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James Bond 007 Retrospective: Casino Royale (2006)

James Bond 007 Retrospective: Casino Royale (2006)

Casino Royale (2006)

Directed by: Martin Campbell

Starring Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright

Bond goes back to basics as we discover his first mission that earned him his 00 status. The super spy must go head to head with international terrorist financier Le Chiffre in a tense game of high stakes Texas Hold’Em poker at Casino Royale, Montenegro. 

No, not the mish-mash that was the 1967 multi-directorial disaster, but of course the epic reboot that reinvigorated the long running, much loved spy franchise. Layer Cake and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo actor Daniel Craig was eventually chosen to slip into the tux as the 6th actor to play the secret agent and it’s through these Bond films that Craig was able to flex his acting chops, demonstrating to audiences around the world that he could handle those tough action scenes aswell as providing a magnetic screen resonance. He has also enjoyed considerable on screen success away from his stint as Bond, including a skit in 2012’s London Olympic opening ceremony sending up his 007 persona and appearing to parachute out of a helicopter with the Queen!

This rebooting of the series also benefits hugely from Martin Campbell’s return to the director’s chair, who after working wonders in relaunching the series with Pierce Brosnan’s debut as Bond, Campbell does it again with Casino Royale. Danish star Mads Mikkelsen is incredibly oily as Fleming’s central villain Le Chiffre whose physical defects may give Bond the upper hand at the poker table. Caterina Murino sizzles as love interest Solange but it’s Eva Green as the multi layered Vesper Lynd who delivers the most appealing performance in the film, portraying a character who beneath the tough exterior is almost as fragile as 007 himself.

Bond will return in…. Quantum of Solace. 

Film: ***** Extras: ****

James Bond 007 Retrospective: Die Another Day (2002)

James Bond 007 Retrospective: Die Another Day (2002)

We’ve arrived at Pierce Brosnan’s (thankfully) last Bond adventure, Die Another Day (2002)

After a mission in North Korea goes horribly wrong, 007 is kidnapped and tortured only to be released at the 11th hour. He is traded for Zao, a terrorist who becomes  bizarrely disfigured with diamonds embedded in his face (as is only possible in a Bond film) when a fight breaks out and Bond escapes. Following the snafu, the suave super spy is sent underground to investigate the links between North Korean terrorist Col. Moon and Gustav Graves who is using conflict diamonds to fund development of a deadly satellite weapon…

Dire - oops, I mean Die Another Day is in my view one of, if not the weakest Bond film in the entire bunch. Brosnan just about manages not to phone his performance in, considering this film is his swansong.  Lee Tamahori is a talented director, helming the classic Once Were Warriors and more recently surprise hit The Devil’s Double so really is wasted here. The script suffers from too many cheesy jokes and stilted dialogue, the editing is poorly paced and the awful CGI ensures the film just looks incredibly fake throughout - something which blu-ray doesn’t help at all. I won’t mention the invisible car or the night-time kite surfing! There are only a handful of positives; both Halle Berry and Rosamund Pike deliver strong, memorable performances as Bond’s ladies on both sides of the good/evil spectrum. John Cleese appears again as the new Q (for the purposes of this film, anyway) and has some witty lines to deliver, making his scene enjoyable. Finally, for the eagle-eyed Bond fans there are plenty of nods not just to the previous Bond films, but also various references to Fleming’s original novels - this is the 40th anniversary, after all. Shame it couldn’t have been celebrated in a more fitting way. At least 10 years later, Skyfall gets it right. 

Film: ** Extras: ***

James Bond 007 Retrospective: The World Is Not Enough (1999)

James Bond 007 Retrospective: The World Is Not Enough (1999)

Bond is back, for his last mission before the millennium strikes in…

The World Is Not Enough (1999)

Directed by Michael Apted

Starring Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Goldie, Robert Carlyle, Robbie Coltrane, John Cleese

Bond is assigned to protect the daughter of M’s old university friend and heir to his fortune, following a botched kidnap job from the jaws of a terrorist. When it appears the terrorist has struck again, Bond must work quickly to avoid nuclear disaster!

Documentary director Michael Apted turns his lens to this 19th Bond film, and does a superb job of making it look gorgeous. This film of course introduces John Cleese to the series as Q’s successor (dubbed “R”), as Desmond Llewelyn sadly passed away after the movie was released. The great actor had played Q since his first appearance in 1963’s From Russia With Love, leaving a legacy behind him as Bond’s stuffy gadget master. 

The addition of Sophie Marceau means another French actor in a murky role, this time going one better than Michael Lonsdale’s Drax (Moonraker) and adding a twist to the film’s story, and shows off great versatility as one of the series’ more memorable Bond women. There’s alot of British (well, Scottish) talent in this film aside from Brosnan (and DJ/producer Goldie as a gold encrusted henchman) as Robbie Coltrane makes a reappearance as Zukovsky, this time running a Casino and a caviar factory, and Robert Carlyle as the central villain Renard, an international terrorist who thanks to a bullet lodged in his brain, is impervious to injury. Marceau is the real talent here, getting her teeth into a meaty role and clearly enjoying every scene she’s in. She also provides 007 with one of his most Bond-like moments, which don’t appear very often in the modern Bond adventures. Sadly Carlyle is underused, save for his bizarre token villainous quirks (being foreign and having some kind of physical disfigurement), his nefarious scheme nonetheless taps into then-prevalent fears of nuclear annihilation and the Millennium bug. Strong direction and some wonderful set pieces just about manage to save this film from being an epic failure, something which we’ll see in the next film..!!!

Bond will return in… *shudders* Die Another Day. 

Film: *** Extras: ***

James Bond 007 Retrospective: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

James Bond 007 Retrospective: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

With 007 returning in just 004 days (sorry, couldn’t resist), it’s time to crack on with the Bond retrospective! Here’s Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Starring Pierce Brosnan, Teri Hatcher, Gotz Otto, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh

Media mogul Elliot Carver wants to create World War 3 between Britain and the East just so he can obtain exclusive broadcasting rights in China for the next 100 years. However, he doesn’t bank on the intervention of 007 and his resourceful ally, Wai Lin…

This movie is the 2nd Bond outing for Pierce Brosnan and already he looks like he’s settling into the role. With 007 regular Bruce Feirstein on scripting duties there’s a slight change of tone here, with the plot a little more outlandish (because only Bond and his feisty female cohort can prevent WW3!). John Pryce hams it up brilliantly as the Rupert Murdoch -esque Elliot Carver whose relationship with Teri Hatcher proves to be just too much to bear when he learns 007 got there first. Hatcher is stunning as Bond’s former flame and gets perhaps the best line in the film, “do you still sleep with a gun under your pillow?”. Tomorrow Never Dies also features a star turn from legendary character actor Vincent Schiavelli as the sadistic Dr. Kaufman whose credentials lie in torture and pain, rather than the usual medical kind. He has one of the film’s best lines, when advising Bond on how best to fake the perfect suicide: “I could shoot you from Stuttgart und zstil create ze proper effeckt”. Not to mention Gotz Otto as Carver’s creepy pain enduring henchman Stamper, who would be rather forgettable if he weren’t in the same league as Red Grant/Eric Kriegler/Nekros stable of blonde assassins. The prize must go to Michelle Yeoh, one of the most memorable Bond girls of the series for portraying Wai Lin as a really strong character and one one of the few who can actually hold her own against 007 and only needing to be rescued once…

Superb supporting cast aside, we travel to some gorgeous locations including Thailand (near James Bond island, no less, where The Man With The Golden Gun was filmed) and Vietnam, so we spoiled on that account. There are quite a few plot holes, but Bond can be forgiven for them; 007 apparently has a first in “oriental languages” but conveniently forgets his Chinese in this film, so Wai Lin steps in. honourable mention must also go to the film’s two major stunt pieces (outta the way, sea drill): that remote control car (shot not in Hamburg but in Brent Cross shopping centre car park dontcha know) which surely must rank among the most memorable in the series, and the absurd chopper scene, notably for going up in a massive fireball.

This was of course the first Bond movie to be made following the death of long time producer Cubby Broccoli, to which the end credits pay tribute. Bond will return in one of the series’ longest titles, The World Is Not Enough.

Film: ***.5 (the .5 is for the remote control BMW!) Extras: ****

James Bond 007 Retrospective Series - GoldenEye (1995)

Our James Bond 007 Retrospective Review series enters a new era, with another change of personnel. Irish actor Pierce Brosnan slips effortlessly into the tux for his first outing as the suave spy for the first Bond adventure of the 1990s, GoldenEye.

 

Directed by Martin Campbell

Starring Pierce Brosnan, Famke Janssen, Judi Dench, Sean Bean, Isabella Scorupco, Joe Don Baker, Alan Cumming, Robbie Coltrane

Dduplicitous organisation Janus steal a vital piece of weapons technology, the GoldenEye from a Russian satellite base. As Bond infiltrates this missing satellite, his investigations lead him to the very brink of world economic disaster - but the culprit may be closer to home…

After a 6 year hiatus and with another change of personnel, former Remington Steele actor Pierce Brosnan eases into the tux to play Bond, James Bond 007. 6 years is a long time for something like the Bond films to be away from the big screen; indeed the world faced some serious political and cultural shifts in between Licence To Kill and GoldenEye, the fall of the Berlin Wall being particularly prominent. Communism crumbled as did the Wall, causing many film critics to question the relevance of Bond in the C20th but with director Martin Campbell at the helm and a fresh face in the role of the suave secret agent, GoldenEye provided the long running franchise with a much needed reboot, proving that yes - 007 is a vital part of our cultural heritage and is very much relevant in the modern world. The film introduces a few other new faces to the series; stage and screen legend Dame Judi Dench joins the cast as M, a sign of the times since Stella Rimington was then head of British intelligence. GoldenEye also introduces Robbie Coltrane to the series as Bond’s Russian ally Valentin Zukovsky (plus a cameo appearance by Minnie Driver as his tone deaf mistress, Irina in one memorable scene). Zukovsky makes further appearances in Brosnan’s Bond films. Joe Don Baker makes his 2nd appearance in the Bond films, this time to play 007’s CIA counterpart Jack Wade who would also go on to appear alongside Brosnan in his other 007 adventures.

With Campbell’s assured direction (he would return for the next Bond reboot Casino Royale in 2006) together with some tight editing and memorable performances ensure GoldenEye is quite probably one of the best films in the series, harking back to the early days of Connery with the blend of blistering action, eye popping stunts and smouldering sexuality, with a few quips and memorable gadgets thrown in for good measure. This is a new Bond for a new era.

Film: **** Extras: ***.5

I recently contributes to a fellow James Bond fansite, www.007hertzrumble.com  for his “#Bond_age_” series, “My Favourite #Bond_age: GoldenEye” which you can read here: http://www.007hertzrumble.com/favorite-bond_age_-goldeneye-becca-andrews/

James Bond 007 Retrospective Series - Licence to Kill (1989)

James Bond 007 Retrospective Review Series: Licence To Kill (1989)

Directed by: John Glen

Starring: Timothy Dalton, Robert Davi, Benicio Del Toro, Carey Lowell, Talisa Soto, Anthony Zerbe

Agent 007 goes rogue following the brutal torturing of Felix Leiter, Bond’s opposite number in the CIA. A revoked licence to kill doesn’t stop Bond tracking down the man responsible, who also happens to be a vicious drug lord…

As we saw with Dalton’s previous spy adventure The Living Daylights, this new, albeit brief chapter sparked a darker, tougher tone for the series. Licence to Kill is perhaps similar to Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace in tone, and also in terms of its violence - it’s the only Bond film to receive a “15” certificate rating by the BBFC, the rest receiving PG or 12A ratings. Despite the film’s violence and themes of drug dealing, Licence to Kill stands out as one of the best films in the series, and arguably the better of Dalton’s pair of 007 films. The “personal vendetta” theme has always run through almost every film and is of course a prevalent theme in Fleming’s original stories and LTK is a prime example. Sterling, believable performances all round with thrilling, memorable action scenes ensure this is an engrossing and entertaining 007 adventure, on every level. 

Licence To Kill turned out to be Timothy Dalton, director John Glen and writer Richard Maibaum’s Bond swan-song, as both men bowed out from the franchise after this film. Maibaum sadly passed away in 1991. 

There would be a 6 year gap whilst the Berlin Wall fell and global politics changed,  allowing the suave spy to gain another new look in the shape of Pierce Brosnan. James Bond 007 will return in 1995’s GoldenEye

James Bond 007 Retrospective Review - The Living Daylights (1987)

Our retrospective continues with a change of personnel in this 15th 007 adventure: The Living Daylights (1987)

Directed by John Glen

Starring Timothy Dalton, Maryam D’Abo, Jeroen Krabbe, Art Malik, John Rhys-Davies, Andreas Wisniewski, Joe Don Baker

A mission to eliminate a KGB sniper goes awry, but with unexpected results as Bond is tasked with handling the supposed defection of a Russian General. When this is revealed as a ruse, 007 faces a race against time to uncover the truth, revealing a deadly arms dealing plot.

Welsh thespian and “Hot Fuzz” star Timothy Dalton slips into the tuxedo to portray a new Bond for a new era, and it’s definitely a change for the better. Perhaps hinting at the new tougher edge that Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale would bring nearly 20 years on, a new Bond (albeit with the same director, John Glen) brings a change of tone for the much loved series. Gone are the fantastical plotlines of the later Connery and Moore films, aswell as the cheesy one-liners and saucy innuendoes as Dalton brings a touch of class, not to mention a grittier, tougher edge to the proceedings. Released in 1987, Cold War tensions were still running high and the film makes good use of Afghanistan as a location, especially since the plot involves the Russian invasion of the region, with a sterling performance by Art Malik as rebel leader Kamran Shah. Throw in a fast paced ski chase, a tense firefight battle between Bond and a military obsessed arms dealer (Goldeneye's Joe Don Baker) plus the return of Bond's signature car, the Aston Martin and you've got the workings of a classic Bond adventure. 

The Living Daylights ensures that Dalton’s tenure as 007 gets off to an explosive start and is one of the high points of this long running franchise.

Bond will return in… Licence To Kill.

Film: **** Extras: ***.5 (some great behind the scenes footage) 

 

James Bond 007 Retrospective: A View To A Kill (1985)

James Bond 007 Retrospective:  A View To A Kill (1985)

Directed by John Glen

Starring Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, Grace Jones, Tanya Roberts, Patrick Macnee

Bond must foil an audacious plot by psychotic industrialist Max Zorin who plans to gain a monopoly on the microchip market by bringing catastrophe to San Fransisco’s Silicon Valley. 

This is Roger Moore’s record breaking 007th (sorry….) outing as James Bond and, to be honest, it shows. Despite his creakiness, Moore still pulls off some impressive stunts (well, during close-ups anyway) and the film does feature a couple of spectacular set pieces, namely the vicious steeplechase and Bond’s scrap with villainous Zorin atop the Golden Gate Bridge! Singer/dancer/model/Amazon woman Grace Jones (who famously hula’d all the way through her set at the 2012 Jubilee concert) turns in a memorable performance as formidable Bond girl May Day, but Tanya Roberts really lets the side down as the drippy Stacey Sutton. Despite the eye popping action sequences and an insane performance thanks to Christopher Walken, A View To A Kill doesn’t quite hold up as one of the greatest Bond films and is an average swansong at best. 

Film: *** Extras: *** 

James Bond will return in… The Living Daylights

James Bond 007 Retrospective: Octopussy (1983)

James Bond 007 Retrospective:  Octopussy (1983) 

Directed by John Glen

Starring Roger Moore Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan, Steven Berkoff, Vijay Amritraj

Maud Adams stars as the eponymous Octopussy, head of an international jewel smuggling ring whom Bond investigates when a pricess Faberge egg is stolen. His search takes him to India and Germany where smuggling is just the tip of the ice berg…

Roger Moore returns as the suave secret agent for his penultimate Bond adventure, again directed with assured skill by John Glen. Moore was in his mid 50s at the time Octopussy was made, making the fact that he does his own stunts all the more impressive. Maud Adams, as we previously saw as Scaramanga’s lover Miss Anders in The Man With The Golden Gun. She makes her second appearance in the Bond series and is the only Bond girl to do so, playing 2 different characters (she makes a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo in A View To A Kill!). This 13th Bond film is also lucky for some, since it features some memorable performances from Louis Jourdan as exiled Afghan prince Kamal Khan and Kabir Bedi as his scimitar wielding henchman, Gobinda not to mention Steven Berkoff’s fantastically nefarious turn as power crazed General Orlov with those brilliant, scary blue eyes!

Occasionally, real life events inform upon the world of Bond and Octopussy is no different. in 1983, the Berlin Wall was still standing and Cold War tensions remained high. Although strictly speaking, whilst it signals the end of the 70s detente, this isn’t your typical Cold War thriller but it does contain all the vital elements of a hugely entertaining action/adventure, helping it stand out from the crowd.

Film: ***.5  Extras: ***

007 will return in A View To A Kill

 

 

 

The Grand Budapest Hotel - Review

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Directed by: Wes Anderson

Written by: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, based on the writings of Austrian author Stefan Zweig.

Starring: (deep breath) Ralph Fiennes, F Murray Abraham, Jude Law, Saoirse Ronan, Leya Seydoux, Adrien Brody, Mathieu Almaric, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel… and many more!

The Plot: Resourceful hotel concierge M. Gustave  is framed for the murder of one of his guests, and enlists the help of lobby boy Zero to help clear his name. 

The Good: Three great things about this film: 1. the cast 2.the cast and 3, the cast! Anderson always attracts great talent for his films but here, it’s Ralph Fiennes that really stands out as the enigmatic lead, M. Gustave. He gives a comic turn in this film unlike any this reviewer has seen before and would love for him to make more comedy films or indeed more comedic roles. 

The Bad: This film can be enjoyed on a number of levels, however this may not be so easily accessible for newcomers to Anderson as it is very idiosyncratic. If you’re fond of those “portmanteau” films of old then chances are, you’ll enjoy this. 

Verdict:  4/5 superb! However, it’s Anderson’s most Anderson-esque film to date. 

Watch out for: The stellar cast! Anderson always attracts an all-star cast for his films, and there are some repeat offenders (Bill Murray appears in a cameo, among others) but overall, the cast are a joy to watch! There are also several frame changes, another Anderson-esque touch. 

Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier - Review

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

**warning - spoilers!**

Directed by: Anthony & Joe Russo

Written by:  Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Starring:

The Plot: Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) adapts to his new life in the modern, tech-filled world but may have met his match against a new threat from his past: The Winter Soldier.

The Good: The Winter Soldier is quite possibly one of the better films in the Marvel movie stable. it easily out-does its predecessor, which although a decent blockbuster was nonetheless mired down by its stuffy WW2 setting, lack of action and clumsy script. This sequel redresses all that and sets a new benchmark that other Marvel superhero films must surely follow.

The Bad: There are very few negative points to this film. Even though I’m not a die-hard Marvel fangirl (sorry!), this film is as easily accessible as all the others released so far. 

In Summary: Believe all the hype surrounding Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It blends the best of the 70s inspired conspiracy thrillers with explosive action, but the tight script doesn’t let those elements get in the way of a strong, character driven story. 

Verdict: One of this year’s strongest blockbusters! 5/5

Look out for: As ever with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), there are quite a few mid and post credits scenes. With Cap 2, there are 2 short sequences, so be sure to stick around after the credits!

James Bond 007 Retrospective Series - For Your Eyes Only Review

 As ITV’s 007 marathon continues, so does our James Bond 007 Retrospective series. It’s time for our review of…For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Directed by John Glen

Starring Roger Moore, Carole Bouquet, Julian Glover, Topol (don’t miss Charles Dance’s cameo as a henchman!)

When the Automatic Targeting Aattack Communicator (ATAC for short), a device to control nuclear subs goes missing from a sunken British ship, 007 is called into find out who took it and why. Bond’s search is aided by half-Greek marine archaeologist Melina Havelock, seeking to avenge the death of her parents in a similarly related attack. 

John Glen is back in the director’s seat for this pared down Bond adventure, bringing a distinct change in tone to the proceedings compared to the outer space silliness of Moonraker - and the series is better of for it. This is a return to form for Bond, and is reminiscent of more character driven films such as On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. There are still of course some thrilling stunts, including a car chase and a downhill ski chase (performed by Bond stunt supremo Rick Sylvester) not to mention the typically beautiful locations on and around Corfu, plus a suspenseful mountain climbing sequence. FYEO also boasts some firsts for the Bond films; Bond rejects the advances of ice skater Bibi Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson) plus there is also  the first plot twist in the Bond movies. Aside from the bizarre pre titles  sequence involving a bald man stroking a white persian cat who’s not called Blofeld, FYEO brings a refreshing change to the series, showing Roger Moore et al are ready to carry Bond into the 1980s.

James Bond will return in Octopussy

Film: *** extras: ***

James Bond 007 Retrospective Series: Moonraker Review

Moonraker

Directed by Lewis Gilbert

Starring Roger Moore, Michael Lonsdale, Lois Chiles, Richard Kiel 

When a US space shuttle is stolen in mid-air, 007 is sent to recover it. Teaming up with NASA astronaut Dr. Holly Goodhead the pair face a race against time to discover who’s behind the theft and prevent global annihilation.

OK, let’s not beat about the bush; there’s no denying that Moonraker is basically The Spy Who Loved Me, but in space. The villain has similar designs on creating a new world but instead of diving beneath the waves, his nefarious scheme reaches beyond the stars. But the Bond canon doesn’t let a silly little thing like plot repetition stop Moonraker from being an enjoyable romp - at least it tries not to, anyway. Moore is starting to creak a bit here, but forms a believable union with co-star Lois Chiles who portrays that rare character in the 007 films - a Bond girl with a brain. Formidable steel-toothed henchman Jaws (Richard Kiel) also reappears, this time becoming more involved in the story than being just a hired goon. French actor Michael Lonsdale gives a rather understated performance as the film’s baddie Hugo Drax, but that doesn’t mean he’s any less effective. Lonsdale would also re-appear in the franchise decades later, lending his voice acting abilities once again as Drax to the James Bond game, 007 Legends.

Overall, Moonraker may not be your classic Bond film but makes for an enjoyable watch, especially on blu ray. I wonder if they knew about a little film called Star Wars that was released 2 years previously…!!

Film: *** Extras: *** 

James Bond 007 Retrospective - The Spy Who Loved Me Review

James Bond 007 Retrospective:  The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Directed by Lewis Gilbert

Starring Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Richard Kiel, Curt Jurgens

The Bond movies enter a “new era of Anglo-Soviet cooperation”  in this latest adventure! 007 must team up with beautiful Russian agent “triple X”, aka Major Anya Amasova to recover a microfilm containing info on missing British and Russian nuclear submarines. 

TSWLM hits the half-way mark for Sir Roger Moore in his stretch as the suave secret agent, as he would go on to portray Bond in a further 4 more 007 films. The Spy Who Loved Me is one of my favourite Bond films as all the classic elements of the Bond formula finally gel together (at least for Moore’s era) to create a fun action film, albeit with a slightly cheesy feel. The pre-titles sequence is a joy to behold, with the fast paced downhill ski chase rounded off in spectacular fashion by *that* ski jump and parachute opening, forming one of the most iconic moments in Bond history. Richard Kiel makes an impression as fearsome baddie Jaws, adding to the franchises’ ranks of infamous villains. TSWLM is known for its stunning scenes set in and around Cairo and of course those famous pyramids aswell as the Sphinx and the blu ray transfer ensures they look even more impressive in this film. Having visited Egypt on a recent holiday, I can confirm that the laser projection show Bond visits whilst trailing Major Amasova is still going to this day and hasn’t changed, still drawing in massive crowds.

The same can be said for the underwater scenes as the colours remain as vivid as ever. This film also marks cinematographer Claude Renoir (nephew of the famous director Jean Renoir)’s last film, as sadly by this time his eyesight was failing causing him to bow out.

As an aside, the film provides a superb behind-the-scenes look at Cairo’s Gayer Anderson museum, which provides the location for the house of one of Bond’s contacts, despite 007 almost trashing it in an epic fistfight with one of the villain’s henchmen. 

Film: **** Extras: **** (purely for a candid on-set interview with Roger Moore)

James Bond 007 Retrospective: The Man With The Golden Gun Review

 James Bond 007 Retrospective:  The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)

Directed by Guy Hamilton 

Starring Roger Moore, Britt Ekland, Christopher Lee, Herve Villechaize, Maud Adams

Bond receives a golden bullet ominously engraved with “007”, leading him to believe he’s been targeted by the world’s most feared assassin, Fransisco Scaramanga. Setting out to track him down, he uncovers an altogether more sinister plot to control the world’s natural energy resources with Scaramanga planning to harness the sun as the most lethal weapon of all. 

Roger Moore returns as Bond in this enjoyable, if a little cheesy 007 outing. The addition of Christopher Lee (a distant cousin of Bond creator Ian Fleming, dontcha know) really makes this film, who after portraying terrifying, iconic villains such as Dracula sinks his teeth (sorry) into a different kind of baddie as the film’s titular hitman.

The supporting Bond girls of Maud Adams as Scaramanga’s lover Andrea Anders plus Britt Ekland as Bond’s fellow agent Mary Goodnight turn in memorable performances that try to advance the position of the women in Bond films, although yet again must be saved by 007. Herve Villechaize, known best for his role in TV series Fantasy Island brings a charm to his portrayal of Scaramanga’s diminutive manservant, Nick Nack. Moore never shows signs of flagging more than ably demonstrates his versatility to be brutal in one scene, yet tender in the next.  This is one of the better blu-ray Bond transfers, as with FRWL this particular version makes  this 70s Bond action adventure look like new, if only it weren’t for those dodgy fashions -  check out Bond’s flared trousers and wide collared suits! Well, it was the 70s after all, and only Sir Rog could look so stylish!

The James Bond 007 Retrospective series will return with The Spy Who Loved Me.

Film: ***.5 Extras: ***

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