A View To A Kill

A View To A Kill (1985) Director: John Glen

★☆☆☆☆

The title for A View To A Kill comes from the Ian Fleming short story called “From A View To A Kill” though the film and the story share almost nothing in common. Throughout the film we become painfully aware that Roger Moore is far too old to continue playing the role of James Bond. His face looks stretched and gaunt, like a skeleton, and in fact he apparently had quite a bit of cosmetic work done prior to the film. Many of the women he encounters in the film are old enough to be his grandchildren -not exactly the dashing hero of years past. This was the last Bond film to feature Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny, and thankfully it was the last to feature Roger Moore as James Bond.

The best part of the film is the opening scene in which we find Bond in Siberia grabbing a microchip from the frozen body of 003. He is then chased in a dramatic skiing scene, but it quickly devolves into a silly moment with Bond skiing to the tune of “California Girls” by the Beach Boys for some reason. He escapes to his hidden submarine and so on. When we finally get to the main plot, it revolves around dated ’80s technology – microchips are being produced by the Russians, likely the KGB, through a company called Zorin. MI6 shadows the CEO of Zorin at a horserace, the man is named Max Zorin (played by Christopher Walken). This eventually leads Bond to pose as a millionaire and he attends a horse auction in France to further investigate Zorin, but he is caught up in a high-speed chase through Paris, up the Eiffel Tower, and across the city in pursuit of Zorin’s guard, an androgynous woman named May Day who Bond eventually sleeps with in one of the most uncomfortable Bond Girl moments (May Day is played by Jamaican pop icon Grace Jones).

However this is all merely a cover. The true plot becomes evident as the film progresses. Zorin (who is apparently the victim of Nazi experiments) goes rogue from the KGB and he unveils a secret plan to destroy Silicon Valley by detonating bombs along the Hayward and San Andreas fault-lines causing massive earthquakes and flooding. Bond prevents the explosions and he trails Zorin to his blimp-like plane over the Golden Gate Bridge where they dramatically battle until Zorin falls to his death in the San Francisco Bay -perhaps the best scene in the film. Interestingly enough, the Soviets wind up praising James Bond in the end for killing this rogue criminal -a remarkable sign of the easing Cold War tensions in the late ’80s.

Among the long list of terrible James Bond films, A View To A Kill should be relegated to the bottom of the pile. It is a miracle the James Bond series survived the 1980s at all!

To top it off, A View To A Kill features one of the worst Bond theme songs performed by Duran Duran. Two other Bond girls make appearances in the film alongside the aging hero: actresses Fiona Fullerton and Tanya Roberts.

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