, yo. Meanwhile, Jaws pulls up looking like a fucking freak driving a van that’s five sizes too small for him. Bond goes in to buy the sub tracker thingy but Amasova swoops in to bid on it, too. Kalebah shows the device and says let’s start the bidding, but then he’s called away to the phone/die. He gets to the phone and Stalker Cam is on-duty, and indeed it’s Jaws looking to take a bite out of Bond right after he takes the sub tracker dealy. My God, is Jaws a terrifying figure. Those teeth are even worse than the British usually have!

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Well, almost as bad.

Bond swallows his drink and goes to find Kalba, who’s all bloody and dead, and oh the sub tracker dealy is gone too. So Bond literally places an out of order sign on him, and I laughed because that’s something I would do. That is, if I came across a dead guy and didn’t immediately freak out and run away. And if an out-of-order sign was handy.

He goes to the window and sees Jaws galumphing away. Bond hops into the back of the van and Amasova follows him in. They chat/flirt a little and Jaws is like I can hear everything you guys are saying, you know. Oh, and I guess it’s microfilm they’re after. Whatever.

So Amasova falls asleep on Bond in the back of the van and they’re driven into the desert. So neither one of these spies have figured out that they’ve been driving for, like, 6 hours straight? The van stops, Jaws is an unthinkable giant of pain and destruction, and Bond and Amasova get to snooping (but not until Bond pockets the keys from the van. Thanks, movie, for letting me know why stuff will happen later!).

Jaws walks forward and the look on his face suggests that he’s sick of these people thinking they’re getting the drop on him, and this is a really neat historical location they’re filming this scene in, as well. Jaws is already 50 feet above them while they dance around these gigantic pillars with gun drawn and in evening wear. I almost can’t believe they got permission to film in this location. Jaws drops a giant boulder on them, but Amasova warns Bond and he ducks. Then Jaws zips down from above and starts smashing everything in sight because he’s a towering terror of T-Pain!

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“Jaws smash!”

But Amasova holds a gun to him and demands the microfilm. Also, his pockets are bigger than most infants. But she goes to pick up the microfilm and he kicks the gun out of her hand. She has the microfilm, though, so she dashes away. Jaws swings a post at Bond but he ducks and it hits the scaffolding, collapsing it. Bond turns around, dusts off his hands like he did something there, and quips, “Egyptian builders,” which kind of doesn’t make sense. I mean, Egyptian builders built these structures that have stood for thousands of years, so. Yeah. But because Jaws is nigh-indestructible, we see his hand floating out from beneath the rubble.

Amasova gets back to the van, but ha ha! Bond has the keys and he’s a salty fellow, indeed. He grabs the microfilm off the dashboard, but oh shit! Jaws is on the hood and he just tears the goddamn roof off! He starts ripping the car apart with his insane destructive power, and when Amasova tries to run him over, he stops the goddamn car with his sheer force and pushes it into a wall. But she shakes him off and these two spies are fucking quipping like there’s no tomorrow. Are quips a defense mechanism for spies? They drive away and Jaws lifts a gigantic block over his head for some reason, only to drop it on his foot. What? He must need a nap. Or a recharge.

But this car has suffered a massive beating from Jaws and breaks down like a few thousand feet away from that colossus of Crushtown. The “Lawrence of Arabia” music starts and they stumble through the desert in evening wear. I can just imagine Stephen Spielberg sitting in a theater in 1978 watching this and thinking, “Hey! If I just changed the character’s name to something American, I just may have something!” Then he took a dip in his money bin like Scrooge McDuck because he was already a trillionaire by then anyway.

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Pictured: Stephen Spielberg at home.

These two wacky spies catch a boat on The Nile and they flirt a little more. Bond macks it to her and they both exchange quips and kisses. Knowing they’re both spies is nice, since it’s not just Bond using a woman for his fleeting pleasure. Also, it was a trap! Amasova knocks Bond out with…knockout powder? And he awakes at another place sans microfilm. So he strikes out and heads to the new secret British headquarters in Cairo, which is actually in one of those historical cultural landmarks because the British have no respect for anywhere else but Trafalgar Square. They even installed track lighting into this place. Track lighting!

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Track lighting.

But wuh-oh! There’s the intense Russian Dude inside, along with Amasova. Then M stumbles in stinking of Brandy and explains what’s up, buttercup: They’re pooling their resources for the fucked up situation they all find themselves in. But Bond says it’s useless because the vital technical information had been taken out. Then Bond says let’s throw this to Q because he’s a magical man.

We see Q’s crazy contraption lab and oh man, a spring-loaded ejector seat! And why are all the dummies in sheikh garb? Racist. Anyway, Q has a little slideshow prepared for them about the microfilm. Bond spots something and they identify a symbol of the Stromberg shipping line. So Stromberg is one of the richest dudes in the world, and M’s nose looks like it’s going to crumple under those gin blossoms. Bond gives Amasova a sexy look of sex and next thing you know they’re on a train to Sardinia.

Bond still tries to mack it to Amasova, but she’s totally not into it, so he goes into his car to get drunk and punch the wall. But she leans against his door and starts taking off her dress. Hey, did you know Barbara Bach is Ringo Starr’s wife? Talk about a lucky man. Well, that and the fact that he was in The Beatles, I guess. So anyway Jaws is in her closet and goes to bite her to death, but James launches in and smashes the champagne bottle over his head. Jaws just goddamn dominates Bond in this fight and his hand is literally bigger than Roger Moore’s head:

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A big hand for Jaws, everybody! (::shoots self out of a cannon::)

But Bond smashes the lamp and electrocutes Jaws in his metal mouth before kicking him off the train. But goddammit, Jaws is still alive! That guy is a fucking monster! Bond quips, “He just dropped in for a quick bite,” which honestly is a pretty good Bond quip. I’ll take this moment to also state that I’m enjoying the hell out of this Bond adventure. It’s like Raiders of the Lost Ark only the hero is a man instead of a neutered man-child. Speaking of being a man, a sexy sax starts playing the theme song and Bond and Amasova get to getting, and the getting’s good.

CUT TO Sardinia, which looks lovely, and they’re in a one-horse carriage seeing the sites because in these movies, Bond is as much on vacation as he is on a mission. Bond also receives one of the most cherry vehicles I’ve ever seen and actually paused the movie so I could look it up. It’s a Lotus Esprit S1. I’m not a “car guy” by any stretch of the imagination (adjusts ascot, pushes up thick-framed glasses), but I know what I like when I see it, and I love this sweet ride.

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“Say, Bond, can I take this for a spin, just this once? No? Very well.”

Q tries to explain all of the cool gear he loaded up the car with, but Bond cuts him off, saying, “Q, have I ever let you down?” Q says, “Frequently.” But James has such a honey of a car that he just zooms off while Q wonders why he even bothers. And this is one of those moments where I wish I was James Bond: Zooming around beautiful Sardinia with a knockout on my arm in one of the coolest damn cars ever made. Instead, I’m just stodgy old Q, stammering and stuttering while the cool guy zooms away in my hard work.

Bond gets word that they got an audience with Stromberg and a babe pulls up on a power boat (Bond Bingo! B6: Power boat!) to collect them, and they glide towards Stromberg’s completely bonkers submersible fortress.

They disembark from the power boat and Bond audibly says, “very impressive,” which is kind of funny. He ditches Amasova and zips up an elevator to meet Stromberg alone with the warning not to shake hands with the old freak. Bond strolls into Stromberg’s lounge like he owns the goddamn place and even he thinks this place is ridiculously awesome.

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And all this can be yours for just 8000 easy payments of one million dollars!

Stromberg says some badass shit about exploring the world beneath the sea and Bond gives his fakey name Sterling (get it?). They show a lionfish, which is an exquisite fish that has over the past few decades decimated the Caribbean Sea thanks to horribly irresponsible US-based tropical fish owners (I used to be the main editor of a tropical fish magazine; don’t ask), and Bond knows as much as a previous editor of a tropical fish magazine would about this fish, impressing/pissing off Stromberg.

Stromberg’s a total psycho weirdo, but I like the cut of his jib. The underwater world is fascinating, after all. Stromberg says some ominous shit about the future of the world and says goodbye because he’s probably going to try to kill him soon. Jaws shows up to confirm with Stromberg that they’re the spies he’s thinking they are and says to kill them on shore. But fuck that noise because Bond still has that sweet ride!

They zip zap zoom around Sardinia looking so goddamn cool, but a motorcycle gives chase soon enough. We get to see the Lotus S1 start to hard charge and it zips and zooms, ensuring the destruction of innocent truckers all around. Meanwhile, the motorcyclist flies off the side of a cliff, but oh shit! Here comes another car with Jaws taking aim at Bond’s car. Don’t hurt that car! It’s fucking awesome!

But nah, Bond effs their S up but good, and they land in some WOP’s farmhouse. Jaws, being completely indestructible, walks away unscathed. But then a goddamn helicopter starts shooting at them (Bond Bingo: I5: Helicopter Chase!). It’s the dame from the power boat flying it, and she winks at Bond because he’s an irresistible sex machine.

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Pictured: Sex Machine, LLC.

Do they save their money every other picture to make a good one? It certainly seems that way, because this chase kills the last movie’s chase sequence. Anyway, the Lotus S1 becomes a goddamn submarine. That’s right: A goddamn, fucking submarine. Oh man, that’s so cool. And it shoots surface-to-air missiles! Which explodes the copter, so now we’re up to 2 copter explosions this movie (Bond Bingo G26). Holy smokes!

They survey the beauty of the underwater world and approach Stromberg’s wild underwater enclave. Man, this is exactly what I’m looking for in a Bond movie: crazy cool action and wild, over-the-top premises. But not done crappy like the last movie. This movie’s a good balance of campy and cool is what I’m trying to inarticulately say.

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“I didn’t even know this car was submersible!” “Oh shut up, James.”

But ruh-roh! Some dopes try to mess with Bond’s flow. Fortunately, he has the coolest vehicle ever to just effortlessly kill them. Which he does, and often. And so does Amasova, since she stole the blueprints of this car two years ago. That’s another thing I like about this entry: the Bond Girl is a capable spy in her own right and not just a flibbertigibbet like so many before.

I just have to also note that one of my favorite gags in comedy is employed as they are emerging from the ocean in this submarine car: a guy drinking a bottle of booze that sees the craziness of this, then looks at the bottle in disbelief. I don’t know why, but it kills me every time. They drive on-shore and everybody rushes over to see the coolest fucking thing ever.

CUT TO Bond’s swanky pad, where he gets a knock on the door. It’s some busty dame with a message. He returns to the absolutely incredible place he’s sharing with Amasova and I’m more interested in where I can book this room for a vacation at this point.

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“Enh. I suppose this will do. For now.”

It’s some blah-blah about the big crazy tanker Stromberg has built, and Bond lets slip via the nice lighter he has that he bought it at the same place Amasova’s old boyfriend was iced. (That pun was intentional, because he was killed on the slopes, you see.) She easily figures out that he’s the spy that killed her BF and Bond says hey we were on skis can’t see faces and were firing guns at each other, I mean who cares, it’s the crazy business we’re in, right? She says she’s going to kill him and that the mission is over and Bond kind of fucked it all up. But to be fair, I mean, you’re all spies fighting against each other in the Cold War; it’s not exactly a business to be in to find personal attachments. Bond’s had literally dozens of lovers, after all, and half of them end up dead! Now where was I? Oh yeah: Stay away from my booze.

CUT TO the two of them awkwardly wrapped up next to each other while being lowered onto a submarine. They enter the cabin of…I don’t know, some Navy dude…who’s surprised that Amasova is a woman because he’s been in a submarine for too long. Anyway, he invites her to use his shower and WHOA! Amasova nudity! This movie was rated PG, by the way, before that rating meant anything; before the invention of the PG-13 rating, everything was either G (Disney pictures), PG (everything up to and including nudity), or R (nudity and bloody murder) (or X, if it was really nasty). So there’s something to stick in your goddamn bonnet.

Amasova’s still super-pissed at Bond for killing her boyfriend, but the submarine starts going all pear-shaped like the sub in the opening scene, which means Stromberg’s fucking with its everything. We see his massive tanker coming towards the disabled sub and swallows it just like Chompy did in You Only Live Twice! A fellow I know who is more familiar with this series than I had mentioned to me that this movie was like that movie only underwater, and now I’m finally picking up what he was laying down.

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Nom nom nom.

So Sea Chompy eats the submarine and everyone on board has an “oh, fuck” look on their face as this happens. Liparus is the name of the tanker, and it was an actual tanker, but besides that I recognize the name from Greek mythology, where this is the name of the grandson of Odysseus. Take that, people who told me my liberal arts education was a sham! Who’s writing recaps of James Bond films for free in his spare time now? (Oh crap. That’s still me.)

ANYWAY, Stromberg’s henchmen run around in red jumpsuits and secure the submarine. The crew go topside and give up while Bond tells Amasova that they’ll figure out what the fuck to do, somehow. So I guess the plan was for the two of them to start fights immediately, which gets them sent to Stromberg’s office for a talking-to.

Once in Stromberg’s face, he says you stupid fools, we’ll be using your nuclear missiles to destroy both New York and Moscow. Bond says hey Stromberg, you’ve made your point: how much do you want? But Stromberg’s a true villain: he doesn’t give a shit about money but starting a new world under the sea.

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An artist’s rendering of Stromberg’s utopia.

I kind of dig his sentiment but of course don’t like the whole “let’s kill everyone on the planet to get this party started.” Still, these are actual, real stakes: it’s either stop Stromberg or everyone in the world dies. This makes me actually CARE about WHAT’S HAPPENING, leading to TENSION and want of a RESOLUTION. I mean, how hard is it to accomplish, other lesser Bond movies?

Stromberg takes Amasova as prisoner and leaves Bond to witness the end of the world. He zooms away Thunderbirds-style in a powerboat (Bond Bingo I37!) while Bond sticks around to kill like 5 guys in twenty seconds because PG-rating. Then he keeps killing, freeing the various Navy crew on the way, and the funky Bond music starts. It’s super funky.

This crazy palace goes on lockdown mode, but funky Bond music keeps playing so that means they’re winning. Soviets, Brits, and Americans alike fight together to save the world, and I really like the sentiment: the only people we should be fighting are the ones trying to destroy the entire world as we know it. YOU HEAR THAT, WASHINGTON KKK DC? I’m sorry: it’s been a difficult election in the US this year.

There’s shooting and explosions and the usual Bond climax fare which needs no explanation at this point; you can probably just close your eyes and imagine what’s happening here. Also, describing this type of action is tedious and annoying so I’ll just skip over it until something plot-related happens.

the-spy-who-loved-me-127.pngThis image pretty much sums it up.

Amasova is tied up in Stromberg’s swank pad while he gets Negative Nancy news that the Good Guys have broken out and are fucking everything up. Stromberg threatens that this better be the last he hears of anything bad ever, and Nancy tugs at his collar nervously.

Bond opens up a nuclear missile to take its charge and there’s some high-stakes bullshit happening that I’m sure will be fine because it’s James Bond–not M or Q or (God help us) Goodnight–at the controls here. Bond takes some plastic explosive to fuck some garbage up in Shit Town, and business is booming. Literally. He blows up Garbage Town is what I mean, and the Good Guys take over the control room. But It’s too late, says some guy that dies immediately afterwards: the nuclear missiles launch in 4 minutes.

Bond, being a super-genius at everything, reprograms the missiles to blow each other up, but that was impossible to do in 1977—but not afterwards, thanks to my super-genius father who developed the technology to intercept missiles in 1981. Yeah, it’s a brag, whatever. I’m proud of my father and his work in service of the world. Sue me.

So more kabooms occur and awooga sirens go off. Describing this kind of action is unnecessary: either you’ve seen the movie and know what I’m talking about, or you should see the movie and relieve me of that kind of burden. I mean, how do you describe fireballs? They’re balls of fire that come from big explosions. The End.

So they sink the Liparus and the Good Guys escape on their sub. They head towards Stromberg’s fucking awesome lair while Bond gets an order that they have to destroy the base, even if Amarova’s on-board. But Bond says no fucking way: she’s a sweet piece of meat that I want to treat. To dinner, or sex. Whichever comes first. Dig, honky?

CUT TO Bond zipping around on the water in the Lotus L1 version of a jetski, and it also looks really cool. He’s there to Be The Hero, Save The Day, and Get The Girl. Pretty standard Bond intrigue, really. He gets the old “Good evening, Mr. Bond. I’ve been expecting you,” greeting from Stromberg and is told to use the elevator, and while Stromberg tries to drop him to the sharks, Bond’s played this game before and avoids his shark death.

Stromberg invites him to sit down, only to shoot an explosive bolt at Bond. Meanwhile, bond just shoots him several times and Stromberg dies on his salad, which is no way anybody wants to die. Bond looks for Amasova, only to run into Jaws. Bond shoots him in the metal teeth and then his gun jams. Jaws gets the drop on him, throwing him into…the shark room? But Jaws comes right after him and they do some hand-to-giant hand combat. But Bond finds a giant magnet he can control and gets Jaws by the teeth. He lifts this dude up and says, “How does that grab you?” which enh, I’m a little punned out by now. Bond just fucking drops Jaws into the shark tank and runs off to find Amarova. But Jaws actually defeats a shark in the water because he’s an uncontrollable violent lunatic.

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I’ll say this: the shark looks very surprised at this turn of events.

Bond finds Amasova and frees her while Jaws swims to safety(?). The Man fires missiles at the compound, and Bond and Amarova try to find their way out. The compound is flooding with water, and they try to make their escape. Which they do, via escape capsule. That was convenient!

So they bubble up to the surface to safety and Amarova is foxy as hell. But she pulls a gun on Bond and says the mission is over. She goes to pull the trigger but Bond says a condemned man is granted a last request, so instead of killing him they get it on instead.

Meanwhile, that goddamn Jaws is still alive, and these two are in the afterglow of sexual relations—which M, Russian Dude, and everyone else gets an eyeful of. Everyone that sees this condemns them, and M says, “007, what are you doing?” to which he replies, in the most insane closing line I’ve heard so far: “Keeping the British end up, sir.” He closes the curtains and THAT’S ALL! THAT’S THE WHOLE GODDAMN MOVIE RIGHT THERE! The theme song starts playing while the credits roll, and I’m completely satisfied.

Conclusions

Hooray, James Bond franchise! You made another great Bond adventure. I really liked this one; it’s one of my favorites of the film series so far. It’s well-paced, interesting, the characterization is spot-on, and the stakes are suitably high for such wild fantasy. I also like the dynamic between the East and West: it’s a classic 20th century paradigm that’s oddly comforting in the “who the fuck knows what’s happening or going to happen” early 21st century paradigm. There are Good Guys and Bad Guys and Worse Guys, and this movie brings the “Good” and “Bad” together to fight the Worst. What fun.

Barbara Bach—while in no way a Russian or ever coming close to sounding like one—is one of the stronger “Bond Girl” characters in the series. She’s smart, resourceful, cunning, and an equal match for Bond. The airhead Mary Goodnight she is not.

This movie’s dynamics and intrigue hew closer to From Russia with Love, only it’s even better: there are better action sequences, the stakes are higher, and in general this is like two James Bond movies put into one: the wild doomsday fantasy from You Only Live Twice with the spy intrigue and somewhat transgressive plotting (for its time) of From Russia with Love. This flick was seriously enjoyable from first frame to last, and the chemistry between Roger Moore and Barbara Bach made it believable.

While the villain is often absent from the movie, when he does show up he’s as warped an antagonist as we could hope for in a Bond film: single-minded domination, if not destruction, of the entire world to suit his purposes. He isn’t even interested in money; he just wants the world to burn so the fish in the sea can live in peace. There’s something even noble (if not completely nuts) about his motivation. Maybe he should have sought a career in marine biology instead.

Rating

This is a whiz-bang caper with memorable villains, excellent sets and locales, and most importantly a plot that’s worth following. Roger Moore’s Bond matures in this film, and he even gives Bond some pathos, as opposed to the brash arrogance that usually defines the role. It’s one of the liveliest films I’ve seen in the franchise so far and one I will return to again when I’m in the mood for Bond. Simply put: baby, you’re the best. Four out of four Bonds.

4_bond_rating

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Categories: action, film, humor, James Bond

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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  1. Breaking the Bonds: Conclusion – Breaking the Bonds
  2. Breaking the Bonds 2: Franchise Conclusion – Gray Matter

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