A View To A Kill (1985 United Artists)

All James Bond films are too long as the only segments that the public really wants to see are the women (who sometimes disappoint), the gadgets and the stunts/chases. Please don’t complain about the acting, script, plot development, music, etc… All of these elements are by-the-numbers in all Bond movies. The gist is how serious a particular 007 film takes itself, and if the pretentiousness this time around is overwhelming. In his goodbye performance, Roger Moore manages to remarkably combine all the best elements of his previous Bond movies, and comes up with a perfect way to leave behind Bond and Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

The series was still on a roll after the box office successes that were For Your Eyes Only (1981) and Octopussy (1983). Both these flicks had represented a maturing point in the ongoing saga of Moore’s very aged Bond, although I find For Your Eyes Only to be painfully dull. A View To A Kill was the shot in the arm of suspense, action and excitement that was needed to give old man Roger a grand farewell. This is not Moore’s best turn in the role, but he is still solid. But the script doesn’t allow him as much of his custom wit and repartee, with the writers dropping his usual amiability towards the villain in favour of a disgusted and repulsed tone. For those sick of the films where Bond and his enemies swap endless pleasantries despite efforts to kill each other, check out the Bond/Zorin scenes towards the middle and end of this.

Christopher Walken as Max Zorin, the product of a Nazi genetic experiment, gives us an odd-ball yet distinctive performance. His pale staring eyes make him very credible as a single-minded sociopath. Grace Jones plays May Day, Zorin’s bodyguard/girlfriend/personal trainer/hit-woman/seductress. She won’t go down as one of the most beautiful Bond girls or one of his most feared villains, Jones still comes across with some formidable qualities that even Bond struggles to get to grips with (quite literally!). Both Walken and Jones were odd choices but gain a respectable place in the pantheon of 007’s enemies. Continuing with the positives, regulars M, Q, Moneypenny, Frederick Gray & General Gogol (with Lois Maxwell in her last Bond role) are dependable as ever, and are joined by David Yip as a CIA agent.

As in the two previous Bond movies, Moore is joined by a fellow agent on his mission, this time Patrick McNee as Sir Godfrey Tibbett, a horse racing expert affiliated to MI6. In some brilliantly funny scenes, with Bond posing as an owner and Tibbett as his valet, the pair go undercover at Zorin’s stables during a horse sale with both hamming it up to distract the guards from suspecting them as impostors. Too bad that Tibbett is assassinated in unusual but chilling fashion by MayDay, before the film can make more of his obvious debonair charm. Although tired, A View To A Kill is a fun-filled adventure plenty of fine moments including the ‘Snowboard’ opening, rock salt shootout, burning building escape, Eiffel Tower chase and jump followed by car stunts through Paris. The finale on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is a highlight (despite some now dated effects) and the mine sets are superb. 🙂

             (What’s our hero up to here? He seems to be demanding pussy at gunpoint…)

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