An investigation of a horse-racing scam leads 007 to a mad industrialist who plans to create a worldwide microchip monopoly by destroying California’s Silicon Valley.
May I remind you that this operation was to be conducted discreetly. All it took was six million Francs in damages and penalties for violating most of the Napoleonic Code.
The final James Bond film to feature Roger Moore is one of the weakest entries in the series, despite featuring an enjoyable Christopher Walken performance as the main villain. The problems start with Moore himself, as it becomes harder and harder for the filmmakers to gloss over the fact that he is now 57 (and looking older). They just about got away with it in ‘Octopussy’, but it’s significantly worse here and I found it incredibly hard to buy his Bond in the action sequences (which Moore struggled with even at his peak), let alone the romantic scenes with Tanya Roberts who was almost half his age. Alas, my comments in the previous review about Moore being pared with older Bond girls does not hold true having seen ‘A View to a Kill’!
Despite this, ‘A View to a Kill’ could have been an enjoyable movie and it starts off strongly enough, with Duran Duran’s theme tune and a ski sequence which is impressive, although hardly original even for this series. Unfortunately things go downhill from here, with a by the numbers script and mediocre performances making this one of the dullest entries in the series yet. The plot centres around Bond and MI5’s attempts to stop megalomaniac Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) from destroying Silicon Valley. Christopher Walken is an enjoyable villain, but he’s only half as good as he can be here and he almost plays the role too straight. He’s a violent sociopath, but he lacks the charm or the wit that the best Bond villains have and there’s no joy in watching him routinely murder and slaughter his way through the film. Grace Jones features as Zorin’s lover, but doesn’t really do much in her own right, and Patrick Macnee feels equally underserved in a role as a Bond accomplice with an inevitable ending. I’ve touched on Tanya Roberts already, and let’s just say she was unsuitable for the part in many ways beyond the age gap with Moore.
There are some positives, with the stuntwork strong leading to a couple of moments that would feel more spectacular if they had a better film around them. The ending in particular features a thrilling sequence on top of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, but it’s clouded by the mediocrity that led up to it. On the flipside, many of the action sequences rely too heavily on laughs which takes you out the moment, especially when they’re contrasted with the brutal actions of Max Zorin. Overall, I enjoyed Roger Moore’s Bond entries, although on many occasions I felt like the filmmakers misunderstood the tone of the movies, leading to some ugly contrasts and more comedy than was necessary. ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ was the strongest in my opinion, and arguably the only one that can stand alongside the early Connery’s.
Next up, I’ll be watching the two Timothy Dalton films for the first time. The films did poorly at the time, but I’ve heard a lot of good things about Dalton’s version of Bond, so I’m intrigued to check them out!
Directed By: John Glen
Starring: Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, Grace Jones, Patrick Macnee, Patrick Bauchau, David Yip, Willoughby Gray, Fiona Fullerton, Walter Gotell, Robert Brown, Lois Maxwell and Desmond Llewelyn