A View to a Kill

A View to a KillSynopsis: Roger Moore lends humor, elegance and lethal charm to his final performance as James Bond in A View To A Kill. Bond confronts Max Zorin (Christopher Walken), who has devised a plan to corner the world’s microchip market, even if he has to kill millions to do it! But before Bond can stop the madman, he must confront Zorin’s beautiful and deadly companion, May Day (Grace Jones).

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Welcome to The Critical Eye’s ‘Mission Briefing Version’ commentaries of the James Bond movies.

Via thirteen key categories, over the course of the next few months we will rate and/or comment on each picture in brief. These MBV blurbs will also sometimes feature guest commentators, Bond fans and non-fans alike, thus offering a variety of perspectives on this iconic series.

We hope that you will enjoy TCE’s unique take on the world of 007.

A View to a Kill

Date of viewing: September 25, 2013

1-AVTAK

Opening Credits

The Thorn: 6.5 – The picture starts with an excellent ski chase. Unfortunately, it features horrible blue screening whenever Moore’s on. It was pretty exciting until the filmmakers decided to use The Beach Boys’ “California Girls” at one point, ruining the moment by being too corny. Then “ice” vehicle that Bond escapes in looks like crappy styrofoam, not ice, adding to the cheapness of the scene. The credits were AMAZEBALLS because Duran Duran’s theme was massive, SUPER dynamic on blu-ray. But the credits were cheesy… and, um, fluorescent.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Naked chicks painted with glow in the dark paint. Daring idea but badly executed.

***

2-AVTAK
Story
The Thorn: 5.0 – I like the basic premise, which is more of an espionage story than many recent Bond pictures, and it starts off nicely, but it lacks punch and gets boring very quickly (which is weird given how close it is to ‘Goldfinger’). Of course, one of the film’s producers was the co-writer, so that might explain it. The movie ended up with all sorts of moronic bits, such as Max Zorin and General Gogol doing their own dirty work (as if that would ever happen) or Bond stealing a fire truck to make his escape (yes, you read that one right). It gets worse.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Bond is asked to investigate a company that produce electronics for the Russian. Thankfully, Bond also discover that the leader of the company has an evil plan to take over the electronic industry. Thwarting of plan ensue.

***

3-AVTAK
Banter
The Thorn: 4.0 – The banter has gotten really tiresome in recent installments, but ‘A View to a Kill’ really scrapes for scraps. And the double entendres are really juvenile, not witty at all (“The bubbles tickle my… Tchaikovsky!” ARGH!!!)

The Horrible Dr. B: 0 – Dull, very few zingers.

***

4-AVTAK
Villain
The Thorn: 4.0 – The character of Zorin is slightly bland, as written, but you’d think that if anyone could make him interesting, Christopher Walken could. Alas, he’s dull as nails here. it feels as though he wants to let loose but is too self-conscious to; this is not the gleefully scenery-chewing Walken of ‘Pulp Fiction’, that’s for sure. David Bowie was originally approached to play the part. As much as I love Bowie and find him charismatic, I’m glad he didn’t; he couldn’t have done anything with this part. And we wouldn’t have had ‘Labyrinth’, which is what he turned down this part for.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – I believe Walken as Zorin for his craziness and evilness, but not his geniusness. I actually prefer his henchman May Day (Grace Jones); she’s strong, proud and loyal.

***

5-AVTAK
Bond Girls
The Thorn: 5.0 – Each lady has her great points but none of them is much of an actress – if at all: Tanya Roberts is lovely, but can’t act herself out of a paper bag, Grace Jones has a lethal presence, but can’t deliver a line at all, Fiona Fullerton is sexy as heck, but, also isn’t credible as an actress. Only Alison Doody doesn’t stink up the screen, but she has only one or two lines – and such sweet, sweet curves.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Grace Jones is a very beautiful woman; I like how tall she is and I would love her to lift me above her head like the KGB goon; just don’t throw me on the cement afterwards please. Stacey is the typical helpless bond girl and unfortunately for us is gifted with an annoying voice.

***

6-AVTAK
Gadgets
The Thorn: 4.0 – Oh, sure, there’s the usual: a bug detector, a microchip tracker, that sort of thing. That’s fine. But then there’s a cheque copier that looks like something you’d order from the back of a comic book, polarising sunglasses that only a senior would wear (Moore was “only” 57 at the time), a lame poisoned butterfly decoration that is swung from a rod, a credit card that opens locks electronically, a snooping robot that could have been ordered from Radio Shack, and so much more. Lame lame lame.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Tons. I understand things like bug detector, radar watch and shoe phone, but for some reason, Bond has a universal window opener? Since when, and how does it work?

***

7-AVTAK
Vehicles
The Thorn: 5.0 – The “sweet rides” in ‘A View to a Kill’ are all mundane or lame, not exotic or cool. There’s a zeppelin (whooptee-doo!), glider (yawn!), a styrofoamy “ice” boat (pathetic!), a fire engine (wait-a-minute… what?), and a mining handcar (if only it had been built by Q, with rocket launchers and everything!). It’s not horrible, just so very underwhelming.

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Zeppelins are cool!

***

8-AVTAK
Locales
The Thorn: 7.0 – Some of the locales are quite nice, extravagant, rich: there’s the large mansion with horse stables, the Eiffel Tower, …etc. But then there’s San Francisco, which looks pedestrian here, and the mines. The picture starts out really nice, but it’s no more than your average action film until the finale on the Golden Gate Bridge. As ridiculous as that was, it was also breathtaking to watch.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Nice view from the Eiffel tower and Golden Gate Bridge, however I was most impressed by the French Castle.

***

9-AVTAK
Stunts
The Thorn: 7.0 – I have to give the picture points for execution, even if the ideas (a taxi/glider chase with Bond driving only the front of the car at the end, a fire engine chase after Bond decides to pick the least discrete and speedy vehicle to make his escape, sneaking up on a victim with a zeppelin, …etc.) were patently absurd, at least the stunt teams did them well. But there were really crummy ones as well, like the stunt man who crashed through a second-floor guard rail in which you can clearly see that it was cut clean to pop out of its socket – turning the moment into slapstick. Le sigh…

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Tons and typical. As usual lots of them are useless.

***

10-AVTAK
Soundtrack
The Thorn: 8.5 – I’m a huge fan of Duran Duran’s title track. And, although I admit it’s not Bondian, it’s as awesome a track as ‘Live and Let Die’, which was also not Bondian. As for John Barry’s score, it’s one of my favourite’s. He was doing it in his sleep at this point, but he isn’t asleep at the wheel at all – he hits all the right notes.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Good.

***

11-AVTAK
Best Bond moment
The Thorn: While Bond is out snooping about, Zorin and May Day go to his room to confirm that he’s, in fact, the one who’s been causing trouble. Bond, ever so quick on his feet, sneaks into May Day’s bed and pretends that he’s been waiting for her there all along, thereby throwing them off his trail. That was swift thinking, plus which he got to bed her; she ain’t my type, but surely a lithe panther like that must have given 007 a run for his honey. Especially at 57.

The Horrible Dr. B: This is the last Bond by Moore: Yay! Moore is not a bad actor and he has done one good Bond movie (For your eyes only); however the series with Moore has been very disappointing. Any change is welcomed. My second best moment is when Zorin guns down his own men with so much fun; a very zen thing to do, to take the time to enjoy every moment of life.

***

12-AVTAK
Worst Bond moment
The Thorn: It’s hard to pick just one. That snowboard moment with the Beach Boys music instead of the James Bond theme, really burst my bubble, and I think I never recovered from it. The 2-wheel drive was too silly to be worthy of a Bond movie; it’s funny, but far too cartoony. And the fire engine chase? Well, c’mon! He’s supposed to be a SECRET agent! Not rampaging around downtown San Fran with a massive vehicle and swinging about from the ladder like an ape. Urgh…

The Horrible Dr. B: May Day not recognizing Bond at the castle, after the chase they had together in the Eiffel tower.

***

13-AVTAK
Overall Impression
The Thorn: 4.5 – Moore should have called it quits with “Octopussy’; it wasn’t perfect, but it would have been an okay swan song. But, at 57 years old, with googly eyes and helmet hair, he simply didn’t fit the bill anymore – he was 20 years past his prime. Aside from the locales it felt like any lame-@$$ Hollywood b-list action film. It became that which it had influenced. And Bond deserve better.
The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – The pacing of the movie is ok. The actors are not bad. The location are neat. The story is ok. It features the same mix of lame, goofy and cartoony stuff as seen before, however I like that they tone it down a bit. But in the end, the movie is boring.

James Bond will return inThe Living Daylights

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