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Posts Tagged ‘Grace Jones’

Urgh, the end is finally in sight. Yes, we’ve finally reached the end of a Bond era, with The Indestructible Iron Man Fights The Electronic Gang (1985), known outside Hong Kong as A View to a Kill. And in every respect, it’s not come any too soon.¬†

There is some innovation and energy in this tale of a eugenically-bred psychopath (Christopher Walken) attempting to corner the world market in microchips by triggering a disaster (one of several echoes of Goldfinger the movie indulges itself in), but Roger Moore’s advancing age (he was 58 when this movie was released) and weariness with the part just seem to permeate every aspect of the production. The movie doesn’t do itself any favours on this front – at one point a group of crack British secret service personnel go on an intelligence-finding sortie, and the average age of the performers involved is 61. It is, obviously, par for the course for Bond to be rather older than the leading lady, but on this occasion Bond is also older than the leading lady’s mum.

As the foil, Tanya Roberts certainly looks the part but she is a bit whiny and annoying. Possibly due to this, Bond spends more time than usual looking elsewhere in A View to a Kill and by the end of the movie he has indulged himself to a record-breaking extent, with an unnamed chick from the pre-credits sequence (apparently for five days straight, which may explain how tired he seems for the rest of the film), a beautiful KGB agent (not played by Dolph Lundgren, though he is in the movie), and – most startlingly of all – the villain’s chief henchman (this, in case you were wondering, is not an echo of Goldfinger).

This last is made possible by the fact that the chief henchman – henchperson – is a lady, played, if that’s not too strong a word for it, by Grace Jones. Jones remains a ferocious screen presence throughout, and works well with Walken’s slightly spacey performance, even if in the final analysis she mainly contributes a distinctive haircut and some wacky costumes. Very disappointingly, Jones and Moore never actually square off to each other in more typical hero-and-henchman style, though it is pretty clear that she would destroy him in any fair fight.

…ewwww.

There are some fun moments along the way in Paris and atop the Golden Gate Bridge, and the soundtrack has moments of inspiration during some of the action scenes, but there’s nothing you could really point to here as an example of Bond at its best. (The movie even wastes Patrick Macnee as Bond’s sidekick.) And forget about casting Daniel Craig – virtually terminal damage is done to our hero’s reputation when, after saving her, he offers to cook her dinner. Ah, we think, this is Bond. It will be fillet steak, or possibly clams – something that epitomises his sophistication and virility. What does he eventually whip out of the oven? Quiche.

It seems something of a shame to conclude my trek through 70s and early 80s Bond on a such a negative note, but I have to call ’em as I see ’em, and at least this one isn’t as flat-out frivolous as Octopussy. A View to a Kill deserves some praise if only because it stops Moore’s weakest film from being his final one – and if you think that sounds like the faintest of faint praise, you’re absolutely right.

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