A View to a Kill

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We’re already up to 1985 with A View to a Kill, and Roger Moore must be about 60 by now. This is his last Bond film, and with this I say farewell to a pretty good James Bond actor. We open on two Russians flying a helicopter in the Arctic(?) and see James Bond digging something up in the snow. Turns out it’s a dead guy, and Bond is spotted by the helicopter. He continues to dig through the snow like a dog while these Russkies come after him. He searches the dead guy’s pockets and finds a picture of this guy’s wife and daughter in a locket, along with some microchip. But enough of that! He jumps 30 feet into a crevasse and instead of dying starts totally radically skiing away. Is this Hot Dog: The Motion Picture?

So there are snowmobiles and machine gun fire and helicopters after our rapidly-ageing Bond, but his stuntman is spry as ever. He jacks a snowmobile and kicks off  his skis while the North by Northwest-esque helicopter fires on him. Finding a snowboard(!), Bond shreds and…WHAT? The Beach Boys’ “California Girls” (well, a cheesy cover, anyway) starts playing for no reason whatsoever! What the hell, music director? Anyway, he totes shreds across water (but you bojo! A snowboard stops above water! Not unless you have POWER!), and that little bit of oddness is finished.

a-view-to-a-kill-111Pictured: bojo.

Bond fires a flare gun into the helicopter, which makes it go all goosey in the sky until it explodes on impact as it smashes into the side of an iceberg. A secret British hatch opens up, and next thing you know Bond is relaxing in a snazzy-looking 80’s submarine, which is disguised as the least believable iceberg ever. Bond has a giant tin of Beluga caviar and a bottle of vodka and goes right into the sex with his submarine pilot/babe.

And then there’s some synth-stomping beats and orchestra hits as the opening credits start. This is Duran Duran’s “A View to A Kill,” which is appropriately 80’s-tastic. A lady painted in DayGlo paint dances around while this pop tune kicks along. The song’s not half-bad, but it’s also not very good depending on whether you enjoy 80’s synth pop, which I do, to a point. I mean, it’s no “Su-su-sudio,” but it’s era-appropriate; whether Bond is era-appropriate for the 1980’s is another kettle of fish.  Hey! John “James Bond Theme” Barry helped co-write this song! Good for him! He probably played the George Martin to their Beatles. Duran Duran being The Beatles in this analogy. I don’t know.

And I don’t care, because now the movie starts proper with Bond entering Moneypenny’s office and finding a big frilly hat on the hat rack. However, it’s Moneypenny’s hat, and she’s dressed like it’s Easter Sunday. M cuts in to say shut it, Bond, get in here. Q’s already in there, playing with an RC robot that is apparently a surveillance machine but looks like something I got for Christmas in 1985. Q explains what a microchip is because 1985 while Bond explains what an EMP is because again, 1985. But apparently they developed a chip that won’t get fried from an EMP. That’s kind of impossible but then again, this is a James Bond movie, so it gets a pass. M mentions that Zorin Industries is the Big Bad in the movie while its founder, Max Zorin (cool name), is a “staunch anti-Communist” like all good capitalists are. M says get dressed because you’re going to the Kentucky Derby!

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The Simpsons are going to Kentucky!

Moneypenny’s there (and that’s why she’s all dressed up, I guess), and Bond and all of the fellas are wearing top hats and gloves because classy. They look through their binoculars and spot Grace Jones wearing some wacky outfit, and hey! There’s Christopher Walken! Who plays Max Zorin, so he should be an interesting villain. Since I don’t understand horse racing (It’s just horses running around in a circle, right?) I don’t know what’s going on here, but again: everyone looks very dapper in their finest and this is just the nicest Easter ever! I guess Zorin’s horse won the race, and the Good Guys buzz buzz about how the race was probably fixed, or so says some Frenchy. Bond says let’s meet this guy that’s investigating this crooked race while Bond hands Moneypenny his winning ticket, of which he must have won like a billion dollars because Bond sold his soul to Satan back in the 1960’s to always win while gambling.

NOW IN PARIS, he meets with this Clousaeu-esque detective who has an outrageous mustache and even better facial expressions. Bond gets some background info from this ridiculous Frenchman while the floor show starts, which is just a bunch of paper butterflies on strings floating around while a lady whistles. It’s pretty stupid. And my God, does Roger Moore look old in this. Then someone shows up on the balcony dressed in all-black and takes over butterfly duty, and one of these butterflies kills the Frenchman. Bond makes a quip about a murder that just occurred and races after this masked figure up the Eiffel Tower. But this masked figure uses the fishing pole(?) to almost flip Bond off the side. And also tie up his legs? Whatever, movie.  The masked figure walks out on the girders while Bond pursues, and then dives off the top of the Eiffel Tower, deploying a bumblebee pattern parachute. So Bond jumps on top of the elevator for a quick ride down.

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Au revoir, suckers!”

At the base, Bond pulls out some lazy Frenchman who’s eating a baguette and drinking behind the wheel and drives like a fucking maniac down the stairs. He flows the parachute while destroying everything in his path on the chomps de liasson, and the car he drives gets cut in half but is still somehow working. With only the front two wheels. That’s just silly. Anyway, he drives this two-wheeled abomination to a bridge, where he jumps into the middle of a wedding party while chasing this masked figure. Man, Bond is not treating Paris with a lot of respect. So Zorin zooms by in a power boat (Bond Bingo!) and picks up this masked figure, who is Grace Jones.

M berates Bond for destroying Paris single-handed, and Bond says whatever, fuck this country; I want to check out Zorin’s auction of horses that’s happening. So he pulls up to an amazing estate with Sir Godfrey (one of the Ministry of Defense dudes) as his chauffeur him. He takes the fake name St. John Smyth and gets to stay in this amazing place while the auction happens. It’s pretty wild: these horses live better than I do. Bond mixes in with the crowd and bluffs his way through horse talk.

Sir Godfrey does some snooping of his own around the stables and he’s like James Bond’s older, fatter, stupider brother. Meanwhile Zorin gets whispers about this St. John Smyth character that’s infiltrated this pony show, and Sir Godfrey enters the stables looking for…something. But what? The movie just refuses to tell us. Bond gets a little invitation from Zorin for that afternoon while Sir Godfrey’s banished to the servant’s quarters.

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“I’ve been knighted…worth half a billion dollars…own mansions on four continents…and yet being James Bond’s valet is the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me!”

This place looks like Versailles (or Monmouth University, my alma mater and sometimes place of employment), and Bond meets a woman whose name is Ginny Flex (ugh), who shows him to his palatial digs. He also mocks Sir Godfrey as he carries his bags because aristocrats find it amusing to watch one of their own do servant work. Of course, Bond’s room could fund my whole life, and they get to checking the room for bugs.

In the control room that’s surveilling them, they find a bug in the lamp and Bond puts on a mini-cassette that he recorded berating Sir Godfrey’s awful valet work. I would like to see a scene where they’re sitting across from each other recording this bit of berating. Instead, they see a helicopter land from the balcony and a sexy sax plays as a pretty lady gets out, greeted by Zorin. Bond says to Sir Godfrey I’m gonna get all up in that thang, and Godfrey’s like daaaamn playa!

At the reception that afternoon, Bond’s dressed in a white tux and Grace Jones glares at him menacingly. Then he puts on spy shades to eye that pretty lady from before, who receives a check from Zorin. A scar-faced goon comes up and harasses him, but Bond goes to get a drink instead of listening to his jibber-jab. Then he breaks into Zorin’s office because Bond’s only half on vacation, after all. Bond jimmies open a drawer and starts snooping through Zorin’s checkbook and taking an imprint of the last check that he signed, for five million dollars to that pretty lady.

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Here’s a blank check from Zorin. Just write in whatever amount you want and I’ll see you in 5 to 10 for check forgery!

Figuring he’s worked enough for one day, Bond goes back to the party and talks to some monocle-wearing Kraut. He’s introduced to some ugly American in the oil business who maintains Zorin’s interests. Bond asks Mr. Monocle how he’s breeding such great horses, and this Nazi fuck says you could breed humans the same way you can horses. Then Zorin gets a one-on-one with Bond, and Christopher Walken can’t do anything but play Christopher Walken, which is enough for me. They quip back and forth and it’s surreal to watch James Bond talking to Christopher Walken.

Bond says enough work for one day and grabs a champagne bottle and two glasses to talk to that pretty lady he’s been stalking. I’m trying to place who this lady is because she looks familiar and pause the movie to look her up. And hey! It’s Midge from That 70’s Show! I’ve also written about her on this blog before: she was one of the women in Tourist Trap. Anyway, her character’s name is Stacey Sutton (thanks again, Wikipedia!). Zorin and Grace Jones (whose characters’ name is May Day, which is an admittedly cool Bond Girl name) buzz buzz about getting Sutton away from this dude, and she’s whisked away to the chopper.

Meanwhile, Bond hangs out in the stables with Sir Godfrey and they find a secret elevator to  a sublevel. It’s a crazy lab. Bond also has a mini-cassette player going on in his room where he apparently recorded himself snoring to trick the people monitoring him, which is kind of funny. In the lab, Bond looks at some test tubes while Sir Godfrey says the horse down there has had surgery. Apparently, this horse has a microchip implanted into him that releases horse adrenaline or something so he goes real fast. The elevator starts a-whirring and these two knuckleheads turn off the lights and zip down to yet another sublevel, where a bunch of Zorin products are being boxed up. These are microchips, as well: there’s “a world surplus of microchips, and Zorin is hoarding them,” which….OK? So why is this a problem? I don’t think the writer of this movie understood the computer industry very well. Well, it was 1985, to be fair. So they fight some goons and Bond saves Sir Godfrey’s ass because he doesn’t know how to do shit.

Elsewhere, Grace Jones is looking tone as she practices her karate on Zorin. We also see more Zorin Industries stuff going on intercut with May Day/Grace Jones fighting Zorin. They fight/make out, which is weird, while Bond and Sir Godfrey say their goodnights. Zorin gets a call that somebody has broken into the warehouse, and the palace goes on lockdown. Bond gets in as the gate is pulled up, and Zorin and May Day let themselves into his room.  May Day realizes that Bond was the dude at the Eiffel Tower and goes to get dressed, but Bond is already in her room(!). Zorin nods for her to go in and see where this is heading, so she immediately gets naked and hops into bed with him. This is at the height of the AIDS crisis, Bond! What are you even doing?

A-View-to-a-Kill-May-Day-Grace-Jones-James-Bond-Roger-Moore.png“I must warn you that I’ve had 30 partners…so far this week.”

Dr. Monocle opens his medicine cabinet of horrors and Zorin says he wants to see St. John Smyth first thing in the AM. CUT TO first thing in the AM, where Bond says some disgusting double entendres while Zorin halts and pauses through his dialogue like only Christopher Walken can. Zorin uses a computer to take a picture that is then scanned to gather information about Smyth (who as Zorin finds out is 007/James Bond), and in no way could a computer do that in 1985, but again: Bond movie. Zorin glad-hands Bond out of his office, and Bond tells Sir Godfrey to get into town and get a trace on that check he mimeographed. Sir Godfrey’s like fine, I’m going to be killed soon anyway probably.

So Sir Godfrey goes to get the car washed, and May Day’s at the gate to kill  him. Meanwhile, Bond is going horseback riding with Zorin, and he gets a rough trick of a horse. Godfrey gets into town (I know he’s referred to as Tibbet throughout, but I already started calling him that and who cares anyway since he’s about to die?) to wash the car/contact M16 for information (of course it’s a Rolls Royce), but dammit, May Day’s in the back seat and strangles him to death.

Bond and Zorin do some horse backing with some rough-looking goons, and Zorin says hey if you survive this course, I’ll give you that horse for free! But this is a murder jumping course, which was all the rage in the 1980’s equestrian circuit, and there’s a bunch of booby-trapped jumps to salt Bond’s game throughout. Meanwhile, the horseback goon squad starts roughing Bond up but Bond passes Zorin on the course. So Zorin presses a button to make the horse go to Crazy Town, and Bond’s run off the track and into the woods. He sees his Rolls Royce driving down the path and jumps on, but Sir Godfrey’s dead in the back seat with May Day doing the driving.

Everyone now has guns on Bond and Zorin says hey, I’m gonna kill you know, dig? Also, you suck. Bond’s put into the car and again gets a crack to the back of his head. He must be mentally deranged at this point with so many injuries to the cerebral cortex. He’s driven to a lake by Zorin and May Day and May Day pushes the fucking car into the lake to drown the passed-out Bond. The car goes glug-glug-glug into the water and Bond wakes up to find himself all wet. He opens the door and sees the two of them hanging out at the surface to watch the death and gets the bright idea to breathe in the oxygen in the car’s tire, which is a pretty smart move. Mental note: if I ever find myself in a similar position (which I most likely will), use that trick.

A-View-to-a-Kill-James-Bond-Roger-Moore-underwater-tire-air.pngThis is me in, like, three months tops.

CUT TO Zorin meeting with General Gogol the Russian at the racetrack, who tries to smack-talk his decision to kill Bond. Walken/Zorin gives a great angry explosion here, and they Russians say that they KGB created him, and they are his property. They call him a biological freak, which is apt for Christopher Walken, and that’s…kind of that.

CUT TO a meeting a Zorin Industries about microchips, with Zorin passing out microchips in a bowl like they’re Halloween candy, which is kind of funny. He has a hidden scale-model of Silicon Valley (haven’t seen one of these in a while in a Bond movie!) and talks about his plan to destroy Silicon Valley’s domination in the microchip market so he can have domination instead. This is reminding me of past Bond villain plans, but I can’t really remember which one. Goldfinger, I think, only we’re switching out gold for microchips because it’s the 1980’s. One dude disagrees while the rest of the guys oooh and aaah over the scale model. So May Day just kills this dude by dropping him out of a trap door because this meeting’s taking place in a blimp. We see a dummy fall thousands of feet in the ocean, and they’re flying over San Francisco. May Day goes “Wow! What a view.” when she sees the Golden Gate Bridge, and Zorin whispers the second half of the title, “To a kill,” which doesn’t make semantic sense but OK movie, whatever. It’s the 80’s and there was a lot of cocaine floating around.

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“Muahahaha…did that title drop scan? Ah, who cares.”

Meanwhile, Bond goes into a fish market and says the code word for his contact, “soft-shelled crabs,” which dozens of people must ask for every day so it’s not really a good code word. This dude gives Bond the low-down about Zorin and that check to Stacy Sutton, and Mr. Monocle is a Nazi fuck that experimented on pregnant women in concentration camps, so he’s a real sicko. The Russians grabbed him for experiments after the war, and Bond posits that Zorin is one of those steroid babies, which sounds like a dark spinoff of Muppet Babies.

Bond meets yet another ridiculous man named Rook, who’s a reporter(?) hanging out by the docks investigating some oil pumping station that’s been killing all the fish in the bay. Hey, 2016’s calling, Bond: this shit happens all of the time now. Anywhoo, Bond breaks into this oil pumping station, which has that awful American running it, and Zorin and May Day are there too because Zorin’s a real hands-on tycoon.

Zorin tells this weak-willed oilman to put the pumps to maximum because I want money now now now! And I can guess what’s killing all of the fish: these insane turbines that are probably chopping them into chum. Bond nearly gets sucked into one but sacrifices his oxygen tank to blow it up. He escapes to the surface just barely while some other people place explosives just to fuck this whole operation up but May Day catches one of them and finds the bombs before they explode. They make the captured dude defuse it and then kick him into the propellers just for shits and gigs. He gets chopped up, which for some reason doesn’t fuck up the propellers at all, and we see a woman coming up to the the rocky shores of San Fran. Bond captures her, and it turns out to be a KGB agent that he knows.

They escape in her swank Porche to a Japanese relaxation house (I don’t know) and I’m a little lost because they don’t explain how they know each other very well. Wait, was this the lady in the sub at the beginning? It’s all very hard to discern. No matter: they’re having sexy times in a Jacuzzi and James switches the music to Tchaikovsky, which makes her exclaim in delight. Well jeez, I should play more Tchaikovsky if this is the reaction it gets.

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Of course! Play Tchaikovsky, not Dave Brubeck! Get it together, me!

Later, Bond’s taking a shower while this KGB agent sneaks with the secret recording of Zorin. But when her KGB master pops it in, it turns out to be Japanese industrial music! Bond pulled the old switcheroo, and he listens to the tape while taking notes. Oh, Bond, you duplicitous bastard!

CUT TO some office called “Divisions of Oil and Mines,” where Bond poses as a reporter to get some more information about Zorin. He’s led out of the office and was about to disappear when he spots Stacy Sutton going into the office. So like every good stalker, he waits in the lobby for her and followers her out. She’s a geologist who’s driving to…geologize…somewhere. He follows her, of course, and she goes to what looks like Scarlett O’Hara’s house in Gone with the Wind.

Bond just climbs up to the porch instead of using the stairs and uses—I’m not kidding—a Sharper Image-trademarked device to deactivate the alarm on the window. Fucking ridiculous, but whatever: he’s inside and this place looks pretty empty. He skulks around like a creeper hoping to get a peek of Sutton in the shower, which he thinks he does, but aha! Sutton has a shotgun on him. She calls him one of Zorin’s goons and Bond counters with the $5 million payoff she just got. Touche. She goes to call the police but the line is cut, and then a bunch of Zorin’s goons ambush the place while Bond blows them all away with said shotgun. Only it’s loaded with rock salt because she somehow saw Kill Bill, Volume 2 twenty years before its release. D’oh!

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James Bond turned into this for about 2 scenes in this movie.

There’s a bunch of fighting and other crap and the goons run off, but Bond keeps firing rock salt at the getaway car because why not? He goes back in to see if he can salvage a score from this attempted murder, and even though she’s lovely and was funny as Midge, this actress is not a very good at acting. He worms his way into a dinner, where me makes an excellent-looking quiche because classy. As they eat, she gives Bond some exposition about herself and how Zorin’s been trying to take over her family’s oil business while she works as a state geologist, which is a pretty insane back-story to give this lady.

They drink wine and chat-flirt with each other, and Bond’s DTF at this point because it’s been about two days, which is about six months in Bond’s sex life time (what?), but because his counselor has told him to play it cool for once he goes to repair the phone line and then goes to sleep by himself. The next morning, more plot exposition occurs about Zorin pumping seawater into the fault lines around Silicon Valley, so I guess he’s going to destroy that town via fracking?

Apparently, Bond is just following around Sutton at this point, because he’s at her office the next day when she runs up to say that she was just fired. That night, his San Francisco contact and Bond discuss getting Washington involved at this potential induced natural disaster and they all scramble around like it’s Clue for a while. Sutton and Bond go back to the geology offices to snoop around, and enter the file room (hey, that’s what the door says) for some…files. The door opens and hey, it’s Zorin and May Day! Walken is pretty great in this scene because he looks like he’s having a lot of fun with the role. Grace Jones looks terrifying. They all go into Sutton’s boss’s office, and this is still reading like Clue to me. Bond says hey dude, Zorin’s using you for nefarious purposes, but he calls the cops anyway. Zorin sets up some baloney about how these two came to kill him, and then set fire to the office, but this guy’s like, hey I’m not dead yet! And then Zorin shoots him so that he is dead.

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“The way your dad looked at it, this bullet was your birthright. He’d be damned if any of the slopes were gonna get their greasy yellow hands on his boy’s birthright. “

Zorin sends Bond and Sutton into the elevator, where he traps them with the emergency stop while lighting the building on fire, starting with a Molotov cocktail to the top of the elevator. And then sets the rest of the building on fire. The elevator cables start snapping from the fire, but Bond gets to the top of the elevator and pulls Sutton up. The elevator falls away but Bond gets Sutton out of this fiery mess. She screams, “James! Don’t leave me!” which I’m sure he’s heard so much in his life at this point that he just tunes it out. So he kind of just leaves her in the flaming shaft, but then says don’t worry lady, I’ll save you. And he does, via fire hose that he sends down for her.

SO ANYWAY, whatever, they escape the fiery death that awaits us all thanks to a conveniently placed fire ladder, and there’s the old drunk who—instead of looking at his bottle in disbelief—just drops it out of shock. I was really hoping for that “looking at the bottle in disbelief” shot, but you can’t have everything in this life. Everyone applauds Bond’s heroics while some fat cop starts blah-blah’ing about how you shot some guy and we know all of this somehow, but Bond says I’m a secret agent you idiot. When Fat Cop won’t hear this, Bond sprays him with a fire hose and steals a fire truck. Hunh.

While driving, Sutton’s like, you’re a secret agent? And Bond says yeah yeah yeah, whatever lady. She puts on the fire engine siren because she’s about 10 mentally. Then James climbs onto the back of the fire engine for the action chase sequence, and I’m just not going to describe a car  chase for the sake of my sanity. The fire engine’s ladder comes unlocked and there’s a lot of really shitty blue screen involved. The musical score isn’t every good in this, either. Or rather, it’s just very standard and not particularly exciting. It sounds like 19th century over-the-top Germanic classical music, which I’m not a fan of. Lots of trumpets and trills and booming tympanis. Not my style, yo.

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I don’t know…maybe if some Tchaikovsky was playing…

CUT TO a bridge, where the bridge master is told to raise the bridge by Fat Cop. Bond tells Sutton fuck that noise, just break through the barricades while the bridge is being raised. They jump the bridge while these idiot cops don’t. It’s like a shitty version of The Blues Brothers car chase at the end. Whatever, Bond gets away and drives to one of Zorin’s crazy mines. He then punches out the unsuspecting driver of a truck filled with explosives because he’s a hero, dammit! This goes on for a while and excuses Sutton’s presences as “women’s lib” taking over the teamster’s union (classy, Bond), and they get into mine gear to infiltrate further. They hide in some coal mine cars (why is Sutton still with him at this point?) and go into the mine.

The mine operation is rather expansive, but I guess it’d have to be if your plans are to sink a major city via induced earthquake. Zorin is there because, again, hands-on manager, and so is May Day. Bond and Sutton get out of the cart and sneaky-sneak around. They find Zorin’s headquarters room while Zorin sets up a timer to…flood the fault line? Or it’s a bomb? Nothing is very clear all-around in this movie. They find his secret map that spells doom, but I still don’t get it: if he destroys the computer industry, who is he going to sell his microchips to? Whatever, Zorin probably realized that a while ago but thought eeenhh, we’re already this far, so let’s do this fucking thing.

Looks like they’re looking to flood the fault by destroying the bottoms of the lakes, and explode the geological locks that stop the faults from going off all at once. Thanks, barely believable geologist! Zorin and May Day bust into the room while James and Sutton jump out of a window (in a shack underground? Why?). They race down the tunnels chased by May Day and two henchladies. Are they May Day’s underlings? Sure, why not.

So they duck into some side-tunnel that May Day and her she-goons follow. So, whatever, they get chased, Zorin’s plan gets set up, and I’m starting to get a little sleepy over this cat-and-mouse game. Looks like the movie is, too, because that timer is just counting down the seconds until blastoff. Zorin uses a remote to flood the fall, and hilariously a foreman says you can’t flood the tunnels right now! There are men in there who are loyal to you! So of course he gets shot immediately and Zorin just floods the goddamn tunnels because he’s a real monster person.

May Day gets what was coming to her, and so do her henchladies, while Zorin picks up a gun and starts mowing down the fleeing workers. Jesus, guy! That’s fucked up. This is just mass-scale death and destruction, and Zorin is laughing while he mows them down with the machine gun. Yikes! For some reason, May Day is still fighting for Zorin even though he just doomed her, and she and Bond dive into the flood while Sutton…just kind of hangs out.

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“You’re fired. Hahahaha! Hey, Phil, did you hear what I just said?” “Yes, Mr. Zorin.”

Bond fights against the flood while Zorin is laughing and killing his own workers along with his personal servant. Then he hops into a coal cart and chugs out of this tableau of death. And a fisherman stands in a dry lake bed above (wah-waah!). May Day and Bond are both still alive, somehow, only stuck underground. May Day figures out that he double-crossed her as a worker floats by while Zorin, Mr. Monocle, and his personal servant get into his escape vehicle. And what’s the escape vehicle? A Zorin Industries blimp!

Bond and May Day escape the flooded tunnels, and Zorin cackles as his blimp ascends into the sky. He’s actually floating over Silicon Valley to enjoy its destruction, and he tenderly strokes Mr. Monocle’s head, which is weird. Then again, this guy’s a psychotic mass-murderer, so I guess nothing’s really weird about him in this respect. May Day finally gets on the right side for the big win and aids Bond in trying to stop the detonation that will trigger the giant earthquake. They lift up the detonating charge while Sutton espies the blimp outside.

The countdown is just ticking away and Bond gets hauled up to the surface with the charge. They put it on a cart and roll it…away slightly until the hand brake slips. May Day holds the hand brake and sacrifices herself to save everybody. Aww, that was nice of her! Anyway, she’s laughing to her doom the whole way, so I guess if you do what you love you never work a day in your life. For her, I guess that was exploding.

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RIP May Day. (Photo of Grace Jones going about her daily business unrelated.)

James escapes unscathed because this is his film series, after all, but Zorin zips down to abduct Sutton. Because she can’t hear a massive blimp coming up behind her, apparently. Bond grabs a mooring rope and ascends into the air with the blimp. Bond is hanging from a rope over San Francisco and Walken acts pretty disturbing throughout this sequence. He goes to smash Bond against the Golden Gate Bridge, but Bond just ties the blimp to the bridge because that’s not how these movies work, fuck-o!

While it seems like he has Bond in a pickle, Sutton gets up from her seat and starts fighting Zorin. Mr. Monocle gets up to help, along with the pilot, and this results in a giant hole being torn in the side of the cabin. Zorin commands his assistant to go get Bond, but he gets knocked out, and Sutton climbs out of this craziness onto the Golden Gate Bridge—or at least a life-sized model of it in a studio somewhere. Zorin pops out with an axe to kill Bond while Mr. Monocle puts his monocle back on.

Zorin’s hanging off the side of the bridge and kind of laughs before he loses his grip and plunges to his death. Bond goes to get Sutton, who’s been hanging off the side of the bridge like WTF? And Bond goes to kill Mr. Monocle. This dude lights a bundle of dynamite to throw at Bond, but Bond cuts the mooring line so the blimp starts floating away and then explodes. Because of the dynamite and all.

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One could say business is…booming? (::straps dynamite on self::)

So Bond and Sutton are standing on top of the Golden Gate Bridge and Bond quips that “there’s never a cab when you want one,” which isn’t funny because cabs don’t go to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, you silly goose.

The Russians try to give Bond their Medal of Honor, but Bond is “missing.” Moneypenny cries at this news, and we see that stupid robot from the beginning that was never used in this movie snooping around Sutton’s home. Q’s perving out at the controls as the robot searches the house, and it’s there that he finds Bond making out with Sutton in the shower. Bond throws a towel over the robot’s camera eyes and Q’s a fucking sex offender, apparently.  Orchestra hits let me know that the movie’s over, and THE MOVIE’S OVER!

Conclusions

This was…OK. I guess. There were some problems with it, and I don’t know if it’s because I’ve watched so many Bond movies recently, but it seems like this is suffering from seasonal rot of the franchise and Flanderization of the Bond character. Everything was rather pat and formulaic in a film franchise known for its formula: Bond meet X and Y, has to fight Z, wins. The End. This one, more than most of the other series’ entries, was particularly attuned to the clockwork of the Bond franchise. Fatigue seemed to have a lot to do with this, as well, particularly with Roger Moore as James Bond: he’s simply too old to be playing James Bond at this point. Arguably he was too old two movies ago, but at this point he was almost 60, and nobody wants to watch a retirement-age Bond. It’s like watching Q (who’s become more and more demented in these past few movies) play Bond.

Also, this movie was kind of a retread of Goldfinger’s plot, where destroying/irradiating the competing reserve of microchips/gold from a singular villain due to earthquake/irradiation will leave him in charge of the world’s supply. It’s been done already, and I’m shocked to find the Bond franchise treading such familiar ground, considering how many ideas there are in the world. Then again, if you’re going to base a long-running franchise on a finite amount of original novels, I guess this kind of repetition is inevitable (if not tiresome to watch).

A few highlights in this movie include Christopher Walken’s performance as Zolin. As usual, Walken plays unhinged better than anybody in the business, and his intensity (like Christopher Lee’s in The Man with the Golden Gun) register as a highlight in an otherwise lackluster film. Grace Jones also plays an excellent Bond villainess, whose quiet intensity and angular looks serve the menacing air of her character well. What else? The blimp was cool. I liked the skiing in the beginning. Besides that, not much else to recommend in this film. It was a Bond movie that seemed like it was doing an imitation of a Bond movie, and that’s as far as it goes.

As mentioned, this was Moore’s last outing as Bond, and it could have come a few movies sooner: seeing an older man play action hero Bond takes the excitement out of the proceedings, mostly because the man playing him isn’t terribly excited to be there.

Rating

A sub-Bond outing that’s unnecessary except for completists or Roger Moore fans (or for Christopher Walken fans, as he’s great in this). It hums and moves forward, but there’s very little action or energy to recommend it to action (or energy) fans. Better than The Man with the Golden Gun, but also somehow worse because at least that movie had insane weirdness in it to recommend. Well, at least it’s not Moonraker. One and a half Bonds.

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Categories: action, film, humor, James Bond

Tags: , , ,

2 replies

Trackbacks

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

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