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.
There's no teaser sequence or fancy credits such as we're used to - in fact, the beginning is so mundane, it's as if we're watching a typically substandard seventies thriller, with a wretched song and an awful score. Many of the early scenes are perfunctory; in other words, they're presented as the stuff we're used to seeing in a Bond film (Bond shoots bad guys, Bond is eyed by the ladies, Bond is menaced by sharks), but without the style and panache of the regular film series. As in "Thunderball," Bond is sent to a health spa early in the film. In an early action scene, he's attacked by a brawny assassin/henchman in the 'Oddjob/Jaws' mold who seems unstoppable, and things appear to be picking up, until he's stopped by a silly gag. I admit I did laugh when I saw this in the theater way back when - but I don't nowadays. I also get the impression of a conspiracy by the producer to throw in some banal stuff amid the standard spy action, not helped any by what seems like in-joking involving Bond's aging hero bit, including M's comically shrill disapproval. It mirrors the problem with Moore in his last couple of Bonders, where the audience is laughing at the hero - undesirable conditions for a Bonder. Things seem to improve again in the middle half, as much of the action here is dominated by the female villain, Blush (actress Carrera in her best role). She exults in her performance as the persistent killer with some odd sexual preoccupations, anticipating the much later lethal ladies such as Onatopp in "GoldenEye."
But, the best performance is by Brandauer as the main villain, Largo - a much different Largo than the one in "Thunderball." He's almost on another, superior level from the rest of the cast, suggesting insanity better than most other Bond villains, somewhat effeminate in some of his gestures, but also magnetic when sparring with Bond, especially in their memorably electrifying video game duel, a bizarre yet entrancing confrontation. Von Sydow, always good, has a much briefer role as famous uber-villain Blofeld, staying behind the scenes for most of the movie. Basinger as Domino the Bond girl is, unfortunately, similar to many of the Bond girls of that period: nice to look at, but usually helpless and kind of an airhead, though she demonstrates fear convincingly. Connery, looking his age (early fifties), goes through the motions here, but hey, it's still Connery as Bond; he can do this kind of thing in his sleep (which he nearly does) and is always watchable, with that easy charisma. The pace is actually pretty good for awhile up until the climactic shoot-out, in spite of some cheap production values. The finale, underwater with Largo, is murky stuff, with no tension, as if the filmmakers just gave up by this point and wanted to get it over with. We kind of forget what the threat is about half-an-hour before the end. Oh, and, Atkinson is his small role is abominable, like nails on chalkboard. Connery would not return. Bond:7 Villain:9 Femme Fatales:5 Henchwoman/men:8 Leiter:6 Fights:5 Stunts/Chases:6 Gadgets:4 Auto:5 Locations:6 Pace:6 overall:6
- Aug 11, 2007