A fake Fabergé egg and a fellow agent's death lead James Bond to uncover an international jewel-smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on N.A.T.O. forces.
James Bond's mission is to find out who has been smuggling diamonds, which are not re-appearing. He adopts another identity in the form of Peter Franks. He joins up with Tiffany Case, and acts as if he is smuggling the diamonds, but everyone is hungry for these diamonds. He also has to avoid Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd, the dangerous couple who do not leave anyone in their way. Ernst Stavro Blofeld isn't out of the question. He may have changed his looks, but is he linked with the heist? And if he is, can Bond finally defeat his ultimate enemy. Written by
An Highly Inadequate Finale to the Sean Connery era.
Sean Connery made it clear during the filming of "You Only Live Twice" that he was sick of playing James Bond. After four years, 1.25 million dollars, an agreement to receive one-eighth of the film's gross profit, and a commitment to finance two additional projects of his choice, Connery returned for another spin as the world's deadliest government agent. Sadly, the man who electrified the world for six years returned for a problematic movie that at best is a disappointment and at worst a large black stain on his legacy.
Many of the problems that drown "Diamonds Are Forever" show up in the opening minutes. It begins where "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" ends. Bond is on the revenge trail following the murder of his wife. Connery's face remains hidden to raise anticipation, but when it finally appears, my reaction is shock.
At one time he looked like the handsome, debonair ladies man he is supposed to be, but at 41, Connery has outlived the part. He has more wrinkles, his eyes have darkened with age, he is getting fatter, and his hair is grayer. I once watched a clip online of a scene where he is standing next to Q, played by Desmond Llewelyn, who was 56 years old with white hair. I initially mistook him for one of Q's assistants.
"From Russia with Love" displayed Connery at his best. In every possible way, he made the part his own with an authority neither he nor the five actors following him have since been able to equal. This time he was just doing it for the money, and it shows. In "Goldfinger," he said "Bond, James Bond" with focus and cool. Here, it is delivered with unexpressive staccato. When he is ordered to put up his hands, he moves them to the side like a man bored with being bored.
Diamond smuggling out of South Africa has risen over the past two years. Since no smuggled stones have reached the market, the British government fears somebody may be accumulating them in preparation for a market dump. A string of recent murders in South Africa leads them to fear that operations are being shut down, leaving them little time to bust the smugglers. James Bond is sent undercover as smuggler Peter Franks. His mission takes him to the casinos of Las Vegas, where he discovers the involvement of his old enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Charles Gray).
Gray is another problem evident from the beginning. Blofeld is supposed to be bald, but even if Gray was bald he would not remotely look or sound the part. In "From Russia with Love," Blofeld seemed like a god. Gray is not imposing, and seeing the mighty Blofeld dressing as a transvestite is the worst insult in the series. For the ignominious title of worst Bond villain, Gray loses to Stephen Berkoff from "Octopussy," but barely.
When Bond finally discovers Blofeld, how does he react? He indulges in polite conversation. The movie forgets that Bond is speaking to the man who callously murdered his wife, and that Blofeld is addressing the man who broke his neck.
Another huge minus is the general lack of excitement. It has a good start with an intense elevator fight between Bond and the real Peter Franks. If you see this film, which I strongly discourage, savor that fight, because "Diamonds" becomes pretty anemic afterwards. The remainder lacks intrinsic interest or excitement. Aside from a slick nighttime street chase, the little action that is left looks fake and slow. When Bond is faced with trouble, what does he do? He runs, preferably in a phony moon machine. From start to finish, he does not fire a single bullet. Adding insult is the cheap climax. Six years earlier, this franchise won a visual effects Oscar. Now they are reduced to creating nuclear explosions that look like puffs of smoke. Connery's salary supposedly slashed the special effects budget even though the franchise made over a 400 million dollar profit since "Goldfinger." Two musicians are cast in supporting roles. Imagine "Quantum of Solace" casting Garth Brooks and Wynton Marsalis. Ironically, it is country singer Jimmy Dean who brings the most convincing act to the table. Jill St. John and Lana Wood are wasted as the bimbo and harlot, respectively. Mr. Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr. Kidd (Putter Smith) are the gay hit men who don't know each other's first names, and the best I can say about them is that they die entertainingly.
"Diamonds Are Forever" marked the beginning of sad decade for Agent 007. Were it not for "The Spy Who Loved Me," the series likely would have died. A movie with shoddy writing, substandard acting, misplaced atmosphere and bad characters cannot succeed. Diamonds slowly decay into other forms of carbon, so they are not truly forever. Neither is Sean Connery.
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