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Movie Reviews a View to a Kill

A View To A Kill (1985) Starring Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, Grace Jones, Tanya Roberts, Patrick Bauchau, Patrick MacNee, Alison Doody, Daniel Benzali, Dolph Lundgren, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn, Robert Brown, Walter Gotell, David Yip, Manning Redwood, Fiona Fullerton, Willoughby Gray, Geoffrey Keen, Jean Rougerie, Mary Stavin, Bogdan Konimowski, Carole Ashby, Toni White, Paula Thomas, Jane Spencer, Helen Smith, Elke Ritschel, Helen Clitheroe, Maud Adams.

Directed by John Glen.

Running time: 130 minutes.

Rating: PG

French industrialist of German (again?) extraction Max Zorin (Walken) plots to flood Silicon Valley and corner the international microchip market. British secret service agent 007 (Moore) uncovers the plot after retrieving information from Russia. He infiltrates Zorin’s estate, gets an outline of the plan but is discovered and almost killed. Bond recovers and goes to California to stop Zorin.

This is a particularly bad entry in the Bond series and hardly ranks as a favorite for even the most ardent Bond fans. Cliched, overproduced and poorly edited, its fine supporting cast was able to cover up a number of flaws but not all. Far too much screentime is wasted upon silly comedy scenes which have little to do with the plot. The best example is the nonsense with San Francisco police department.

The action scenes are very poorly staged and the effects are awful. Sir Roger did a lot of his action scenes against a rear projection screen and you can really tell. There are also a couple of scenes in which see men fall from great heights and we can tell that it is a cheap mannequin.

Audiences seemingly need to be reminded that Bond can be killed at any time. One way to remind them of that is via the death of one of his colleagues. In this one we get no less than three such reminders. The corpse of agent 003 is found at the beginning of this. Patrick MacNee who portrays Sir Godfrey Tibbett, played John Steed in The Avengers series in the early 1960’s and 1970’s which was partly a spoof of the Bond films. Seeing him die as well as a KGB agent counterpart of Bond’s are the two further reminders.

The question that often gets asked is why the villain in Bond movies does not just shoot Bond in the head. In a good Bond movie the answer is obvious: the villain is so frustrated with Bond that he wants to torture and humiliate him before killing him. What leads up to that is the villain is trying to show that he is a better man than Bond through games of skill etc. The villain is not afraid to cheat to win.In a good Bond movie like Goldfinger this does not seem so preposterous. In bad Bond movies like this rip-off of Goldfinger it seems stupid. We see that in Zorin as played by Walken. It speaks well of Walken that he managed to keep a straight face up until the end.

Tanya Roberts was nominated for a Razzie award as Worst Actress for her turn here as Bond Girl/Geologist Stacey Sutton. The title Worst Bond Girl is one she can likely also claim though Maryam D’Abo is competitive. Her stardom on the TV series Charlie’s Angels suggested the material was not beyond her. A great actress is also not necessarily what is called for in a film series like this. However to say merely that she disappointed fans would be an understatement. Her performance is a constant source of annoyance.

Roger Moore, aged 58 when this was produced, opted to leave the series after this film having played Bond seven times over twelve years. This also marked the last film in which Lois Maxwell (also aged 58) appeared as Moneypenny. She had appeared as Moneypenny in every Bond film save the rogue production Never Say Never Again dating back to Dr.No (1962).

Title theme music by Duran Duran is at least the equal of the theme from Live and Let Die.

John Glen directed five Bond films: License To Kill, The Living Daylights, A View To A Kill, Octopussy, For Your Eyes Only. He also served as second unit director and editor on Moonraker, The Spy Who Loved Me, and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Notes:

David Bowie was rumoured to have been under consideration for the role of Zorin. It was a rumour perhaps only put out there to cultivate the interest of the MTV generation in the film.

Grace Jones was merely passable here as the villain’s henchwoman Mayday.
Her then boyfriend Dolph Lundgren has a cameo in this as a KGB thug.

Manning Redwood who played sinister Zorin henchman Bob Conley here played General Miller in the rogue Bond production Never Say Never Again (1983).

Alison Doody who has an all too brief turn as Jenny Flex here, co-starred with future Bond Pierce Brosnan in Taffin (1988). She also co-starred with past Bond Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).

Maud Adams who was the leading lady the in The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) and Octopussy (1983). Appeared as an extra in this entry. Carole Ashby who played one of Octopussy’s girls appears in a walk-on in this one.