A S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Agent has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find their targets before they are detonated.A S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Agent has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find their targets before they are detonated.A S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Agent has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find their targets before they are detonated.
The film owes its existence to the settlement of a lawsuit about the film rights to Ian Fleming's work. It is perhaps unfortunate that the terms of the settlement included a clause that the new film had to be a remake of "Thunderball", as that was perhaps not the greatest of the Connery Bonds. (A remake of "Dr No" or "Goldfinger" might have worked better). The plot is much the same as that of the earlier film; the terrorist organisation SPECTRE, acting together with a megalomaniac tycoon named Largo, have stolen two American nuclear warheads and are attempting to hold the world's governments to ransom by threatening to detonate them unless they receive a vast sum of money. It falls to Bond, of course, to save the world by tracking down the missing missiles.
The film is fortunate in that it has not just one but two of the most beautiful Bond girls of all, Barbara Carrera as the seductive but lethal Fatima Blush and Kim Basinger as Largo's girlfriend Domino who defects to Bond's side after learning of her lover's evil plans. A number of the Bond films have a plot that hangs upon the hero's ability to win over the villain's mistress or female accomplice- there are similar developments, for example, in "Goldfinger", "Live and Let Die" and "The Living Daylights". In the official series, Bond's ally is normally regarded as the female lead, but here Carrera, playing the villainess, is billed above Basinger, who was a relatively unknown actress at the time. Basinger, of course, has gone on to become one of Hollywood's biggest stars, whereas Carrera is one of a number of Bond girls who have somewhat faded from view.
Of the villains, Max von Sydow makes an effective Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE, but Klaus Maria Brandauer seemed too bland and nonthreatening as Largo, except perhaps during the "Domination" game, a more sophisticated variant on those violent computer games such as "Space Invaders" that were so popular in the early eighties. Brandauer can be an excellent actor in his native German, in films such as "Mephisto" and "Oberst Redl", but he does not comes across so expressively in English.
One of the film's features is that it both follows the normal Bond formula and, at times, departs from it. There is the standard world-in-peril plot, chase sequences, a series of exotic locations, glamorous women, sinister villains and a specially written theme song based on the film's title. There is, however, no extended pre-credits sequence, and we see some familiar characters in a new light. For example, Bond's boss M becomes a languid, supercilious aristocrat, his American colleague Felix Leiter is shown as black for the only time, and the scientist Q is portrayed by Alec McCowen as a disillusioned cynic with (despite his characteristically upper-class Christian name of Algernon) a distinctly working-class accent. There is also an amusing cameo from Rowan Atkinson as a bumbling British diplomat. Although Connery was perhaps not quite a good here as he was in some of his earlier films in the role, this ringing the changes on the familiar theme makes this one of the more memorable Bonds. 7/10
A goof. Rowan Atkinson's character states that he is from the British Embassy in Nassau. As, however, the Bahamas is a Commonwealth country, Britain would have a High Commission in its capital, not an Embassy.
- Apr 26, 2005