Octopussy

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Here we are at unlucky number 13 in the James Bond series, the ridiculously named Octopussy. Considering that the last film was pretty OK, I’m expecting this one to be kind of terrible. But let’s leave the judgment for when I’m actually watching it!

We open on a military base, where gear is being directed into…a horse dressage competition? OK, movie, let’s just say that’s what’s happening. Bond’s wearing an Andy Capp hat and switches into an army uniform. His contact/babe comes up to give him his credentials and puts a mustache on him, which is kind of funny. He fucks with the army guards as he walks right onto the base where super-secret airplane tech is being developed. This army isn’t particularly good at security, which is kind of the main purpose of an army. Oh well: he karate-chops a technician and places some explosives on the secret radar in the nose of a plane. But whoops! He’s on Candid Camera and is taken into custody as the real army dude he’s impersonating shows up.

His contact babe sees him being hauled away on the back of a jeep so she follows in Bond’s jeep, using her low-cut top, legs, and winky face as a distraction. Bond pulls the ripcord on two of these army dudes’ parachutes and they fly off the back. Then he shoots the driver just for the hell of it once he gets into the jeep. He says, “I’ll see you in Miami” to his lady, then unhitches the horse trailer. And then he has a small jet plane in the back, which he uses to zoom away. That’s a hell of a fast plane, too. He gets a heat-seeking missile fired at him for his troubles and tries to outmaneuver it. There is no way this plane existed in real-life. But then he flies through the warehouse that he just was taken away from, leading the heat-seeking missile to his initial target, and the warehouse blows up real good. He treats the horse dressage crowd to some fancy areal maneuvers but lands the plane because he’s out of fuel. So he pulls up to a gas station and says “Fill her up, please,” to the astonished pump jockey. What the?

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“Well this is the fourth-strangest vehicle that’s ever pulled up to these pumps!”

Before the audience asks any more questions, the opening credits sequence shows up. It’s the regular silhouettes and naked girls, and this theme song sounds like it was recorded on Ambien. It feels like they just recycled the style that was cheapest and worked well enough from the past few movies for this opening sequence. It’s not inspiring, nor particularly evocative of what this film’s going to be about. Oh well. There’s also some lasers because it’s the early 80’s. And Tim Rice wrote the lyrics to this sleepy song! I guess he was tired that day. The song ends with a sexy sax and the movie begins….

In East Berlin, as we pan over a particularly gloomy landscape (well, it is East Berlin, after all). A clown(?) is running away from…something…maybe his horrible job at the circus, while a dude with the shiniest knife I’ve ever seen chases him. Since clown shoes and floppy pants don’t help aerodynamics, and he keeps losing parts of his incredibly bright costume as he runs, it’s only a matter of time before the guy catches  him. And so he does! But the clown has some moves and fights this dude off. But wait, it’s two guys who are identical and are dress identically, as well. The clown gets a throwing knife to his back and literally floats down the river in one of the sadder clown deaths (of many) that I’ve witnessed. But what? The clown’s still alive? OK.

CUT TO The British Embassy, where the clown struggles to make his way through the gates. He throws himself through the glass doors to die in a rich man’s house, letting go of a Faberge egg he was clutching. And then that scene’s over because we have to get to the man of the hour, James Bond, and we get a weird POV shot of him about to throw his hat across Moneypenny’s office but sees that the hat rack has been moved and replaced with a younger Moneypenny. Just as Bond says that Moneypenny looks more beautiful every day, she says, “I’m over here,” and Bond’s in Dutch now! The new woman is Moneypenny’s assistant, and Bond tries to weasel his way out of dissing Moneypenny’s looks. He gives her a single rose and then gives the rest to the new assistant. 007 gets out of this sticky bun by heading in to see M and meet some art expert. M hands off the Faberge egg and Bond prattles on about how much he knows about this stupid egg, but M’s like joke’s on you fuckface: it’s a fake. The real one’s being auctioned off, and Bond now has to go to a goddamn auction for Faberge eggs for king and country. M gives some backstory about why this may be happening but says it’s your job to find out stupid, especially since 009 was the clown from before and he’s dead now, you ass.

Octopussy-M-Robert-Brown.png“Bond, you stupid, clumsy, inefficient oaf! Oh, I can’t stay mad at you. Give us a kiss.”

CUT TO some Soviet comrade Russkie meeting about some bullshit, and some psychotic-seeming dude with an outrageous accent says fuck NATO, we do what we want in the CCCP. This nutjob goes on about how many crazy troops and attack positions he has set up to crush the world, but his general/boss says your plan is fucking nuts-o, dude, and we’re not going to be doing this plan, end of story. Taylor Swift’s mom answers the phone and brings a message over to Captain Crazypants, and he says dammit, I have to go. CUT TO the Kremlin Art Depository, where a high-strung Russian has a meltdown about the missing forgery. Captain Crazypants doesn’t like this information and demands a new one needs to be made. Then that’s the end of that scene…

Because we have to go to that auction that the world apparently hinges on. Bond’s there with the art expert, who looks like he goes to these kinds of things all the time, and Bond can’t keep his eyes off the ladies. The bidding starts as Bond sees a Cover Girl model that distracts him from doing his fucking job. Jesus James, get some counseling! The bidding is as exciting as you could imagine, and the art expert and Bond gossip like school girls about what’s going on. Bond gives the highest bid because he’s such a badass/never follows the rules, driving the price up to half a million pounds and gets the stink-eye from the buyer.

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“Egg?” “Not now, Bond.”

Bond goes to spy on the buyer/that woman he’s been eyeing that’s with him, and sends another guy to follow them. Meanwhile, Bond gets some shit from M about bidding that high, but Bond’s like since I’m an amoral thief I switched out the legitimate egg with the forgery, and that forgery will smoke him out. Also, our tail told me he went to Heathrow Airport to Rajasthan, India, and he’s going there as well. Man, Bond is just schooling M in this one.

India looks great, and Bond looks out of place, as usual. And whaat? The snake charmer plays the “James Bond Theme”! And Bond comments on what a cool tune it is! How meta. It turns out to be his contact, and they get into a little taxi that zooms through the streets. Bond gets some exposition from his target, Khan (KHAAAAN!), who’s some bigwig that has a mountaintop fortress. Bond gets to his hotel, which is super-luxurious and comes with dozens of women in bikinis, and checks in. He also has a nice hotel suite that comes with a lovely looking young Indian lady. He sits down and wonders what to do first on his vacation/mission and steps out on his balcony. There, he espies that same woman he was giving the creep-eye to at the auction.

Then LATER, he goes downstairs in his white tux jacket to (what else?) gamble. This time, the game is backgammon (and I think the first time that it’s not baccarat), and Bond figures out that Khan is cheating. This dude is just squeezing his opponent for cash, so Bond decides to hit on the woman (as usual). She susses out that this isn’t a coincidence and says talk to the hand because the face don’t want to hear it. Bond steps in to gamble because of his terrible addiction issues and loses a hundred thousand rupees. Bond takes out the real Faberge egg to bet with and uses Khan’s loaded die to win the hand. Khan says you better spend that money quickly, because I’m going to kill you soon. He hands back the die but Khan’s henchman crushes them into dust with one hand. But hey! Now Bond’s even slightly richer than he was before! He hands out stacks of cash to his pals because he’s generous and cool.

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Gambling’s a lot easier when you just cheat!

Outside, Bond gets in one of those little ridiculous two-seater taxis and is followed by Khan’s henchman in another taxi. His Indian associate, whose name is Vijay, says check this shit out: this is a crazy spy car, too! But a smaller, shittier one than what you usually drive. Anyway, they get attacked by a bunch of goons trying to kill Bond, and Bond’s stabbed in the chest. Fortunately, that fat stack of cash saves him, and there’s a bunch of puns about tennis because Vijay used a racket to fight some of the dudes off, and again, I’m going to refrain from describing a car chase in detail. The Indian culture is very colorful but it looks wildly crowded.

Back on foot, Bond is chased by more henchmen and some Indian stereotypes are thrown about, including a guy laying on a bed of nails, hot coals that are walked over, a sword swallower, and a guy juggling with fire sticks. He gets back into Vijay’s taxi and they zoom off with Khan’s henchmen in chase. Bond has an idea: throw stacks of cash into the air and these filthy vagrants will swarm the street! And it works! To the detriment of any sort of positive portrayal of the Indian population.

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“Ha ha! Dozens are dead and I’ve smeared your entire culture–but we have fun, don’t we?”

They get to a secret spy office, where (WHAAT?) Q is already, all pissed off that Bond keeps making his life unbelievably difficult. Q shows him some secret gadgetry that is all based on Indian cultural stereotypes and Bond just quips away like he’s the Quipmaster General. Q puts a homing device and microphone into the Faberge egg, as well as a pen that spits acid, the homing device that works with Bond’s spy watch, and a watch with a TV screen in it. He then uses a camera to zoom in and out on a woman’s chest because he’s emotionally 7. Q says bugger off, Bond, and he does…

To his swanky hotel to have a nice dinner outside. He’s informed that his table is ready, and he’s having a surprise dinner with that Cover Girl from before. This is Magda, who says give us the egg or we’re going to kill you, and Bond just keeps goddamn quipping. I guess it works, since they’re back in his room having had the sex and drinking champagne in bed. The sexual puns are gross, as usual, and Bond notices a strange octopus tattoo on Magda, who says, “That’s my little octopussy,” and I just retch. Worst. Title drop. Ever!

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I can’t stand it when people won’t stop talking about their tattoos.

Khan and his henchman roll up to the hotel, and I guess it’s Bond-killing time. James gets to snoozing while Magda get dressed and tries to steal the egg. Of course, Bond knows that she’s taking it because he wants to find out where she’s headed. She ties her sash (I know there’s an actual word for it, but I can’t remember it right now) to the balcony, which she uses to slip down to a waiting car. Then Bond’s knocked out by Khan’s henchman, whose name (thanks, Wikipedia!) is Gobinda.

Khan walks through a nice Indian garden and into an aquarium-filled room and talks to an obscured woman who is apparently the one in charge. Khan says I have him on ice at my place, but she says bring him here. Khan’s like, that’s a really bad idea, but why not? Bond wakes up with a bump on his noggin (his brain must be like a scrambled egg by now) and looks out to see guards all over the place. Gobinda says dinner’s at 8, so we CUT TO Bond looking impeccable in a tux as he’s walked down to dinner.

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“Why are you wearing a tux?” “It’s after six. What am I, a farmer?”

Over dinner, Khan and Bond talk what best cruel torture to use for information, and Bond gets an absolutely disgusting entrée of stuffed sheep’s head. Then Khan eats an eyeball and dinner’s fucking over. Bond says goodnight to Khan and Magda and is then escorted back to his room by Gobinda, who leaves for the night because he has a life outside of work, after all.

Bond uses his acid pen to melt the bars on his window (Why do they always let him keep all of his spy stuff when he’s captured? It’s a really bad blind spot to have if you’re a Bond villain.) and starts scooting around the ledge. But he takes this opportunity to peep on Magda undressing before going on his way because Bond has some serious sexual issues. A helicopter lands below, and Bond espies General Orlov (AKA Captain Crazypants) getting out and heading into this crazy place. Bond leaves through Magda’s door and observes Khan and Orlov walking into an office. But to do what? Stay tuned! Meanwhile, Magda observes Bond doing all of this, and I’m thinking that she’s the Big Bad in this movie.

Bond puts his earpiece in to listen to their secret conversation, and they’re talking forgeries. But what does this have to do with anything, movie? ANSWER ME! They load some phony-baloney jewels and etc. onto the helicopter, but Gobinda’s putting in some overtime because his henchman sense is tingling. Orlov says that Bond has to die now and smashes the Faberge egg, which uncovers the homing device and transmitter. Bond ducks into a room, where those identical assassins from before are hanging dead on meat hooks. He locks the freezer from the outside, so I guess Bond’s now the spy who went into the cold. (Quips, Inc., at your service!).

Gobinda reports that Bond’s escaped, but really he’s just looking chilly in the freezer. They sound out a crazy search party for him and everyone involved looks pretty psyched about the prospect of hunting someone down. But nope! Bond wrapped himself up like a side of beef and is loaded into the back of a jeep. He goes “MUAHAHAHAHAHA!” (seriously) at the guys that start unloading him, and just kind of gives himself away while surrounded by hundreds of people that are hunting him. He runs through the jungle, where he walks into a giant spider web and goes yuck, and then has to contend with a tiger, which he makes sit on command(!). Then he’s chased by guys riding on the backs of elephants (Did I use my plurals correctly there? Write in and win a prize!), and he sits still while a snake slithers over him. This is a pretty exotic Bond adventure. He just runs right into the face of danger and the chase continues.

The stupidest thing I’ve ever seen in a Bond movie then happens, and that’s saying a lot since a lot of stupid stuff happens in these movie. He spots some vines, and then—completely out of nowhere—an actual sound clip of Tarzan doing the Tarzan yell plays as he swings from vine to vine. That’s so fucking stupid. This is what I mean when I talk about how these movies sometimes go for over-the-top humor and it just ends up being really, really stupid and unenjoyable. His quips and puns and the way he treats Q like shit is funny on its own; we don’t need these silly slapstick moments, too. It really pulls me out of the picture. OK, now back to the recap.

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Pictured: So fucking stupid.

After this idiotic moment passes, he lands in a lake and burns a leech off his body, like this is Stand By Me or something, and then a crocodile stalks him. Bond is really having a rough time in this foot chase. He sees a boat and wades out to it, actually calling out, “hey!” and this is a low point for Bond’s courage. They save him while Khan swears that he will kill Bond.

Back with his Indian friends, Bond gets the lowdown about Octopussy, who’s apparently the name of a secret bigwig who runs a women-only island fortress. Q just hangs out in the background doing…something. Then Bond uses a fake crocodile submarine (where he looks through a silly visor, because that’s a recurring subtle thing that’s actually honestly funny in these movies) to sneak onto this all-female island. He peeps on them because, once again, massive problems inside his head, and then sneaks onto the compound. He’s immediately spotted by the mysterious Octopussy, and it turns out not to be Magda but just some woman we haven’t seen yet. Bond keeps a gun on her and interrogates as to what the fudge is going on, anyway? She makes Bond a martini (shaken, not etc.), and he gives a little Bond history lesson about whatever. Khan (KHAAN!) shows up to let her know that Bond has escaped, but whammo, there he his! Khan says he has a nasty habit of surviving and Khan says that he’ll kill Bond now, but Octopussy says no thanks, she’ll do it since you can’t get one fucking thing done right.

It turns out her nickname came from her father (gross), and she says hey why is smuggling even illegal, am I right? Anyway, stay for a few days and hang out. Maybe this is going somewhere. Bond gets led to his room by one of her red-suited henchladies, and the scene just kind of ends there. CUT TO some filthy hovel that Khan and Gobinda are hanging out in, where he pays these filthy wretches to go kill Bond. Then a dude that has a buzz saw yoyo zips it down from above and slices a picture of Bond in half, so that was pretty cool.

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Yo-Yo Ma’s first album was…different…from the rest of his output.

James rifles through his room and finds a program for Octopussy’s Circus, and I’m wondering just why she’s divesting her holdings like this. It seems silly to me, is all. Anyway, Octopussy is on her way to Europe and Bond says I’m probably going to leave before you get back, and she tries to buy Bond but he’s like no dice, lady. She gets all huffy and splits, so Bond follows her and force-kisses her. She just goes with it because she read the script and James Bond continues to be a lech. This is a step backwards, Bond, not forwards. Meanwhile, Vijay is on lookout duty when he gets iced by Yoyo Buzzsaw Man.

Bond wakes up with a start and his spy sense is tingling. Or his venereal disease. Either way, something’s bothering him. A bunch of these filthy mercenaries crawl out of the water while Octopussy’s like, nah it’s cool, I’m sure we’re safe. So they make out for a hot minute until Yoyo Buzzsaw cuts their pillow in two. Then assassins are on him like monkeys on coconuts , but he just kicks all of their asses. One dude gets a face full of aquarium and is killed by an octopus(!) that acts like a face-hugger from Alien. Then Octopussy’s hench-ladies show up to watch Bond fight a dude in the water who ends up getting eaten by a crocodile. Octopussy thinks he’s dead, but no, he just jumped back into his secret crocodile submarine and makes his way back to Q.

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“I gotta say: I’m having a lot of fun on this mission.”

Bond’s on his way to Berlin to go to the circus, and one of his superiors wonders why any of these people would be involved in a jewelry caper (as am I). He gets a bunch of phony documents to get into East Berlin (Remember the Cold War and when the Berlin Wall came down? Because most people under 30 wouldn’t!), and we cut to a pretty shitty-looking circus. Then again, most circuses are shitty, so I guess I can’t tell the difference. Hey! Those identical knife throwers are still alive! But I thought I saw their corpses earlier. Maybe that was two different identical dudes. Anyway, Bond takes a seat and spots General Orlov across the way, who doesn’t look like he’s enjoying the show. I’ve seen Cabaret enough to understand that this kind of campy weirdo burlesque circus crap goes down smooth in Germany, but I just can’t understand the appeal. At least Cabaret had great tunes; this just has a snare drum and some horns. This goes on for a while as key players like Gobinda and Khan (KHAAAAN!) file into the scene, and Bond sees these dudes walk into the backstage area.

CUT TO Octopussy’s Circus loading their gear up and splitting out of town while Bond just picks up a wicker basket and pretends like he’s supposed to be there. Back in Russia, the director of the Hermitage shows up and spots the forgeries while all of the real jewels are being transferred into a circus train. I don’t know, there’s a lot to try to suss out here and I’m not doing a very good job describing it. The real jewels are in a train car in a fused-closed safe. There.

Bond finds himself now riding the undercarriage of said car as it starts choo-choo-ing down the way, or as I like to call it, riding Amtrack. At the next stop, the cars are switched, and Bond sneaks onto the bottom of that car, as well. I guess this was all in exchange for a nuclear bomb of some sort from the Russians, who need these jewels because….? Whatever: he’s still after those darn jewels. Octopussy and Khan talk about how much darn money they’re going to make from these jewels while Orlov splits. Gobinda’s skulking about while Bond goes in to get those jewels, almost getting a welding torch to the face. But he knocks the guy out with the circus’ cannon(!). He loads the dude into the cannon, hands off the canister with the jewels in it, and waits for Orlov to enter the car to hold him at gunpoint. Bond asks Captain Crazypants why that bomb is here, and he’s like, I’m looking to take over the world you dope, do you not get it yet?

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General Orlov: Use as directed.

Orlov goes into his crazy world domination madness while a soldier opens the door and is genuinely surprised when he’s shot in the forehead. Bond takes fire but kills everybody, as usual, but misses the train as it pulls away. So he steals the general’s car and just smashes everything everywhere in the process.He also drives on two wheels for the first time since Diamonds Are Forever, but this seems to fuck the car up: he’s riding on rims!

So Bond makes lemonade out of lemons and uses his rims-only wheels to drive on the train tracks like he’s a little choo-choo! It’s madness. But he catches up to the train, using an umbrella as a speed regulator, and jumps onto the train before another train on the other track smashes the car to bits. Aside from the obvious blue screen effect, it’s a pretty well-paced action sequence.

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Car Train: Next on FOX!

Bond finds the other knife-throwing dude practicing in that same cannon room that he was just in, and Gobinda and knife-thrower have to stick around in that room. One of the Russian muckety-mucks that say no way, Jose, to Orlov’s plan shows up, finds the diamonds in the back of Orlov’s car, and zip zooms away on a helicopter. Border agents look through everything in the cannon room, and Bond is dressed up in a gorilla costume to hide from them. James Bond in a gorilla costume. This movie is goddamn wacky.

So the Russian helicopter lands and catches up to Orlov, and he runs to get on the train but is shot in the back. So that’s the end of Orlov? Looks like it. His Russian boss calls him a common thief and he just kind of…dies. Back on the train, Bond stands there with his silly gorilla outfit on and observes Gobinda, Khan, and the knife-thrower setting the timer on the nuclear weapon. Bond, being a clumsy goose, accidentally makes a noise so Gobinda picks up a sword and cuts off the gorilla suit’s head. But nope! Bond’s squirreled away to the top of the train.

Impressive-looking stunt work shows Bond/a stuntman running on top of a moving train, and hanging off its side, and Bond knocks on Octopussy’s window to let him in, but Khan enters and starts firing at him through the window. A stuntman dangerously runs on top of the train until Bond is dragged down by Gobinda, who starts slicing away like a fucking screaming maniac. But he cuts open a steam line, which lets Bond get back on top of the train.

Gobinda and Bond fight on top of the train, and then the knife thrower gets up there, but Bond tosses both himself and the knife thrower off (goddammit movie, I wish you would say peoples’ names more than once). The knife thrower sticks Bond onto a wooden door, but Bond dodges him at the last moment and throws a knife in him, saying, “This is for 009!” Which is cool, but I thought I was going to see his brother get fired out of that cannon at some point on the train, so I’m a little disappointed at that.

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Sure, hand-to-hand combat on top of a moving train is fine, but where’s the dead guy being fired out of a cannon? (::Stamps feet, pouts::)

Bond gets to the roadway and tries to get to town while the circus does its circus parade. Man, do I hate circuses. If animal cruelty and nightmares had a child, it would be a circus. Some kids stop like they’re going to give Bond a lift, but then zoom off laughing at his ridiculousness. Burn! Finally, Bond gets a ride with some of the most friendly Commies I’ve ever seen, and the circus is getting set up. Gobinda checks on the bomb to see if it’s still active, and yup! Certain death for us all. Magda gets a cameo as she works the crowd while these over-friendly Commies have seemingly adopted Bond as their son.

Bond just straight-up steals a woman’s car to get to this crazy circus of doom, and Khan leaves some US Army officers to die (the circus is taking place on a US Army base, which what? Since when would the US Army allow this?), and Gobinda and Khan make their escape. Meanwhile, Bond’s being chased by police officers but they’re like buzzing flies around a whale’s head in a simile that doesn’t even make any sense.

These Army officers are chumps that are just eating up this ridiculousness while Magda distracts them with some slight-of-hand. What is even going on? Bond just blows by the guards of this US Army base and as they scramble to find him, Bond ducks into a trailer and dresses up like a fucking clown. It’s appropriate, given how insane this movie’s been so far, but I never thought I’d see James Bond dressed up as a clown. The guards get the message that the intruder is dressed up like a clown, but coincidentally there’s another clown dressed up exactly like him and gets taken away. Bond goes up to the US officers and says hey, there’s a bomb in that damn cannon, but nobody believes a clown. Octopussy has a change of villainous heart and decides to help the forces of Good instead of Evil this time.

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Ridi Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto!

Once it’s revealed that the clown tells the truth, Bond deactivates the bomb just before it goes off. While all the officers and guards line up to verbally worship Bond the Clown, Octopussy says I’m going to kill that fuck Khan. Back to India! And Bond presumably sticks around because he was killing it with the crowd as a clown.

In India, Octopussy’s insane circus helps her get revenge on that idiot Khan, with her gals pretending to be prostitutes to distract his guards. You know, they should recruit more circus performers into the secret service: they’re doing a great job infiltrating this guy’s fortress. Octopussy vaults into the inner sanctum while Khan and Gobinda get to burning all evidence of their malfeasance.

Octopussy enters Khan’s room with a gun drawn and says you fink. He tries to worm his way out of this, but he acts like she’s being a real silly Billy. But then the alarm is sound and everyone starts kung fu fighting. Seriously, these circus performers are pretty darn good at this. Meanwhile, Q and Bond enter via hot air balloon decked out with the Union Jack (WHAT?). Q correctly assesses that the circus fighters are doing pretty darn good, but Bond can’t find Octopussy in the melee. So Bond jumps out of the balloon and into Khan’s house, while Q says don’t be an idiot, 007. But Bond’s like, this isn’t the first impossible thing I’ve had to do today, and he slides down the banister while firing a machine gun. We get a POV of the gun mowing down Khan’s henchmen, which is pretty cool, and the “James Bond Theme” starts bustling on the soundtrack.

James gets outside while Q saves the day by knocking out one of the guards that pointed a gun at the circus fighters/henchwomen with the basket of the plane, and they swarm him and start kissing him. He says, “I haven’t got time for that…maybe later,” which is about as Bond-esque as Q has ever gotten in the series so far. What a player!

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…and Q never went back to England again.

Bond chases after Octopussy and Khan on horseback, but they load themselves into a plane. So Bond chases after the plane on horseback and then jumps onto the tail of the plane as it takes off, which is completely nuts. Up in the air, Bond tries to open the door to get inside, and Octopussy is just as surprised to see James looking in through the window as he is at what he’s doing. I hope the stuntman that had to do this insane thing in real-life just for these scenes was paid a good amount for it. Bond rips out the wires for the right propeller, while Khan orders Gobinda outside to kill Bond. Octopussy gets a punch on him but to no effect, while Gobinda and Bond start fighting on top of the plane that’s in mid-air. Seriously, the coverage shot shows two guys actually fighting on top of a plane! But Bond knocks Gobinda off and he plummets to his death.

Bond finally finds his way into the cabin just as Khan lands the plane. But it goes over the side of a mountain and crashes, sending a firey fireball (I don’t know) into the sky. Bond pulls Octopussy off from the side of the mountain, and they’re safe. CUT TO M and the Russian General asking where the hell his jewels are while we see Bond in traction while getting all of the kisses from Octopussy on her slave ship. He literally knocks off all of his harnesses and casts just to get some, and THE MOVIE ENDS RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

Conclusions

That was a weird, but fun, Bond adventure. There’s a difference between just being weird, like The Man with the Golden Gun or (heaven forbid) Moonraker, and being weird to set off a loopy adventure. Fortunately, this one lands firmly in the latter’s camp. Speaking of camp, I’m surprised there was any scenery left since so many of the performers in this one were chewing on it so heavily. It’s just on the right side of “ridiculous, stupid, crazy” Bond and “This is so ridiculous, stupid, and crazy that I don’t want to watch it anymore.” While some stuff was bonkers (such as the actual Tarzan yell being played while James was swinging from vines), other stuff was just bonkers enough to work (like Q in the balloon, or the yoyo buzz saw, Bond in a crocodile submarine, or General Orlov’s performance in general).

In no way is this the best Bond movie, but it’s quite a bit of fun. For such a long Bond adventure (clocking in at 2 hours 10 minutes), it’s well-paced, and with so many crazy things happening all over the place, I was never bored while watching it. Even though—like most Bond movies—it’s a slow boat in Exposition Land before anything actually happens, finally after 13 movies they figured out how to make the plot buildup stay interesting.

This is also a good example of how “over-the-top” Bond can be done well: unlike the cartoonish insanity of Moonraker, or the sheer campiness of The Man with the Golden Gun, the more outrageous elements on display in this film are fun and kind of silly and ridiculous without becoming a caricature of James Bond (or the Bond franchise in general). Even though the title is groan-worthy, and some of the “comedic” elements are desperately unfunny, watching a Bond film having some fun with itself in turn makes it fun to watch.

Rating

Not the best, not the worst; not the most exciting, but it was never boring. The Bond Girl was kind of meh, but Orlov was a completely insane villain while Khan (KHAAAN!) kept the villainy from becoming completely insane. It’s a well-balanced Bond adventure—if only it had a little higher stakes for most of its running time, and that these stakes were introduced a little sooner. It was fun—not great. So, what the hell—two and a half out of four Bonds.

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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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