Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bondathon Podcast Part 7!!! We did it!!

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Here you go the final Podcast of the challenge at least - Daniel Craig. Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace and SkyFall (NO SPOILERS) Enjoy!!!

Skyfall (2012)

The film began and the anal Bond fan in me from the first frame of this film, just said “oh for God’s sake, where the ... is the GUN BARREL!” I was sat there like a spoilt child saying my head, “oh come on just make a Bond MOVIE, stop trying to be different, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” Well, this fan was right and happily so wrong!!! It is quite frankly the most original, the most simple plot in the world, an ex-agent from M’s past wants her dead and Bond is on hand! What you have here is a classic styled thriller, with just an absolute respect for the franchise. You can tell Sam Mendes is British and grew up watching what we have been watching over the last 3 days. Skyfall is an amazing piece of filmmaking – everything across the board is just so well done.

You have a cast at the very top of their game. Craig is just immense as Bond and further more his Bond has aged the four years he’s been off screen, giving even further believability of this re-booted franchise; Judi Dench is fantastic as M, given an extended role (really she should be included in the main cast rather than the ‘and’ credit). Ralph Fiennes is great as government official Mallory, whilst Ben Whishaw is fanastically geeky as the new Q. The villain- Silva- is played by Javier Bardem and he is just amazing; he’a bit camp but utterly menacing and there’s more than a hint of Hannibal Lecter to him (especially when M comes to visit him in prison). Naomie Harris and Berenice Marlohe are great as the Bond girls and Albert Finney makes a great cameo appearance as Kincade.

The stunt work is immense – the opening pre-title sequence when Bond rips the train apart with a JCB really sets the scene; it’s a slightly larger-than-life start which is against the reality of the previous two films. However they keep it within the style of the Craig universe.

This quite simply deserves the praise it is receiving and I won’t talk any more because there are so many twists and spoilers that this geek wants to talk about.

Put Simply Rating: 5 out of 5

With this we have succeeded in our own mission, we have watched the entire franchise in 3 days. But, never fear as James Bond will Return, so shall we.
This mission is complete – but we will debrief Skyfall further beyond the challenge.

We are going to record a spoiler Watchers Geek Chat of Skyfall (obviously over a beer) – so watch out for that extra post.

Thank you all who have sponsored us and all the support. It has been an experience to say the least.

Rhys Jones

Quantum Of Solace (2008)

Starting immediately after Casino Royale finishes, Quantum Of Solace starts with Bond interrogating Mr White to learn more about the mysterious organisation he works for. Whilst following leads to the organisation- Quantum- Bond, still seeking vengeance for the death of his lover Vesper, comes into contact with environmentalist Dominic Greene whose philanthropy masks a more sinister plan.

The opening section of the film is just astounding – the car chase through the Italian countryside leading into the fight scene at the Palio horse-race in Siena is just outstanding. The section in Austria during the opera Tosca is very well done as well, athough Bond does have a point- every time I’ve been to the opera, people get glared at and shushed if they so much as clear their throat, let alone carry on a conversation.

Mathieu Amalric’s performance as Dominic is that of a stereotypical sociopathic villain which is disappointing. Even as an agent of Quantum, he doesn’t impress.  The plan is interesting- an environmentalist planning to hold Bolivia’s water supply to ransom- but the performance just isn’t there. It also doesn’t help that his henchman Elvis- Anatole Taubman- is a buffoon. However, Greene’s demise at the end of the film is quite appropriate and satisyfing.

Luckily the rest of the cast turn in decent performances to compensate Gemma Arterton is good as Agent Fields, Bond’s link in Bolivia. It’s very much a supporting role and she doesn’t last long before she’s offed: left on Bond’s bed, drowned in oil (a not-so-subtle homage to Jill Masterson’s death in Goldfinger). Olga Kurylenko gives a strong performance as Camille, a former Bolivian secret service who is romantically linked to Greene. She has her own agenda- seeking revenge for the death of her family- and teams up with Bond in order to see it through. The lack of a romantic relationship between Camille and Bond is refreshing- both are hurting, damaged people and seeking closure. 

Giancarlo Giannini gives a decent turn as Bond’s contact Mathis, as does Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter, both reprising their roles from Casino Royale. Indeed, with the ongoing plotlines of Quantum and who was blackmailing Vesper, this could have easily been Casino Royale: Part Two. It does feel like the subplot of Greene and the water has been tacked on, as if they needed to find something to flesh the film out.

At a positively svelte 102 minutes, every moment needs to hit its mark- and sadly there are sections that don’t. Marc Forster’s direction is occasionally lacklustre and, much like Casino Royale, the pace lags in places. The announcement of each new location with a title card soon becomes incredibly annoying. The biggest criticism I can probably level at the film is that this is a perfectly serviceable thriller but doesn’t feel like a Bond film.

Rating: 3 out of 5


Casino Royale (2006)

After watching the previous twenty films, this one is a hard thing to write about. Why? Simply because I really shouldn’t judge it on anything that’s come before it. The film is based on Fleming’s first James Bond book and is rightly so the choice of story to not only launch a new actor, but the producers have deliberately drawn a line in the sand. This Bond is the start of a new canon, for it is a reboot. This is BOND BEGINS!

So, with that in mind, what do we have?  James Bond, a highly trained naval commander, has just made 00 status at MI6. His first mission is to must stop a man called Le Chiffre, a banker to the worlds terrorist organizations, from winning a high-stakes poker tournament at Casino Royale in Montenegro.

With the pre-titles sequence, we know we are watching something very, very different. Shot in black and white, styled like a noir cold war thriller from the Sixties. Daniel Craig is introduced with two assassinations, one brutal fight in a men’s public toilet and the second a quick simple kill. The gun barrel is kind of here!

The film opens with a very impressive stunt sequence; so not everything is new. The producers still use current trends within the Bond film franchise. This time in 2006 Parkour or Free Running was at its height within popular culture and watched mostly on YouTube. The film casts one of the main pioneers of this extreme sport, Sebastien Foucan. He plays a bomb maker that 007 chases down on foot, which leads to an awe-inspiring foot chase through a building site, jumping from high rise crane to crane and to a shoot out at an embassy. A very fresh action scene, but undenably Bondian.

Daneil Craig was a shock casting to fans and at the time it gave to negative press coverage, claiming him to be Bland Bond or Blonde Bond? Yes, I agree physically he doesn’t look like a traditional 007, that being tall, dark and handsome. But after a few minutes watching him as the character, you soon realise why he’s Bond, especially within this rebooted new franchise. They have taken Bond into a modern setting, foregoing the gentleman spy making his way round to megalomaniacs and fellow gentlemen spies from other nationalities. The world we live in is not the 1950s or 1960s, the world we live in is very complex and so are our enemies. This James Bond is a very believable 007, a orphan, Oxford University graduate who joined the navy, a career seaman reached the rank of Commander, would definitely spent time with the SBS regiment, before being recruited by MI6 for black ops. We find him at the start of his 00 promotion and Daniel Craig plays this part perfectly. He owns this Bond, he is a stone cold brutal killer, a highly educated man who can fit in a crowd and disappear just as fast. Ladies and gentleman, Bond is back… or more importantly, Bond has re-begun.

With the rebirth of an icon and also managing to deliver believable Bondian action scenes that thankfully don’t rely on CGI to complete them (see Die Another Day), they manage to get so much wrong, After the Parkour action, we have a fantastic chase/fight across runways of an airport, this brings us an hour into the film and we are introduced to Vesper a HM Treasury Agent, played by Eva Green. She accompanies Bond to the poker match at the casino.

Suddenly we are treated to the most expensive filmed re=enactment of Channel 4’s Late Night Poker! To make a card game exciting for a movie audience is a hard task, which this film proves– even with various distractions away from the game, from fights on stairways and Bond being poisoned. No matter what the script has for us it just never makes the poker scenes punch. However, what happens away from the poker table is interesting, not just the action – more importantly this new franchise, bravely and rightfully shows the effects upon our heroes. They are human, they feel, not everything can be repressed; no man is a robot. A scene where Bond cleans himself up after killing two men in the stairway while Vesper watched is just electrifying. No words are spoken, Bond cleans himself up and it’s just with a look and body movement that Craig delivers exactly what he’s feeling. Taking life is never easy and he didn’t want Vesper to see that side of him.            

Mads Mikkelsen plays the villain. What’s interesting is he is not a top dog, not a conventional villain. However, because of his involvement with various organized crime and terrorist organisations, he is at the top of Bond’s watch list. It’s the information Bond wants from this accountant, who is desperate to replace money he’s ‘borrowed’ from these various unsavoury people and gambled it away. Le Cheffre makes an interesting villain, a man very much desperate, on the edge and very sinister.

The relationship between Vesper and Bond is a complex affair, but completely central to the story. They start as bickering work colleagues, more importantly it’s obviously flirtatious. They smoulder on screen, the chemistry is undeniable – this is why Bond hated her having to see what he can do, especially when he killed the men in the stairway. When Bond is captured and tortured, but survives and spends time recuperating in hospital. Vesper visits him. It’s here in the earliest start of his 00 status that Bond wonders if this is the life for him, he has fallen in love with her. His shield has fallen, he talks of leaving the service, this is the real thing for 007. So, when her betrayal is revealed it is that much more heart wrenching for us the viewer. Finding out that the person you love and trust the most in the world can destroy a man. Or in Bond’s case make a man, the man we know him to be.

The film does everything it should do, for some it didn’t have enough action or Bondian moments –well it shouldn’t, because he’s not there yet. He’s not fully that man yet, that’s to come – but first he must get revenge. Even if she betrayed him and he says he’s glad “.the bitch is dead”. We the audience and M know different. Alas, this is merely Part 1 of this story and for once in the franchises history the story continues directly on, straight after Bond pays Mr White a visit!

One of the best Bond films ever and one of the greatest re-boots ever!

Rating: 5 out of 5


Bondathon Podcast part 6

This Bondathon Podcast we review the Brosnan years - enjoy

Die Another Day (2002)

After a mission In North Korea ends in disaster, Bond is captured and held by the Koreans for fourteen months. He is eventually freed in a prisoner exchange but is suspected of compromising American agents. He must prove his innocence.

The bullet coming down the gun barrel at the very start of the film heralds that this will be something different. Too true. This has to be one of the worst Bond movies, if not the worst. More than that, it’s one of the worst movies ever made.

It’s difficult to know where to start. There is no one real source for why this is such an unmitigated disaster. You have a facile, flat and uninteresting script by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. Lee Tamahori’s direction is all over the place with occasional visual flourishes that add nothing. Danny Kleinman’s opening sequence includes scenes of Bond being tortured- with the garish graphics and Madonna’s dreadful theme, I can sympathise.

Of the main performances, it’s only really Pierce Brosnan and Judi Dench who come out of it looking good. Halle Berry does the best with what she has but the character- despite being an NSA agent- is bland. Toby Stephens is slimy and obnoxious as billionaire Gustav Graves, an irritating posh boy who you just want to slap. The fencing scene between Bond and Graves comes off as a macho pissing contest which is incredibly tedious. Rosamund Pike is fairly dull as double-agent Miranda Frost and I’ve seen better chemistry between garden gnomes than between her and Bond.

So many visual effects fall flat, especially the Aston Martin Vanquish (a.k.a. the invisible car). The scene where Bond rescues Jinx from the lasers is just completely ludicrous and the whole sorry affair reaches its nadir with the CGI wave-surfing

As this was released in the fortieth anniversary year, there are a lot of nods to previous Bond adventures. Some are subtle (such as the birdwatchers guide which Ian Fleming took the name of his secret agent from) and others not (Halle Berry coming out of the sea in an orange bikini, an obvious homage to Ursula Andress). There is some entertainment value had in noticing all these but it’s scant consolation for a film that makes even Thunderball look good.

Rating: 1 out of 5


The World Is Not Enough (1999)


007 is assigned by M to protect an oil heiress from her former kidnapper Renard, an international terrorist who can’t feel pain.

We are into film three of the Brosnan era, the film was released just on the verge of a new millennium and is the last Bond film of the twentieth century. A lot to live up to? Don’t fear, not for this film crew. The films opening sequence sets you up for exactly what your watching, the films pre-titles runs in at fifteen minutes, with three individual action sequences and a meeting in M’s office culminating with a boat chase on the Thames which ends just outside the Millennium Dome, handy considering it’s the Bond film of the millennium! With little time to catch your breath, as the audience, you know you’re watching an event, not just a film.

In the early stages of the film after the titles have run, Bond has his usual Q briefing scene. However, in this film it’s all more poignant as this is Desmond Llewelyn’s final appearance. In the scene we are introduced to his ‘junior’ assistant, R played by the legendary John Cleese. From an assistant being introduced and Llewelyn being at the times in his eighties, you can tell that the producers were putting things in place for the actor to leave the series. What a tragedy that, after a long career and life, Llewelyn died in a car crash just a few months after the release of this film. The scene is a great end to a legend of the Bond family and he is missed as Q still to this day.

The rest of the cast of this adventure is very impressive, well, apart from one entry! Pierce Brosnan by this film could relax and just play the part with his eyes closed, thankfully he does not do this! He again keeps surprising us the viewer, he shows more sides to this character than we’ve seen before. We have the stone killer, charming spy from GoldenEye, the vulnerability that he showed in Tomorrow Never Dies and here we get all that and more. Brosnan brings a loyalty to M, a friendship to his commanding officer, a brothers-in-arms mentality. Brosnan humanises Bond, not just vulnerability, but questions of why he does this life, what does he get from this and who does he truly trust.

Robert Carlyle is billed as the main villain; he plays the terrorist Renard. a man who is slowly dying and feels no pain. Carlyle could have easily overplayed this role and hammed it up. Wisely, he doesn’t and shows his acting skills, he gives us a subtle presence of menace, a man enjoying the evil side of life before his accepted soon demise.

Sophie Marceau is a first, a Bond Girl who is revealed to be the real mastermind villain – Renard is her henchman. She plays the part exceptionally, a true femme fatale, menacing bitchiness without being a screaming banshee villainess. She pays this manipulating evil woman so well, it worries me of the person she really is! I’m sure she’s just a fantastic actress.

Judi Dench’s M has a lot more involvement with this plot, M is even held hostage, not surprising when you have talent like Dench signed to this role and after two previous adventures to introduce Bond’s female boss. Like Brosnan does with Bond – she humanizes her role and shows a vulnerability to her character that pulls you in. You genuinely care about her M. What’s nice is the solid relationship between M and Bond.

The weak link I mentioned, Denise Richards as Dr Christmas Jones, the worst miscasting in Bond films for years. A nuclear scientist? Really? REALLY! She’s useless, just obviously here for the teenage men!

The film, like GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies before it, is again wall-to-wall action, deliberately delivering a high octane fueled adventure. Highlights are the boat chase on the Thames, the ski chase (the first ski action we’ve seen since fourteen years earlier in A View To A Kill – it’s a nice welcome return of ski action), the shoot out in the nuclear bunker where Bond meets Dr Christmas Jones, the bomb inside the pipeline, the helicopter sequence at Zukovsky’s factory and of course a showdown aboard a sinking submarine.

This is a great Bond film, wall-to-wall action and more importantly a strong plot, a plot with twists and turns, and solid performances by the cast (not including Richards!). This Bond film is very much overlooked and underrated by many. This is what a Bond film should be.

Rating: 5 out of 5


Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Whilst investigating the deliberate sinking of a Royal Navy ship in the South China Sea, Bond’s attention falls on media baron Elliot Carver and his organisation.

Considering the film is fifteen years old, there’s an amazing kind of prescience to it: given recent revelations about the role of the media and their underhanded tactics to get stories, the scenario presented here (whilst overblown) is at the very least plausible. The Bond films of the 1990s all took place in a kind of heightened reality, so a desire to start a war for ratings fits in to that quite well.

 Jonathan Pryce is brilliant as Carver, a total sociopath and megalomaniac willing to create a war situation for ratings and prepared to eliminate anyone who betrays him- including his own wife. I especially love his opening scene, deliberating about using the word ‘killed’ or ‘murdered’ in the headline- a man who knows the power of words. There’s also a certain amount of glee in his briefing where he sends his ‘golden retrievers’ to do his bidding and the showdown between Carver, Bond and Wai Lin in Saigon is also brilliantly played. Pryce took over the role after Anthony Hopkins dropped out of the role.

Michelle Yeoh is similarly great as Chinese agent Wai Lin who is running a parallel investigation to Bond’s into Carver. Wai Lin is a tough and proficient agent, more than capable of looking after herself (ably shown when she takes on a bunch of goons) and fully equipped with a range of nifty gadgets. Yeoh’s interplay with Brosnan is particularly good.

Teri Hatcher shines as Paris Carver, Elliot’s wife and Bond’s old flame who got ‘too close for comfort’ to 007. After meeting again in Hamburg, Paris decides to help Bond bring her husband down- and pays the ultimate price. There’s a vulnerability to Hatcher’s performance which is particularly affecting. There’s a lovely cameo by Vincent Schiavelli as Dr. Kaufmann- a small but very memorable role as Paris’ assassin. It’s a scene played with some menace but also some humour, which I think is a fair description of the script as a whole- good work by Bruce Feirstein.

There are some great action set-pieces- the sinking of the HMS Devonshire and Bond’s investigation of the sunken ship, the fight at the Hamburg printing press, the HALO jump, the motorcycle chase through Saigon and, of course, the sequence with the remote controlled BMW- all directed with flair by Roger Spottiswoode and ably supported by David Arnold’s superb score.

A triumph all round.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Saturday, 27 October 2012

GoldenEye (1995)

Seven years have passed since Licence To Kill and after court battles, pre-production finally began on the seventeenth 007 adventure – but then the real disaster struck us fans. Dalton decided that seven years was too long a gap to return from and he left the franchise. What Now, we asked? The answer: Pierce Brosnan. Fans in the UK asked: who? We’d never heard of Remington Steele! We spent our time fretting: will he be good? Will the film be any good? Is there a place for Bond in a post-Cold War world? Maybe it should be left alone?

How wrong were we? From the start of the film, you’re unable to catch your breath. Bond bungee-jumps from a bridge, has a shoot out with Russian soldiers, side by side with Sean Bean’s 006, then escapes by leaping from a cliff on a motorcycle, only to jump into a plane and fly off with the base behind him exploding! With just this scene, I had never felt a feeling before, the feeling you get once in a franchise maybe? Brosnan was simply BORN to play Bond, he has the believability that women would fall at his feet, he has a dark edge that’s behind his eyes, he can happily just kill you if you get in the way of his mission and of course the man looks like he was genetically made to look like Fleming’s iconic character.

The villain of this adventure, well that’s the clever part. Sean Bean plays a 00 agent who is disenchanted with the UK and has wanted revenge for his Cossack heritage ever since. He is just charming to a villainous core and very much Bond’s equal. For once we have a British villain, a traitor no less.

Famke Janssen plays his willing henchwoman, Xenia Onatopp who likes to kill men by crushing them with her thighs, a character who gets sexual pleasure from the hunt and the kill. Janssen exudes evil and menace, with a perverted fetish side to a T.

The Bond Girl, well, now we have the reign of the Bond women; the Bond girls have grown up. Now, we have female characters with balls. Natalya (played by Izabella Scorupco) manages to give a very strong believability when she decides to show Bond her vulnerable side. Also, she is a weapons expert and has a lot to do for the plot to progress and is must ally for Bond to complete his mission.

I can’t talk about the cast without mentioning the first performance of Judi Dench as M. Dench delivers a stoic performance, a hard-nosed warrior leader and her few scenes are memorable and powerful.

This film is a perfect example of a Bondian movie, it gets the balance right between strong plot, strong well acted characters and the OTT stunt sequences. You’re along for the ride and you’ll love ever minute of the film. In 1995 Bond became box office material again. I want to give this film 5 out of 5 – but I can’t, for there is a large shadow that hangs over the entire film: the music score by Eric Serra.

A film’s music score is a character within the film, It helps to develop the tale, to cue emotional chords within you and, of course, to heighten the exciting parts. Serra’s score is a failure on all counts. The score just ends up juxtaposing all the way through – it feels like an unwelcome visitor to the Bond universe. It’s actually distracting a lot of the time. Thank Bondian God he never returned to the franchise. For that reason the film has to drop a point.

Rating: 4 out of 5



That's the last film for Day 2 - we're off to get some sleep! Tomorrow we hit the home straight-  3 more Brosnans, 2 Craigs at home and then off to the cinema to finally get to see Skyfall. Goodnight for now!

Bondathon Podcast Part 5: The Dalton Years

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Here's our reviews of Timothy Dalton's all to short tenure as 007 - enjoy !!

Licence To Kill (1989)

On his wedding day, Felix Leiter (aided by James Bond as his best man) brings in Colombian drug lord Franz Sanchez. However, Sanchez escapes and exacts a terrible revenge on Leiter and his new bride Della. Frustrated that nobody will do anything, Bond vows revenge- but has to step outside the bounds of his license to kill to do so.

There’s no messing around here, from the very beginning we have balls-to-the-wall action. We are in a different world to the usual Bond film; this is grittier, much more real. Gone are the grandiloquent plans of world domination and exotically-named villains, we are in a very real and very violent world of drug dealers- Sanchez is a man who would cut out a love rival’s heart as soon as look at him so murdering Della and feeding Felix to a shark is par for the course. Robert Davi’s performance is chilling and full of quiet menace. He’s yet another Bond villain with a penchant for sharks. The drugs network is hidden via televangelism messages done by Professor Joe Butcher, played with silky charm by former Vegas showman Wayne Newton.

Dalton is an absolute revelation here, a bundle of rage and determination. There are several subtle nods to Bond’s previous marriage and there’s a lovely moment when Della offers her garter, as the next one to catch it will wed, and Bond gently refuses. He is unrepentant in his disposal of Killifer, callously throwing the suitcase of blood money to weight him down. The scene where Bond is stripped of his licence to kill is just amazing (incidentally, Robert Brown gets his finest hour as M in that scene).. Bond uses a combination of brawn and brains in his vendetta- not only physically punishing people but also casting the seeds of doubt in Sanchez’s mind as who to trust. The physical and mental strain of the mission is writ large over Bond by the end of it. There are some amazing action sequences, especially with the tankers at the end.

David Hedison returns to the role of Felix Leiter for the first time since Live And Let Die (he is one of only two actors to play the role of Leiter more than once) and his easy camaraderie with Dalton is a pleasure to watch. Such is that relationship that, when Felix is attacked, you are absolutely on Bond’s side with his desire for revenge. Q ends up going to Isthmus City (on Moneypenny’s behest) to help equip Bond in his fight against Sanchez. It’s great to see Desmond Llewelyn get an extended role and his relationship with Dalton is slightly different to that of other Bonds- there’s an avuncular concern for 007 (which may be due to the age difference between the two men)

The two Bond girls are on opposite ends of the scale. Talisa Soto gives a great performance as Lupe, Sanchez’s girlfriend. Well, girlfriend may be a very generous term; she’s more his possession. She is desperate to leave him and forms an attachment with James hoping to get out. Carey Lowell is also great as Pam Bouvier, a former army pilot. Bond meets up with her in s scuzzy bar where she’s packing a sawn-off shotgun; she can certainly handle herself. The chemistry between her and Dalton is positively electric which adds another dimension.  She won’t take any nonsense at all which is just brilliant.

Make no mistake, this is a grown-up revenge thriller totally deserving of its 15 certificate. It’s also one of the most intelligent, gripping and engrossing films made in the 1980s and one of the best Bond films.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


The Living Daylights (1987)

Russian General Koskov defects, but it is all a lie to get all sides running around, so he and a arms dealer General Brad Whittaker can prepare a new world war to make money of the sales of arms.

Moore left and now it’s time to shake things up, time to get Bond back to being Bond, James Bond. Timothy Dalton takes centre stage and he fills it so well, with the opening pre-title sequence where a training operation is over-run by an assassin. You know you’re in safe hands when the lead actor can be seen actually doing a lot of his own stunts and more importantly you believe he could kill you. Dalton brings with him a sense of realism to the role, he plays the role gritty, close to his instincts but has the stony side that a young Connery has and the wit and charm of Moore.

With Dalton comes a new Monepenny, a younger model and a fresh thinking woman played by Caroline Bliss. Jeroen Krabbe plays the film’s villain – but saying that, this Bond film is a tangled web of espionage, very much in the vain of From Russia With Love was. There’s more than just one nemesis- Joe Don Baker plays corrupt arms dealer Brad Whittaker- and the Bond Girl is played by Maryam d’Abo. The interesting thing here is for first time in numerous films, the female role has been treated as actually a role, a character, and not just a piece of set dressing, She’s a independent, competent woman and what’s nice is she is an innocent party who got mixed up with a wrong individual.

The action is handled superbly, ranging from a car chase across the snow of the Austrian border, with a Bond car full of (very Goldfinger) gadgets, that leads to using a cello case as a sled. We have the action move location and it then takes place in Afghanistan, which at the time was in the control of the USSR and Bond helps the local rebels (Taliban?). But probably the most remembered action sequence is Bond hanging out on a net from the back of a plane, tens of thousands of feet high in the sky, fighting Koskov’s henchman – just classic Bondian fun, but now with a Dalton cutting edge.

This film manages to walk the fine line, it delivers new Bond, a Bond for the late 80s – a Bond closer to the book while at the same time keeping just the right amount of fun in the film, giving us an action adventure film that delivers just what a Bond fan wants and to be honest needed at that time.  It is truly one of my favourites as Dalton is our Welsh James Bond.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


Bondathon Podcast Part 4

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We review the last 3 films of Moore's era. Then we take some time out and talk about the experience so far and also we chat about the longest serving agent 007 - Roger Moore. Enjoy

We made the TV News!!!!

We made the evening news last night and here's the item in full :)

A View To A Kill (1985)

Investigations into a horse-racing scandal leads Bond to Max Zorin, a French industrialist and ex-KGB agent who has plans to destroy Silicon Valley.

Microchip technology was a big talking point in the mid-1980s so, once again, it’s an interesting take using a contemporary issue.

It’s real action-a-go-go in this one. The pre-credits sequence features another frantic ski chase (even if the brief snippet of ‘California Girls’ by the Beach Boys as Bond snowboarding down the hill was unnecessary) and an ingenious boat shaped like an iceberg. After only twenty minutes in, there is the breathless chase up the Eiffel Tower, May Day’s skydive off and the subsequent car chase. The steeplechase scene, with the moving jumps, is also brilliantly done. Bond’s escape from the sunken car is similarly excellent as is the fire engine chase through San Francisco and the finale atop the Golden Gate Bridge.

Christopher Walken is inspired casting as Zorin. Already an Oscar winner by this point, he brings his trademark intensity to the role which is refreshing after a run of lacklustre villains (Kristatos and Kamal Khan). His encounters with Roger Moore really spark and he’s a fitting adversary for Moore’s last hurrah. His off-hand quip after disposing of a business rival from his airship- ‘So would anyone else like to drop out?’- is delivered perfectly. Grace Jones is a perfect match for Walken; they’re both as crazy as each other. Her May Day is also full of intensity; she is Zorin’s confidante, lover and pet assassin, dispatching people unquestioningly. Zorin turns on her at the end, leaving her to die in the flooded mine and she sacrifices herself to save the day. A traditional trope but done well.

It’s a shame that Tanya Roberts doesn’t have the same spark in her performance. That said, the character of Stacey Sutton is thinly written, much more of a damsel-in-distress type of Bond girl. There’s also, perhaps more crucially, very little chemistry between Roberts and Moore. He seems to be constantly chiding her or telling her what to do, acting more like a father or a boss than a romantic interest, which becomes quickly intolerable for the audience.

The DVD release is rated 12 (a rating that didn’t exist when the first was first released; it was either a PG or a 15); it is easy to see why the film has been re-rated from PG. There’s a particularly graphic moment with someone being sucked into a propeller and when Zorin blithely but mercilessly guns down the workers in his mine.

All in all, this is a very fitting swansong for Roger Moore, even though he himself does not rate this film highly (due to the excessive violence amongst other things). It redeems the godawful mess that was Octopussy and provides a decent coda to his twelve-year tenure as 007.

Rating: 4 out of 5