Bond v0.8 - Live and Let Die
Live and Let Die
Yup, Connery is now behind us, and we’re into the era of Moore. I’ve got to say, given the strength of the performance by the old “new” Bond played by George Lazenby, I am seriously shocked at how badly different not only Moore is, but this film in general. So much to say about this film… where do I begin???
Ok, most importantly with all films, is the plot, so lets start there; but before I begin, let me ask what James Bond is, and what his role is. He’s a Secret Agent for the British Secret Service - he’s a Commander of the British Naval Forces, he’s an international spy and the nemesis of countless organisations hell bent on ruling the world. So what do we see Mr Bond getting up to in this oh-so 70’s film?? He’s busting up a drug ring in the heartland of the US of A. Police Officer Bond… go figure. Somehow the MI6 has gotten involved in black drug running and a few officers of both MI6 and the CIA go missing, Bond is sent in to find out why. So what do we find?? Not just your typical 70’s Blaxploitation stereotypes with pimps and honkies, but the head of the organisation is using a psychic to guide his big business decisions. This truly is a completely crap story, told with an exceptional lack of talent, acted poorly, and is generally just a complete waste of time.
So what’s good about it?? For me, not a whole lot. It really is a bad film. What will remain memorable, and therefore nostalgic, is that it’s Moore’s first outing in his new character. It’s not his fault it’s a lemon, it’s just the nature of the beast - they can’t all be brilliant, and following the recent trend of these films slipping away from what made them good, it’s no big surprise that they departed even further. What we do see, is more humor. Q is finally introduced as more of a character, and we see the gadgets becoming a little more outlandish - a watch with a built in electro magnet? Sure it can pull a boat from across a pond - but why wouldn’t it pull the wearers arm as well?? We also see the first “real” introduction of “The Pun.” While Connery may have had one or perhaps two bad puns per film, it seems Moore’s entire dialogue is bad puns. Apparently by casting Moore, they didn’t want him copying Connery, nor replicating his past role in The Saint - so to distance him from both, they added a lot of “comedy” to it. I can see the logic behind the decision - it makes the film more enjoyable to more people… to a point. By taking this stance in Moores first film, it sets the stage for the six films yet to come.
And then we get to the boat chase. Small, fast boats in the Everglades, racing from here to there, both pimps and police - all pursuing Bond. This is really a good scene - great action, great stunts, and well paced - it just goes forever though!! Not only does it seem to never end, but there’s an almost slapstick comedy aspect to it with the introduction of the sweaty, fat Police Sherriff, J. W. Pepper. With his Southern accent (and attitude) and a face full of chewing tobacco, he’s just one of the annoying characters from Smokey and the Bandit. In short, it’s just another aspect of this film that doesn’t have a place in the “real” Bond world.
So we’ve got honky pimps, bad 70’s everything, psychic tarot readers and Voodoo Witchdoctors… and a complete lack of a Bond story. There’s so much more I could say about how bad this film is - but why bother. My memories of this film were that it was the worst of the series, and coming back to it with age and perspective, I’d say my intuition was spot on. It’s a true lemon… with a great theme song! Go figure!
James Bond will return in…
The Man with the Golden Gun