Film Review: The Spy Who Loved Me

I believe that I am totally at odds with most people when it comes to my feelings surrounding The Spy Who Loved Me. Most people argue that it is a suave and sophisticated Bond film, with Roger Moore giving his best performance as 007. In my view, this is a load of tosh.

I truly stand by my view that this film is rubbish. If I was to briefly describe everything I felt was wrong about it, it would go something like this. It’s rubbish. Honestly, the film feels like a 1970s soft porn film. But without the sex.

Imagine if you will that the plumber turns up: “I’m here to fix the washing machine”, starts stroking his tool belt, and then, just as the woman starts to swoon, turns off the water supply.

This film just feels like paint by numbers stupidity. You’ve got most of it set to a backdrop that feels more like a promotional Egyptian tourist video than a spy film involving nuclear war. A villain, who appears to be obsessed with HG Wells’ War of the Worlds and wants to live inside a Martian craft. His enforcer, who in principle should be scary, performing a comedy routine throughout – the ending to the scene involving the van and him dropping the rock on his foot prove my point. And even a soundtrack that makes no apologies for the fact that in its entirety seems only to be designed from the point of view enhancing and enforcing this.

It takes some going, for the usually unimpeachable, reassuring and comforting notes of Monty Norman / John Barry’s Bond theme to feel as out of place as they do half way through this film.

The film is disjointed: the opening sequences, the stereotypical “blow everything up” ending just clash with the filler between. You have a serious spy film, with ideas based within the cold war, nuclear empowerment and government espionage and mistrust, the perfect base for which to build a spy film, suddenly torn apart by stupidity. It almost feels as though two different people who the script and neither was told the plot.

It feels like that game played at school where you write a line, fold it over, someone writes the next, folds it over and so on until a story is written and revealed. And just like every school story, it descends immaturely, into silliness and stupidity, simply because one person thought it would be funny.

I haven’t even started on the dialogue, mainly because in opening paragraph to this review involved the name Roger Moore, and therefore, you can be sure this film is full of one liners, sexual references, and a style of Bond that I just find unbecoming a British spy. It’s just so annoying, because when Roger Moore remembers he’s playing a spy he can be very good, but when he’s stirred a Vodka Martini, he turns very quickly into a washing machine repair man, and sadly, he’s partial to a good drinking session.

I loathe, the Spy Who Loved Me, there are times when I think the 1967 spoof version of Casino Royale is a more serious film, and you could even be forgiven for thinking that, if it hadn’t been released 13 years before, Carry On Spying, could have easily been dreamt up as a result of this film.

I cannot find a positive note in this film – the bits I quite like are full of plot holes and answered questions; while the rest is just a bad stand up routine that deserves to be booed off stage a lot quicker than it is. In the timeline of James Bond, The Spy Who Loves Me just doesn’t form a lasting relationship.

5 out of 10 stars (5 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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