April 14, 2024

BOND #14: A VIEW TO A KILL (1985)

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Rating: ⭐⭐ 1/2

This is Roger Moore’s last James Bond movie, making it a total of seven Bond movies under his belt. Personally I think that it was beginning to feel like it was time for a change. Roger Moore’s tongue in cheek charismatic portrayal of the super agent licensed to kill, never really came up with memorable moments for Bond. He was played too much like a 1-dimensional cartoon character. Beside, Roger Moore looks positively tired and too old for the job by this outing. At least the series under Roger Moore had some memorable villains and their henchman, and A View To A Kill has just that even though it offers nothing new to the formula elsewhere. A young looking Christopher Walken plays one of the better bond villains, a convincing madman, Max Zorin who has grand plans to conquer the world of microchips by destroying Silicon Valley in a baffling and nonsensical plot. Nevertheless Walken puts on a dead serious performance with chilling effects. His henchman or in this case henchwoman is the menacing May Day played by Grace Jones. Jones has the built, and look for the part and commands the screen every time she appears. That is what I call star power!!

On the action department, we have yet another ski stunt for the opening gambit leading to the fondly remembered and catchy Duran Duran title song. The dizzy heights of Paris’s Eiffel Tower is cleverly set up as the backdrop for the mandatory elaborate chase sequence which takes us across scenic Paris along the River Seine. Then for the finale, we have yet another struggle way up in the sly at the top of the picturesque Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. These were pretty well staged although of course by today’s standards, many of the close up shots are obviously filmed in the safe confines of a stage. 

The leading lady (apart from Grace Jones) is the rather boring and forgettable Tanya Roberts. Her character is one of the weakest Bond girls. Even her utterance of the familiar “Oh James …” is done without much pluck. Patrick McNee, who made a name for himself as the suave agent John Steel in the very successful television series The Avengers along side Diana Rigg in the 1960’s, has a supporting role as aging agent Tibett assigned to assist James. Casting one former famous agent against Roger Moore may seem like a good idea to the film makers but Patrick McNee’s character here is one thankless role as he is seen to be bullied by James Bond during their joint undercover assignments. 

All in all, A View To A Kill is not going to be remembered well much apart from the menacing appearance of Grace Jones and the Duran Duran song. I am looking forward to see how Timothy Dalton does as the new Bond in the next Bond movie, The Living Daylights.

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