Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Intuitive improvisation is the secret of genius

A View to a Kill (1985)

So yeah. I've missed a few of these. Maybe I will get back to fill them in but I doubt it.

Bond's Intro: Be-parkered (which thankfully hides the stuntman far more ably than later scenes manage). The skiing sequences are once again pretty good, nothing on the scale of OHMSS but decent even with the strange choice to suddenly play the Beach Boys over the soundtrack. A moment that I used to hate but on this viewing found oddly compelling, compared to a lot of the jokes the Bond films suffered in the Moore years it feels almost clever (unfortunately the silly iceberg sub is business as usual).

Theme Song and Credits: A belter of a tune from Duran Duran but the credits suffer from a dreadful fire theme and awful dancing.

The Ladies: Possibly the worst bunch ever in a Bond film. Grace Jones is a moderately interesting presence, nicely complimenting Walken's strangeness but has little depth to her character, though a last minute hero turn is played better than it is written. Tanya Roberts is fairly dull, her character mostly useless (about the only thing she does is turn on a siren) and Fiona Fullerton just awful. Jenny Flex is a name.

The Baddies: If anything works in this film it's Walken's offbeat turn as Max Zorin. With his curious vocal mannerisms he makes for a fine villain. The way he reacts to everything is so playfully psychotic. Perhaps one of my favourite death scenes, the little chuckle he gives before plummeting to a watery grave is delightful. I also enjoy the silliness of the Nazi doctor (i have no idea why he plays with the dynamite at the end but it amuses me). Scarpine has a scar. Yeah.

License to Kill: Inspired use of a flare gives an early double kill before the credits. But then it's a long stretch of the usual bad secret agent work (yes I'll stay after bungling around and being seen by guards) until his fight with Zorin. To be fair not for want of trying, he does shoot a bunch of guys with a shotgun but it's loaded with rock salt. I haven't been keeping track but 3 might be the lowest number of people he kills in any film. I'm sure Empire did a tally once of stuff like that but I'm too lazy to google it.

Bond hates foreigners: Nothing terrible here.

Bond hates women: Beyond the dire 'flirting' and hot tub fucking escapades (that is he has sex with someone in a hot tub rather than trying it on with the bathroom equipment itself) nothing too terrible here either. A joke about women's lib taking over the teamsters is too awful to count as sexist.

Bond's crazy knowledge: Seems well versed on electromagnetic pulses. Might come in useful for GoldenEye.

Bond's a big fat snob: Knows his alcohol and can impress a french detective.

00's killed: 003 off screen, though we view his corpse, after infiltrating a Soviet Siberian base. Which probably would have been a more interesting thing to see than the bizarre office day out we get to the race track (why are M, Moneypenny and fricking Q there?)

Mini overview: I like this more than a lot of people seem to. Despite Moore being off prime (huffing his way up the Eiffle towers step made even more obvious by the dreadful stunt doubling) it has a great villain (whose scheme doesn't seem to make much sense but he is clearly a fan of Auric Goldfinger or at least his ideas) and a decent soundtrack. It makes excellent use of location, getting real value from San Francisco and Paris but is rather sloppily directed. And Patrick Macnee is gold even if treated oh so shabbily.

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