A submarine carrying an ATAC decryption system is attacked and the ATAC is sunk. Bond must attempt to recover the device before it falls into enemy hands. Along the way, he encounters a young woman named Melina Havelock who is seeking revenge for the deaths of her parents.
For Your Eyes Only is in marked contrast to the previous adventure, a much more realistic and grounded enterprise than the fantastical Moonraker. A dazzling pre-credits sequence shows Bond visit his late wife Tracy’s grave and then dispose of a wheelchair-bound Blofeld down a smokestack.
The direction by John Glen is superb across the board. The sequence aboard the sunken St Georges where Bond and Melina retrieve the ATAC is shot well as is the subsequent keel-hauling. The stunt work is strong- the chase sequence involving the Citroen 2CV is great as is the ski sequence. Attention should also be drawn to one particular scene which is excellently directed: when Bond kicks Locque’s car off the edge of the cliff.
Whilst Julian Glover never really convinces as a great threat as the villain Kristatos, he gives a solid enough performance. Topol is strong as Greek smuggler Milos Colombo whilst Carole Bouquet is fantastic in the role of Melina. Strong and determined, she is more than prepared to take matters into her own hands to avenge the deaths of her parents. The characters of Bibi Dahl and her ice-skating coach Jacoba Brink don’t add much to the main plot and could have easily been excised. There’s something quite awkward about seeing the very young Bibi throwing herself at the much older Bond. The MI6 scenes also suffer from the absence of Bernard Lee, who sadly passed away before starting filming.
It’s interesting to see the Russians taking less of a neutral position in this one: Gogol is willing to buy the ATAC once it’s been retrieved and commissions Ktistatos to do it. However, when Bond destroys the ATAC rather than either side have, Gogol’s gesture of pragmatism speaks volumes.
All in all, a return to Earth from the sci-fi heights of Moonraker and a decent espionage thriller.
Rating: 4 out of 5