Bonding with Bond, Day 16: A View to a Kill

One intrepid RT editor is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

by | November 5, 2008 | Comments

After showing signs of aging in previous films, Roger Moore finally takes his last turn at playing Bond. Read on to see how much it affected my viewing.


A View to a Kill (1985) 36%

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I don’t know if Roger Moore knew this was going to be his last Bond film or not, but it doesn’t seem as if he cared, because there’s nothing particularly outstanding or notable about A View to a Kill. At the same time, strangely enough, I actually didn’t think this installment was quite as unwatchable as I was made to believe. Maybe my judgment was clouded by just a little bit of wine from an election night get-together, or maybe my expectations were so low that I could only be pleasantly surprised. Yes, this movie was laughably bad, but for some reason, I really didn’t mind. Go figure.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Roger Moore is officially eligible for the senior discount at Denny’s. You can see the loose skin dangling from his neck like a Christmas turkey, and when a stunt double isn’t doing the dirty work for him, he looks a little… tired. Even his libido seems to be on the downswing; he flirts with girls, sure, but we no longer see him forcibly storming his way into their pants. And let’s face it, at his age, that would just be creepy.

Another sour point I’ll mention is the choice of women in the film. Stacey Sutton (played by Tanya Roberts), who does have the most incredible eyes, is absolutely horrendous, on par with Rosie Carver in Live and Let Die. May Day (Grace Jones) is fine as a henchwoman of few words, blessed with superhuman strength — I’m willing to accept that. But she flips a sudden 180 very late in the movie (arguably warranted), and don’t even get me started on the love scenes. When central villain Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) has May Day pinned to the floor in a sparring match and cranes his neck in for a sloppy kiss, it’s like watching Ellen DeGeneres make out with Wesley Snipes.

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I did like Walken as Zorin, though, and I’m not just saying that because it’s hip to like Walken. His idiosyncrasies make for perfect villain material, and when Bond calls him psychotic, you almost believe it more, specifically because it’s Christopher Walken — of course he’s crazy. As a matter of fact, if someone told me that he was the product of genetic experimentation gone wrong, like Zorin, the world might actually make more sense. He doesn’t quite play up to his potential, but he was believable, I thought.

As for the campy elements, there were plenty of over-the-top scenes. There’s 007 snowboarding down a mountain to the soundtrack of “California Girls;” driving literally half a car down a motorway during a chase; engaging in a video game-style horse race, complete with moving obstacles and roughhousing opponents at his side. And what in the name of all that is holy was the fire truck scene all about? That was downright absurd, from start to finish.

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Now, after all this, you’d expect me to say that I hated this movie, right? Well, I can’t justify it — I can’t even really explain it — but at the end of the day, I was actually sort of entertained. Stupidity abounds in A View to a Kill, subplots disappear without a trace, logic and physics are tested to the extreme, performances are dubious, and there’s little action to get excited about. I can’t even say that these loony elements are what endeared the film to me, because that wouldn’t be entirely true. For whatever reason, however, the two hours just flew by for me. Next comes a new Bond, which is exciting, so it’s with a rather numb heart that I bid farewell to the Roger Moore era.

Favorite line: This is Zorin finishing a line spoken by May Day — “What a view…” “…to a kill!” I still don’t know what that means, but bonus points for using the film’s title in the dialogue.

Favorite moment: It probably has to be the make out scene between Christopher Walken and Grace Jones, because I couldn’t help wondering what their spawn would be like… Quite possibly the greatest world leader history has known. Either that, or the most eccentric UFC champion ever. Hell, maybe both.


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