Film Review: A View To A Kill

And now, the end is near and I can’t say that I’m overly disappointed as my love hate relationship with Roger Moore as James Bond, 007 draws to a close. As relationships go it’s had its moments, you just have to look back at my reviews of The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy to see just how much I find Roger Moore an unconvincing British Spy but as our time comes to an end it’s almost with a tint of sadness that we part, because, however much I dislike the type of Bond Moore created, he has for the last month been, “Bond”.

And so it’s to our final outing – A View To A Kill.

It wasn’t a Bond film I knew anything about before I stuck the disc into the player and settled in for the evening. What I found was a Bond film that I actually enjoyed. It’s strange I am fast beginning to realise that when Bond rolls out a “paint by numbers” style film, that’s formulaic with the plot walking easily from point to point, while Bond beds every girl he passes and dodges every bullet fired at him, I switch off and spend more time thinking about tomorrow night’s dinner than the action on the screen. However, paint outside the lines, throw in a mad villain, spend some time beating up Bond and make him weaker in comparison to those he’s coming up against and suddenly I become engrossed – I start to enjoy it. And thankfully, A View To A Kill follows the later rules.

It still has some problems mainly relating to the thin plot and complete lack of character development, but overall I actually enjoyed it a lot more than any other recent Bond outing. And I think that apart from The Man With The Golden Gun, it’s been Roger’s only real performance I’ve enjoyed.

There are portions of the movie that don’t really make any sense to me; mainly the parts involving horses, as they don’t seem to tie very well into the overall plan for mad villain world domination on which the plot is based and the final scenes of mass destruction to which all Bond films build is ropey and questionable – but that doesn’t really detract from the film. It simply means that for portions of the film you feel slightly more that are just trotting along to pass the time but still, surprisingly, in a forgivable way.

It’s also noticeable that the use of “Bond girls” and Moore’s constant bedding of them is toned right down and actually, this brilliantly works to enhance the film. It might even be the first time Rog’ has ended up sleeping in a chair rather than with the girl. I cannot and never will find Roger Moore convincing as Bond but this was the first time I have felt he’s not just play acting, he felt like a grown up. I almost found that there is a sense of maturity to this film that has been seriously lacking in the others. Almost.

The biggest criticism I have with the film though lies with Christopher Walken as the villain. For an actor who’s natural screen appearance and presence would suggest “movie baddie”, with a look that makes him almost sinister and, therefore, perfect for the role, he just failed to convince me. I can’t quite find the right words but he just never looks believable, I never accepted that he would be able to be in the position of power he finds himself in. Yes he’s essentially a puppet to higher powers, and therefore, been placed into that position, but he never looks real. To be a bit cliché, the strings are too obvious too fool anyone. And Grace Jones is just baffling!

And it’s sadly that lack of strength from the side of evil that drops the movie down from a good Bond film to a decent one. As I said, I enjoyed it, certainly a lot more than a large portion of the other Bond films I’ve watched now, but I doubt I’ll bother with it again, purely because it’s just a bit too weak bodied, which, when if looked at it deeply means it sadly fails to be really entertaining.

7 out of 10 stars (7 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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