I've always loved Bond films, I used to watch them at my pop's cabin on a little 13 inch TV laying on the couch. They have all the elements of a good movie... action, gadgets, mystery, suspense, villains, babes, exotic locations, and more. I am also a sucker for older movies anyways... cheesy '80s horror movies are my kind of vibe.
Recently I decided to have some fun and take an evening here-and-there to rewatch them all! Below is my running mini-reviews of all the films as I watch them. Fair warning, I dislike any movie that involved Sean Connery...
To be quite honest... I really don't know how the Bond series took off given this was the film they launched with. It felt like watching an episode of season 1 for Star Trek TOS, and I love Star Trek; very cheesy.
Sean Connery is a terrible actor as it is (personal opinion), but in this film his performance seems very forced with no care behind it. To add to this, he has the stereotypical '50s/'60s macho-man vibe to him, who degrades women, even smacks them around.
All of the above seems to go against the film's great ratings over the internet with both user and professional critics, but again, my opinion.
The plot itself was very popular for the era... space and space programs. However the film fails to follow through with the plot as if its something of an afterthought. It ends up having no direction or momentum and the editing is very chaotic to make a situation even worse.
From Russia With Love
Bond heads to the cold ridged communist Russia. We're introduced to the criminal organization SPECTRE who is seeking revenge of the death of Dr. No in the previous movie.
Although its a great attempt at a follow-up film, it falls flat face first the snow. Sean Connery is at it again... out of place, bad acting, and degrading women.
The entire film is completely boring. You wouldn't know James Bond was a secret agent if he didn't show off a couple gadgets every now and then, but everything is mostly chatter, which coming from Sean Connery's mouth, makes it quite unpleasant to sit through.
The bulk of the film kicks off probably the last half hour, where we finally see Bond actually be a secret agent, battle danger, experience some action in other locations than sitting down in an office. Its a shame they couldn't have applied the same drive to the prior scenes of the film.
One of the most recognized Bond films, also the parody film base for Austin Powers Goldmember. This film is a great pickup from the previous... there's more of the Bond we want to see, the Bond who's an agent, the Bond who has and uses cool gadgets, the Bond with a little more subtle humor. Plus, there's lasers!
The plot itself for this film is better than previous, the villain Goldfinger has a plan to break into Fort Knox and crush the world's economy. However they went a little over the top. There's a few sub-plots introduced which does not fully mesh well.
Overall, ignoring my dislike for Sean Connery, the film itself presents itself as a proper Bond film... this would've been a fantastic first launch film.
The fourth film has Bond tracking down two nukes SPECTRE had stolen from NATO forces.
I believe the success of Goldfinger put pressure on the production for this film to follow suit, which indirectly resulted this film going a little over the top.
There's lots of actions, more cooler gadgets like a jetpack, sharks, underwater fights, and another solid villain to shadow from Goldfinger.
At times its a little confusing to follow who's the enemy in some of the fight scenes, but at the end, its a pretty well done Bond film which keeps your attention.
You Only Live Twice
This film is a mix for me, I both like and dislike it. We're back to the '60s lure of space. We have Bond once again tackling a secret mission to find out who stole a Russian spaceship while it was already in space, who Bond later finds out that SPECTRE is involved.
The villain in this case is pretty cool... a bald man with a scar down his eye, and a cat in his lap. He feels a lot like the villain in the Inspector Gadget cartoon!
Again, this film picks up steady from the last two, with more focus on Bond being an actual agent, with even more cool gadgets.
Action and plot-wise, this film is probably the easist to follow from any previous. Has a great balance of all the elements to make a good Bond experience. The only gripe I have with this film is Bond becoming an Asian man... its very off putting, almost feels racist, and ends up coming off as visually cringe worthy.
Diamonds Are Forever
Out of the '60s and into the '70s for this decade's first Bond film. Bond disguises himself as Peter Franks to uncover a diamond smuggling operation while battling a rival who's trying to build a giant laser with those diamonds.
Not much to say about this film, really terrible, I don't even know where to start with it.
Live and Let Die
We're finally done with Sean Connery!
We're introduced to Roger Moore which is in my opinion a really well rounded Bond... he feels like an early Pierce Brosnan. For whatever reason, the fans of Bond did not like this change though... I guess Sean's terrible charm rubbed off too much.
The film itself is wild! The scenery and locations are fresh and great. The opening scene we have a mysterious funeral procession grace by and kill a British agent, placing him in the very casket they we're walking with. Someone is killing Britain's agents, and Bond is out to find out who.
This film doesn't disappoint, it has an easy plot, awesome chase and action scenes, and a well rounded cast. The only thing I find both terrible but enjoyable in the film at the same time, is the red-headed cop; it's like they asked someone in England to describe how they view a person of southern USA, and gave them a badge.
The Man With The Golden Gun
Roger Moore is back for his second appearance, battling Scaramanga, a skilled contract killer with a custom golden gun, while trying to capture a device that can harness the power of solar energy for weapons.
The plot starts off a little convoluted but slowly comes together. The tropical scenes are really refreshing to see, and the mysterious house of mirrors playground was well done. Each cast member played their part well including the tiny but evil sidekick of Scaramanga.
There's not much to disappoint in this film however it seems to be a little dragged out, it could've definitely have been edited down 20 or even 30 minutes less to produce a much more fluid structure.
The Spy Who Loved Me
We're back with a Russian element again. This time Russia and British secret forces team up to solve the disappearance of nuclear subs. Bond joins his Russian counterpart Major Anya for these missions.
Overall this film is great. Roger Moore again proves he's a suited Bond and meshes well with every other cast member during the film.
We're introduced to some new deadly gadgets, and new side-villain called Jaws... a tall, huge man, with jaws made of steel able to crush anything, including his enemies with a single bite. He's a tank and I found to be a great addition to the danger asepect for Bond.
A space shuttle is selectively hijacked mid-air by a powerful space-industry millionaire Drax. Drax has a plan to build a city in space and poison the Earth from above with a toxin that only wipes out human life. We're again joined with Roger Moore as Bond and his side-villain Jaws for this film.
This film has to be probably my favourite to date. Its just plain great. We have the villians, space, space fights, lasers, rockets, love, character changes, and everything in between.
It does not disappoint! It keeps your interest glued to the screen.
For Your Eyes Only
A secret British submarine communication system for missile strikes called ATAC is lost when the submarine is sunk. Bond is promptly sent to recover it however the Russians have their eye on the technology as well.
This film was a definite tone-down from the previous film which I loved, but it was "over the top". With For Your Eyes Only, we're back to the roots of basic Earth-born espionage, getting Bond back to being Bond.
The first thing I noticed was a nice play-on for the Bond theme song, was very pleasing to hear.
Bond also teams up with of course, another pretty gal, who's parents we're murdered surrounding the investigation into the ATAC recovery.
The underwater fights we're grand with mini-submarines, harpoons, guns, and sharks again. A cool down-the-mountain gun chase where Bond takes the preasure with ease.
There was a great focus on the water and the scenery was very fresh to see!
Not many complaints with this one, besides the main boat scene where hundreds of bullets are fired and no body was dying... how hard is it to miss on a tiny boat with a machine gun?
Bond is sent to investigate the death of fellow agent 009. A Faberge Egg is found in 009's possession which sends bond on a case uncovering a plan by a rogue power-hungry Soviet General to detonate a nuclear warhead in Western Europe so the Soviets can later come through to conqour as their own.
A lot of cold war aspects are into this film, probably one of the key films to feature it, which even included East Germany. With nuclear annilation looming over both sides of the world, the two sides must come together, and work on dissolving the issue.
For gadgets... right away in the opening scene we see a cool fold-out prop plane Bond uses to escape. Bond even uses a hallowed-out "croc" to traverse through the water, hot air ballons powered by our lovely Q.
Theres a pair of odd knife throwing circus twins, who I wish we seen more of.
Although this film was great, it had a lot of flaws. The palace of all women where Octopussy lived, seemed like it was shoved into the plot, and added more confusion, I feel like it should've been introduced somehow earlier on.
Roger Moore himself, looked very wore out, aged, and seemed like he found it difficult to do actions scenes... he didn't feel like the "handsome/dashing/strong/intelligent" Bond we're expected to invision. Bond even did a tarzan call in this movie! Along with other embarassing things.
To be honest, this should've been Roger's last Bond film, to end it on a decent note... but that was not the case.
A View To Kill
Bond is off the the land of the USA with a mission to investigate Zorin, a powerful man behind a computer chip company, computer chips which can withstand the electromagnetic pulse that would destroy normal computer chips. Zorin has a plan to wipe out Silicon Valley with an earthquake and create a marketshare in his favor.
Like I mentioned in my previous review, Roger Moore looked done. In this film, he looked even worse, it was terrible, it was like trying to watch an 80 year old man play Bond.
I honestly don't know what to say about this film, it was just terrible, I could barely finish it. Really sad to see Roger end his Bond days with this one.
The Living Daylights
A new Bond, Timothy Dalton! He's the Bond we invision with all the proper qualities. We also get a new Moneypenny to join his HQ antics.
Bond is sent to investigate a KGB policy to kill all spies but uncovers an arms deal that threatens the world.
Right out of the gate we get a new thrill and a more serious Bond. This film. We get a lot of cool new gadgets with an awesome stylist car Q has outfitted with skis, bombs, lasers and more.
There's double crossing, double deals, and a great plot to keep Bond on his toes with lots of action to keep pace from everything to explosions, to army vehicles, and lots of weapons.
The only pain I had with this film is the chello girl Bond spares from killing. She acts completely dumb and for a long period of time somehow does not click together that Bond is not just a regular guy.
Overall through.. great first movie for a fresh Bond with every aspect of a good Bond film well covered.
More to come...