Welcome to part 2 of my “The Worst of Bond” feature. If you didn’t read part 1 from a couple of weeks ago it doesn’t really matter because I’m looking at the mistakes and misjudgements that have plagued the past of the James Bond franchise in no particular order. Although part 1 is available onsite if you happen to be interested. Get ready to hopefully agree with me or, most likely, shout abuse at me for being incredibly wrong in my opinions which is what most people seem to use the Internet for.
There was a time, not too long ago, when I would have happily stated that Live and Let Die was my favourite Bond film. But then it dawned on me: it’s not a Bond film. It just isn’t. It’s a blacksploitation chase movie. In 1973 blacksploitation was rife in Hollywood and Live and Let Die brought over the archetypes from that sub-genre like derogatory racial stereotypes such as the cab driver and black pimps and gangsters into the world of the super spy. They replaced the classic Bond villains hell bent on world domination with drug dealers and the globetrotting nature of the Bond film was replaced by keeping the majority of action in the US and Caribbean. It’s also faster paced than other Bond films with chase scene after chase scene, the speedboat one stands out amongst Bond’s best. Let’s not forget the supernatural side of the film. Jane Seymour playing a Tarot card reading Bond girl imaginatively called Solitaire and the only immortal character in the whole of Bond history: Baron Samedi. I’m not saying all of this makes Live and Let Die a bad film, quite the opposite actually, it’s great but it just doesn’t feel like Bond.
What is there to say about Die Another Day that hasn’t already been said. After 20 films in the franchise it was the last nail in the coffin until the series was quickly revived by the Bourne-esque Casino Royale. A fantastic scene most people seem to forget about is the sword fight between Bond and Gustav Graves. Although for those who do remember it the memory is no doubt tainted by the abysmal cameo by Madonna at the start of the scene. The finished film is cheesier than one of Kevin McCallister’s cheese pizzas and the plot of using a satellite laser beam to destroy mine fields may have been good in a 60’s Bond film but not in the early 2000’s. And fancy calling said laser satellite ‘Icarus’. Haven’t they actually read the Greek myth concerning Icarus. It’s like calling your new battleship the Titanic. And to think they were planning on having a Bond spin-off film series following Halle Berry’s character Jinx. I think overall Pierce Brosnan was dealt a bit of a duff hand. I really liked him as Bond but 3 of the 4 films he was in were badly written. Goldeneye still stands up today as one of the best modern films in the series (if 20 years ago is classed as modern) and I even have a bit of a soft spot for Tomorrow Never Dies even if it is just because of Jonathon Pryce’s portrayal of a less evil Rupert Murdoch.
The main problem with A View to a Kill is that Roger Moore was 58 years old. The producers didn’t want to recast the role yet because the Moore helmed films were somehow still making loads of money. But it sure was creepy watching Roger Moore do his PG rated bedroom business with the increasingly young Bond girls over the years. And it got even more creepy in A View to a Kill when the Bond girl was Grace Jones of all people. Those images are forever burned into my brain and haunt my waking and sleeping moments in equal measure. The plot is pretty terrible too; something about blowing up Silicon Valley and a Nazi superhuman. It’s a crime to have wasted Christopher Walken in such a bad Bond film, he could have been a classic villain but was squandered by bad writing and an exploding Zeppelin.
Finally we turn our eyes to another Roger Moore flick: Octopussy. Despite the genuinely creepy opening with a 00 agent dressed as a clown running away from some classic baddies at night the film soon becomes a failed comedy. Was the fact that Roger Moore was dressed as a clown for lots of the film supposed to be funny? What about the scene where he creepily spies on a castle full of women from the comfort of a fake robotic crocodile? Or the scene taken straight out of a Peter Sellers Pink Panther film in which Bond hides from someone, and then fights them, in a giant gorilla outfit? It’s not one of the very worst Bond films, it has some pretty cool henchmen for example. Like the guy with the giant yo-yo with the buzz saw on the end of it and the identical twin knife throwers. Roger Moore is fine as his usual eyebrow-raising innuendo-spouting version of Bond which we had all come to expect and Maud Adams turns up again as another Bond girl despite playing one 10 years earlier in the fantastic The Man With The Golden Gun.
What’s your least favourite Bond film or moment? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook/Twitter @kylebrrtt. Like, Subscribe and why not have a look at all the awesome stuff on the site. Come back next week to see what I want to see in next year’s X Files revival on First Time Writing.