Movie Review: ‘A View to a Kill’ (50 Years of Bond)
Cast: Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, Grace Jones, Tanya Roberts, Robert Brown, Desmond Llewellyn, Lois Maxwell
Story: James Bond is assigned to investigate the industrialist Max Zorin after he is linked to silicon microchips found on 003’s corpse. Little does Bond suspect that Zorin is the result of a Nazi genetic experiment and an ex-KGB Agent. For some reason.
Review: I have a theory that Roger Moore’s final outing as the world’s most famous spy was scripted a spoof of the franchise that got mixed in with the real scripts, and by the time anyone had noticed the mistake they’d already built a giant zeppelin and hired a Duran Duran to perform the theme music. Almost everything about the film is downright ridiculous from the evil scientist who wears and monocle to the toy robot Q uses to catch Bond out having sex.
Bond faces off against Max Zorin, an American industrialist who it is revealed to be the result of a Nazi genetic experiment to produce a race of super Aryan soldiers with the “only side-effect” being that they are “psychotic”. Zorin is played by none other than Christopher Walken with dyed blonde hair and highway patrol sunglasses. If that isn’t awful enough for you there’s also 80s pop star Grace Jones playing is downright terrifying sidekick who constantly looks at Bond in a way that suggests she’s going to bite him on the face.
The investigation gets under way when Bond’s contact is eliminated by May Day (Jones) who assassinates him using a dart concealed in a giant butterfly that she flings at him using a fishing rod. Her daring escape from this rather obvious bit of subterfuge involves hang-gliding off the Eiffel Tower, just in case nobody noticed her flinging a giant butterfly at a guy’s face using a fishing rod. Bond gives chase but Zorin picks her up in a boat and they laugh manically about it. They seriously have a maniacal laugh moment. It’s weird that Zorin would go and get her himself, in spite of his army of henchmen he’s very hands-on about his evil operation. Not long after Bond infiltrates Zorin’s mansion during a horse auction along with a British Lord and horse expert who poses as Bond’s butler. Hilarity ensues. Zorin tries to kill Bond by inviting him to participate in a horse race that is rigged to be more difficult then is initially appears.
A couple of things happen 0ver the next few sequences that don’t factor into the plot much at all. Bond learns that Zorin was KGB trained and then meets and sexes a KGB agent. After the sexing it’s revealed that she seduced Bond to steal a tape of data, only Bond switched the tapes. When her and Gen. Gogol find out they do a terrible double take. Bond then learns that Zorin is trying to flood silicon valley so he can hold the world monopoly on microchips (which Bond reminds us are used in everything right through to the modern toaster). Given that he’s already revoltingly wealthy and powerful and has an enormous stake in the world’s energy supply there doesn’t seem to be any motivation for this scheme apart from being “psychotic”.
Bond follows things up by ‘investigating’ a bimbo geologist who inadvertently helped Zorin’s master plan. In the middle of Bond questioning her he stops to bake a quiche for them. Why on Earth he felt compelled to stop his investigation to bake a quiche is a total mystery but he totally does. After being caught in a fire that draws police attention to them Bond and the geologist (who’s name I can’t remember even though I am currently watching the movie, that’s how dull she is) escape from and lead on a chase through San Fransisco in a fire truck. Why Bond didn’t just flash his credentials and call in the CIA when the police wanted to question him is another mystery, but the chase really does come across as something from a spoof. Bond clings to the extended fire truck ladder and geologist keeps swinging him back and forth, while the wacky fat cop bumbles after them and wrecks his car (a supposed recurring gag that gets used once more).
After this we get some action sequences in which Bond, May Day and Geologist emerge from a flooded mine with dry clothes, perfectly styled hair and an unsoiled white dress respectively while Zorin tries to escape in a zeppelin he literally kept hidden in a shed. Eventually Bond stops him by tying the zeppelin to the Golden Gate Bridge while an evil, monocled scientist throws sticks of dynamite at him.
The acting is awful. Moore is very clearly sleepwalking through the part, the villains laugh manically every second line and nothing makes sense. The story is limb and the pacing is flat. Between Walken’s bleach job, the butterfly murder and the quiche it’s a wonder that this isn’t considered on a par with Moonraker.
It gets a bonus star just for Christopher Walken being so hammy.
Score: TWO outta TEN