A View To A Kill (1985)
John Glen
Bond, James Bond: Roger Moore
Arch Rival: Max Zorin (Christopher Walken)
Bond Girl: Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts)

A View To A Kill (1985)

A View To A Kill (1985)

Final part in the tiring seven part act by Roger Moore is one of his most sober and decent films. In this episode, Bond investigates a dubious racing circuit, where one particular horse seems to get better with more laps. He decides to track the owner of this horse which takes him to Max Zorin, a semiconductor giant who plans to use his might to blow down the silicon valley in the US so that the European companies gain monopoly in the industry. Bond also finds that he was a result of a biological experiment conducted by Nazis on the pregnant women in the concentration camps. He also meets geologist Stacey Sutton, who helps him discover Zorin’s plants and stop Zorin from blowing up his pipelines to flood the semiconductor cradle.

Last of the seven ventures for Roger Moore takes him back to the good old days of espionage rather than mindless shooting and reckless driving. Deliberately paced and developed, the film surprisingly succeeds partly because of the mellow yet charming performance of Christopher Walken as the semiconductor tycoon. The films final half hour turns as Psychopathic as Zorin himself and breaks the finely crafted film abruptly. Another wimpy girlfriend makes you wish for one tight slap.

Octopussy (1983)
John Glen
Bond, James Bond: Roger Moore
Arch Rival: Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan)
Bond Girl: Octopussy (Maud Adams)

Octopussy (1983)

Octopussy (1983)

The follow up to the phenomenal debacle For Your Eyes Only (1981) makes up for it to an extent as it takes the famous English spy to India. Bond is behind a wealthy Indian named Kamal Khan who buys the expensive Russian artifact called Faberge Egg. As Bond follows him to his home country, he finds out that he works with a woman who calls herself Octopussy and trains women of various countries to smuggle jewels. Khan, on the other hand, has his own plans and is hand in hand with a insubordinate Russian general Orlov. Orlov seeks to use the circus Octopussy has in Germany to bomb the US airbase so that it is disarmed and is vulnerable to Russian attack. Bond must now race against time to diffuse the bomb, save Octopussy and stop Kamal Khan.

The film could have easily avoided the last quarter hour but it still makes a great watch. Kabir Bedi as Gobinda makes a good impression as the deadpan thug who stops at nothing. The quality of production is visibly great and the stunts remain as stunning as the best Bond films. Indian cuisine is still ridiculed and mystified to the extreme. Moore’s disguise as the clown at the circus is the funniest he gets as his puns keep falling flat. Brace yourself for some high flying stunts by the ever lovable Q!

For Your Eyes Only (1981)
John Glen
Bond, James Bond: Roger Moore
Arch Rival: Aristotle Kristatos (Julian Glover)
Bond Girl: Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet)

For Your Eyes Only (1981)

For Your Eyes Only (1981)

The next offering in the long series is For Your Eyes Only. In this section Bond is hired to hunt down a man who was hired to hunt down a man who was hired to hunt down a lost British device! This takes him back to Eastern Europe where he meets the beautiful Melina with her hunter bow, the daughter of the man who was hired to hunt down the device and who is determined to hunt down the man who hunted down her parents.  After warding off a bunch of loonies hired to hunt him down, Bond continues hunting down what he has been hunting for, As Bond is hunting about, he is confronted by Columbo, a gold-smuggler who reveals to Bond that he has been hunting down the wrong person and he is the one being hunted. With the help of Columbo and Melina, Bond finally decides what he has to hunt down and but finds that he has to climb a risky cliff. So do the people whom he is trying to hunt down.

Hands down winner of the worst performance by a Bond girl beating even Jane Seymour of Live And Let Die (1973). Not that the other performances are any good! The plot seems to have been a bit more importance, but the routine is so predictable that nobody cares. Couple of great sequences and a fantastic title song. Technically inferior than its predecessors, For Your Eyes Only seems to be caught between the elegance of the Connery films and the jaw-dropping action scenes of the later films.  As a result, it does not engage your mind or your heart. For your eyes only!

Moonraker (1979)
Lewis Gilbert
Bond, James Bond: Roger Moore
Arch Rival: Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale)
Bond Girl: Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles)

Moonraker (1979)

Moonraker (1979)

The central piece in Moore’s seven part odyssey as the world’s most famous spy was the costliest and most successful Bond till then. In this episode, Bond investigates the disappearance of a US space shuttle Moonraker. He finds out that a California based tycoon, Hugo Drax, with hardware supplies from Venice and chemicals from near Rio de Janeiro is behind this. If The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) showed us a maniac who tried to build an underwater world, Moonraker follows another trying to take the finest of the human race to space. Bond takes the help of a NASA astronaut/CIA agent/babe Holly and travels around the globe trying to track down his arch rival’s base station.  He finally ends up in the deep interiors of Amazon where he finds out that his enemy is out of the world, literally.

I am sure I’m going to be flamed for telling this, but Moonraker is a solid Bond film. Agreed that the plot and action is much over the top, but hey, what did you expect, Bergman?  Superior stunt choreography includes a jaw-dropping free fall, a boat chase in Venice and a fistfight over a winch. Bond is funny except for the lines where his puns fall flat (Even then he is funny, but unintentionally so). Jaws arrives as a gem and is as stylish as Bond at many places. Amusing references to both Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), but don’t even think about comparison.

The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
Guy Hamilton
Bond, James Bond: Roger Moore
Arch Rival: Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee)
Bond Girl: Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland)

The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)

The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)

In the next outing of the series, James Bond receives a golden bullet with his number inscribed, presumably from the high-profile assassin Scaramanga, who has been hired to kill a top scientist and steal a device that would change the face of solar energy harnessing. Instead of taking cover, Bond is determined to find Scaramanga before he finds Bond. With the help of fellow agent Good Night, Bond arrives in Hong Kong to find out that the plan to steal was carried out by Hai Fat, the most influential businessman in China. As Bond unsuccessfully ties to obtain the device with the help of Scaramanga’s mistress Andrea, she is killed and Bond is left with no option but to meet Scaramanga face to face in his own private island. But instead of taking down Bond, Scaramanga, the gentleman he is, challenges Bond to a duel of guns…

My candidate for the wimpiest and (hence) funniest Bond of all time. And the wimpiest Bond Girl one could devise. Superior camera work and editing than its predecessors, The Man With The Golden Gun boasts of eye-popping car chases (You even have a car with wings!). The Scaramanga character, though slightly underwritten, makes a great spoil. He is not a megalomaniac out to rule the world. He admires Bond and wants to just go his own way. A gentleman till his final breath. Sherrif J. W. Pepper steals the couple of scenes he is in.

Live And Let Die (1973)
Guy Hamilton
Bond, James Bond: Roger Moore
Arch Rival: Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto)
Bond Girl: Solitaire (Jane Seymour)

Live And Let Die (1973)

Live And Let Die (1973)

It is now time to change the lead as Roger Moore steps into the shoes of the English spy and becomes the third man to don the coveted role. Live And Let Die takes our hero back to the Carribean where certain unwanted killings of fellow agents have taken place and a person named Kananga seems to be connected to all the mystery. He runs his opium business using his vast fertile fields of the island and also with the psychic help of Solitaire, a tarot reading beauty who has been held by Kananga for predicting future. Kananga intends to use his huge produce to monopolize the business and own the economy. There is also Mr. Big, the distributor of the drug that Kananga grows. Bond meets up with Solitaire, rescues her and burns down the opium fields. But not all his enemies go down with the fire.

Bond’s adventures range from crocodile dodging to high speed motorboat chases with the latter being the only high point of the film and even perhaps, the only reason to make the film. Roger Moore is good and carries on the elegance of the character well but ultimately makes no registering impact. Some over the top scenes (even for Bond!) unintentionally produce laughs and make this debut of Roger Moore, a very passable one (except for the title song by Paul McCartney!). An easy mission for Bond and hence an unentertaining one.