|Directed by:||John Glen|
|Written by:||Richard Maibaum, Michael G. Wilson|
|Cast:||Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, Tanya Roberts, Grace Jones|
|Genre:||Action, Adventure, Thriller|
A list of the coolest movies of “all-time” without including one of the James Bond flicks would have been like eating a plate of nachos without any cheese or salsa. It just doesn’t happen! So being as I didn’t want to overwhelm the list with more than one of this super-agent’s titles, I decided to pick this one since it’s one of the films that I distinctly recollect from my youth, and features the man with whom I correlate the moniker of Bond the most: Roger Moore. The film also combined many of the elements which trademark the Bond series including a cooler than cool lead, hot babes, nifty gadgets, major action set pieces, exotic locations, a hit tune and original theme, a super-duper bad guy, a funky side-kick, a plot to take over the world and plenty of sexual innuendo. Yes, everything is here, and even though the plot isn’t exactly mind-bending to say the least (CHINATOWN and GOLDFINGER, anyone?), and does run a little too long, I was fully entertained by this spy thriller, which features plenty of slick action scenes and eye-candy for the masses. We also get Roger Moore, one of the more distinguished Bonds, in my opinion, still coming through as the most gallant, intelligent, charming and adventurous man from England, despite the fact that his age does start to give way in this flick (this was actually his final bow as the titular character in the series). There are also some obvious blue-screen sequences in which he’s hanging off something or another which were a little distracting (mind you, the film is almost 20 years old).
But the rest of the stuff is very well filmed, and even though you know that it’s a stuntman doing all of his major stuff, it’s still quite believable (unless you play it in slow-motion, at which point, it turns into a pretty funny comedy). This installment also features one of my favorite actors of all-time as the bad guy, the man whose stare alone would scare the shit out of me in real life: the incomparable Christopher Walken (looking young and quite dashing in his platinum blond hair). One of my favorite scenes features Walken finally cracking near the end of the film and mowing down some of his own mine workers with a machine gun as they are being drowned by a flood at the same time (yeah, you heard right…the man is nuts!). I also enjoyed the very creepy Grace Jones as Walken’s even scarier sidekick, with the scene on the Eiffel Tower, topping her list of impressive acts (as well as those thigh-high “fuck me” pumps which she sports near the end of the film). We also get plenty of Bond’s right-hand people like M, Q and Miss Moneypenny, as well as a cornucopia of babes. We get a hot Russian mammasita with whom James shares a hot tub. We get a gorgeous American blonde bubble-head, with whom we’d all like to share “something” along with that hot little white dress that she’s wearing as she dangles from the Golden Gate bridge, as well as European and Asian dolls to boot.
As for the story, well, it does feature your typical twists, turns and investigations, as well as double-crosses, car and ski chases (solid opening sequence—loved the addition of “California Girls” as Bond wiggled his way down the mountain) and the proverbial scenes of the bad guy having Bond right in the palm of his hands, but instead of killing him, allowing him to dredge through some torturous way of dying (from which Bond usually escapes—although I hope that I’m not spoiling anything for anyone by saying that: wink, wink!). Specific memorable action scenes include the one on the Eiffel Tower which ends with Bond driving around Paris in half a car (you have to see it to believe it), a fire-engine sequence which concludes with that very same truck flying over an open bridge and plenty of thrills as Bond fights the baddies on top of the Golden Gate bridge. You go, Jamey! Overall, I certainly wouldn’t qualify this film as the best Bond flick (far from it), but it’s definitely one of the cooler ones with plenty of Mr. Bond’s trademark hipness set to action.
And yeah, I have to admit that I do have this inexplicably strange attraction to the Duran Duran song “A View to a Kill” as well. I’m not sure what it is, but it just does it to me every time. The song is also played as a score throughout and comes through, although one of the corniest scenes in the film also features Walken and Jones overlooking Silicon Valley as the latter says something to the effect of “What a view…” to which Walken actually replies, “To a kill”. Ugh. Gag me with a friggin’ spoon and wrap up that year-old cheese, folks. I can’t believe that they got that line into the movie and no one realized that it was just too self-referential and nonsensical. I still don’t even know what the hell it really means! Anyway, that’s just a little burp in the overall scheme of this film which really is just about having fun and allowing the audience to sit in on yet another slick Bond adventure. Dance into the fire, indeed.
The coolest thing about this movie is Christopher Walken’s hair. I don’t think that there’s one scene in the movie in which he appears, that I could not take my eyes away from his gorgeous locks. It’s also to note that his skin also appears to be very clear, and the combination of his strange demeanor, creepy voice, tough guy attitude, goofy smile and platinum hair, made him all that much powerful and attractive as the baddie (not that there’s anything wrong with that…or is there?) But no matter how you cut the cards, it’s all in the bleach and I’m sticking to that theory. “You amuse me, Mr. Bond.” Yeah, baby…you go, hair!
Interesting tidbits about the film and its stars:
During the filming of this picture, actress Grace Jones was dating nobody Dolph Lundgren. He managed to get a small part in this film as a KGB tough guy, and went on to fight Sylvester Stallone in ROCKY IV that very same year as the Russian character of Ivan Drago. Director John Glen also directed four other Bond movies including FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, OCTOPUSSY, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS and LICENCE TO KILL. This film was Roger Moore’s 7th and final appearance as the title character of James Bond. He was replaced in the next film, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, by actor Timothy Dalton.
NOTE: This review was originally published in my 2002 book entitled "JoBlo.com presents...The 50 Coolest Movies of All-Time". Please note that these reviews are dated, and the book actually features my own PERSONAL list of faves from 1970-2000 or so.