film, James Bond, must see

Movie Review: GoldenEye

Now we are getting into the Bond films I am pretty sure everyone knows about; they may have watched the movie or played the video game either way. Constantly listed as one of the best Bond films, usually within the top 2 at most, GoldenEye was the first Bond film in over six years, and it was well worth the wait,; i would even call it a must see even if you are not a Bond fan. As always spoilers ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) along with a fellow MI6 agent Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) infiltrate and destroy a Soviet chemicals facility holding weapons. Bond escapes but Alec is taken and seemingly killed by Colonel Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov (Gottfried John). Nine years later Bond is assigned to find out more about the Janus crime syndicate, which he does by following one of the members (if you have not seen the film I swear this is the name) Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), Moneypenny (Samantha Bond) does make a joke about it. Unfortunately Bond is one step behind Onatopp after she kills a Canadian Navy admiral for his credentials and steals a Eurocopter Tiger helicopter. She along with Ourumov go to Siberia; stealing the control disks for the Goldeneye satellites, satellite weapons used during the Cold War and massacre the entire staff except for programmer Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming) who is on their side and Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco) who hid out until she could escape. Bond is assigned by M (Dame Judi Dench) to investigate the attack. With the help of CIA operative Jack Wade (Joe Don Baker, told you we’d see him again) and reluctant ally Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane) Bond meets with the person responsible for everything; Janus aka the not so dead Alec Trevelyan. Having vowed to destroy MI6, not for leaving him dead but for his Cossack parents deaths during World War II, Trevelyan along with Onatopp, Boris and Ourumov plan to use the GoldenEye satellites to destroy the British economy by robbing the Bank of England and erase its finical records. Bond along with Natalya and Wade are determined to make sure that does not happen.

This is without question one of the best Bond films to ever be made and it was sort of a breath of fresh air for the franchise. Many made their debut as characters we know and love; Brosnan as 007, Dench as M and Bond as Moneypenny with only Desmond Llewellyn returning as Q. The Brosnan era Bonds were the ones I think my generation are more familiar with and why these are some of my favorite Bond films, but of course GoldenEye is at the top. I think Brosnan is my second favorite Bond (Connery of course at the top spot) as he is the right amount of charming but dangerous. He is quick to pick up his gun or how to get the bad guy in a deadly position before ultimately executing depending on the situation. I, like I know so many others, absolutely love Judi Dench as M. Many will argue is the best version of that character, but you won’t get it from me. While I think Dench is great as M in this era of Bond we all know she shines in the Craig versions but that is for another day. Before I move on I also love Samantha Bond as Moneypenny; while she does not come close to Lois Maxwell she does very well.

My thoughts on Natalya will be later so I’d like to focus on the characters that let’s face it we all love to hate in this movie; the villains. Sean Bean is one of the finest actors today and this is one of his best works. Trevelyan is basically an evil version of Bond and one of the best villains not just in the franchise but in movies (OK not that high on the list but right where he should be). Ourumov is also fantastic as it seemed for a long time he was the bad guy, but nope. He’s more working for his own goals rather than Trevelyan, but still he is great. I’ve always loved Alan Cumming in movies and he is both a joy and a nuisance to watch here, “I am INVINCIBLE”, really dude. While all three of them stick out in their own way however no villain or femme fatale is more memorable in this film than Onatopp. Let me give you some of the reasons of the top of my head: that name, she is gorgeous as well as deadly, she takes (ahem) pleasure out killing and for the love of God uses her THIGHS to kill a guy while taking pleasure! Tell me that is not crazy. I honestly think this is one of the very few women on the bad guy side that Bond actually does not sleep with, if HE doesn’t sleep with HER you know he knows how nuts he is.

The story of GoldenEye is very well written as is the action. I could not think of a Bond movie up until that point that had more guns and explosions, which is probably why people love this movie so much in addition to the performances. If you have not seen GoldenEye I would say watch this as soon as you can, even if you are not a huge fan of the Bond franchise.

film, James Bond

Movie Review: Licence To Kill

Without question the darkest Bond film in the franchise. It also served as the final film for Timothy Dalton as Bond, Caroline Bliss as Moneypenny and Robert Brown as M. If this is what happens when Bond takes things personally, I do NOT want to be on his bad side. Spoilers ahead as usual. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Bond and Felix Leiter (David Hedison returning from Live and Let Die) are on their way to Felix’s wedding when they get a call that drug lord Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi) is in the area. A quick stop there and Sanchez is captured. However shortly after Felix and his wife Della (Priscilla Barnes) marry, Sanchez bribes DEA agent Ed Killifer (Everett McGill) for his freedom. Sanchez and his henchman Dario (Benicio Del Toro) take Felix to an aquarium owned by Milton Krest (Anthony Zerbe), an associate of Sanchez. Bond hears Sanchez escaped and arrives to find Felix maimed, courtesy of a tiger shark, and Della dead and possibly raped. Bond and a friend Sharkey (Frank McRae) investigate leading to the aquarium and discover Sanchez’s submarine used for smuggling cocaine. Bond kills Killifer by forcing him to drop into the shark tank. An angry M demands Bond report to his mission and Bond resigns to go after Sanchez. M instead suspends him and revokes his licence to kill. Bond, along with a friend of Felix at the CIA Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell), an unauthorized Q (Desmond Llewelyn) and Sanchez’s mistress Lupe (Talisa Soto), aim to stop Sanchez once and for all.

As I said this is the darkest Bond in the entire franchise, and with good reason. While I admit the writing could have been better in a few places and a couple of things don’t make sense the characters make up for it. Bond is a man without anything to lose and it shows; I personally think between Dalton’s two performances as 007 this is his better one. My thoughts on Pam will be later so I’d like to focus on the others. Lupe is a pretty good Bond girl, admittedly very damsel and “oh James”, but nonetheless she gave Pam a run for her money as who would Bond end up with. Sanchez is one of my favorite villains in the Bond franchise; he is so evil, creepy and overall just a good bad guy. I don’t see him on many top Bond villains list; which I understand there are better villains, but I still love to hate this guy. While this was not his first film Del Toro stood out as the maniacal Dario; on a side note Dario and Sanchez’s death are two of the most gruesome/spectacular in the franchise along with Krest. Brown’s final appearance as M really packed a punch and I was  disappointed for two reasons. When Bond flees M prevents someone from shooting him not because he cared but because “there are too many people”, come on really. Also there seems to be no reconciliation at the end of the movie even though Felix says m has a job for Bond. Bliss is only on screen for probably two minutes, and not the best Moneypenny, but if it wasn’t for her Q wouldn’t have been there to help. This is my favorite Q performance out of Llewellyn because he basically defies orders to help Bond out, showing as much as he gets annoyed at him Q has a soft spot for 007, I also liked his scenes with Pam. While I would not say Licence to Kill should be placed high on a recommendation list, I would still say if you like the Bond franchise then watch this movie.

film, James Bond

Movie Review: The Living Daylights

The start of only two films with Timothy Dalton as our favorite secret agent, and well I can understand why this film and he is not the most memorable of the Bond franchise. As always spoilers ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Bond is assigned and is successful is the defection of General Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe), a KGB general at a concert, not without noticing the apparent assassin is one of female cellists and she did not appear to know what she was doing. During a debriefing Koskov reminds Bond that General Leonid Pushkin (John Rhys-Davis), now in charge of the KGB has revived Smiert Spionam (Death to Spies, which was not the first time Bond has noticed in the film). Koskov is then captured and assumed taken back to Russia. Bond tracks down the assassin, Kara Milovy (Maryam d’Abo), Koskov’s girlfriend and confirms what he suspected: the defection was staged. Confronting Pushkin, Bond discovers Koskov is evading arrest for embezzling government funds, has lied about how evil Pushkin is, and is working with an arms dealer Brad Whitaker (Joe Don Baker who we will see again in a couple of Bond films) whom I would describe as a guy who thinks he’s a war hero but is not even close. Bond eventually convinces Kara how awful Koskov is. Koskov, along with his henchman Necros (Andreas Wisniewski) takes them to Afghanistan to be imprisoned, but they escape along with the leader of a local Mujahideen Kamran Shah (Art Malik) where they discover Koskov’s true plans: using the Soviet funds to buy opium and not only keep the money but supply enough weapons for both the Soviets and Whitaker’s business. Bond, Kara, Shah’s men, and a small assistance from Felix Leiter (John Terry) make sure that plan never comes to fruition.

Timothy Dalton as Bond is probably the second worst, or fourth best depending on how you look at it. I think he did an OK job in this film, personally I liked him in the next film but that’s another day. While the film itself is not too memorable I did not think it was too bad. It does have some great action sequences, I personally liked the chemistry between Bond and Kara, my thoughts on her will be later, and the villains are not too bad. I gotta be honest it is hard to decide who is the true villain in this film. It seems like it is Koskov, but I’ve heard some say it is Whitaker, either way not the most memorable. This was also the debut of Caroline Bliss as Moneypenny, and sadly she is not the best, why she is hanging around Q branch I don’t know and her sighing after Bond doesn’t help. If there was one actor I like in this film it was Davis, then again I really like that actor so it helps. While it is not a bad Bond film, I would not put this too high on a recommendation list.

film, must see

Movie Review: Speed

A plot that on paper seemed silly, but when on screen it is a pretty good action film. Released in 1994, Speed was a surprise hit to critics and audiences, winning two Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing and Mixing. While I don’t think it is the best action movie of all time, it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. Spoilers ahead as always. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

LAPD Swat officers Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves) and Harry Temple (Jeff Daniels) prevent a $3 million hostage attempt by a bomber named Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper), who seems to commit suicide rather than go to jail. A few months later Jack witnesses a bus explosion with people inside and receives a call from the not so dead Payne. There is another bus rigged to explode if it drives less than 50 miles per hour or passengers leave the bus, unless he is paid $3.7 million. Jack gets to the already moving bus and explains what is going on to the rightly so freaked out passengers and bus driver. Unfortunately things get worse when a small time criminal, think Jack is there for him, accidentally fires his gun and shoots the bus driver. Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) who only takes the bus because of a suspended license, takes the wheel. From then on to say it is one heck of a ride would be a gross understatement.

This was a pretty good and surprisingly well written action movie. Keanu Reeves is fantastic as Jack in every way possible, from his good looks to how his character is. Sandra Bullock, one of my favorites, did such a great job as Annie a woman literally thrown into the situation and well she takes it way better than I would have. Her chemistry with Reeves is excellent, they are very good together on screen. Jeff Daniels as well is great, but I want to talk about Payne for a moment. While there is no question how great Dennis Hopper is as an actor, and I thought he did great with this role, I’ve always had one question about Payne: what is his motive? Most of the villains I watch have a motive to what they do, or they are just crazy. While there is no question how crazy Payne is, in similar situations there is always a motive and it is never addressed on screen. Kinda makes you wonder what is the pain behind Payne, I am sorry I had to say that. If you like action movies then I would put Speed on the recommendation list. Might not be the best, but it is far from the worst (unlike the very poor sequel which I am never going to watch.)

film, James Bond

Movie Review: A View to a Kill

The last one in the Roger Moore Bonds and well it wasn’t exactly his best work. This is not one of the best reviewed or even liked Bond films for a majority of reasons, however it does have one of the best villain and henchman in the entire Bond franchises. This was also the first Bond to have a disclaimer ahead of the film because Zorrin is actually a corporation in the U.S. Spoilers ahead as always. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

Bond recovers a microchip the Soviet union wants back. Q (Desmond Llewelyn) analyzes it and discovers it can withstand an electromagnetic pulse and was created by Zorrin Industries. While at the horse track M and Bond observe the head of the company Max Zorrin (Christopher Walken) and his bodyguard, and lover, May Day (Grace Jones) as their horse wins. Bond along with fellow MI6 agent Sir Godfrey Tibbett (Patrick Macnee) attend a horse sale at Zorrin’s estate, but are soon caught and dealt with, at least so Zorrin and May Day think and much to the displeasure of General Gogol, yep he’s back. Zorrin, who is  revealed to be the result of an experiment gone wrong (no kidding), reveals his plan to basically get rid of his competition by destroying Silicon Valley, killing not only his rivals but millions of others, to which he seems gleeful about it. He has May Day and Dr. Carl Mortner (Willoughby Gray) as help. Bond, along with a woman Zorrin tries to buy off Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts), stop him.

For his last time as 007 Roger Moore in my opinion did not do his best. He was basically done with the franchise after this for a number of reasons: he was getting too old, he and Grace Jones were not getting along on set and to top it off Tanya Roberts’s mother was younger than him (YOW.) Bond also sleeps with more woman than usual in this film, four to be accurate. My thoughts on Stacey will be later so I will move on to other characters. This was not only the last time Roger Moore would be Bond, but it was also a farewell to Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny and she has yet to be topped as the best version of this character (I highly doubt anyone will come close.)

As I stated before the villains of this film are more well known than the film itself. Walken is absolutely crazy as Zorrin, there is no reasoning with this guy. Let me put it this way besides the fact that he brushes off the destruction of Silicon Valley killing hundreds of millions of people when his workers are done he long with one of his most loyal henchmen flood the mine and anyone who doesn’t drown is shot AND HE LAUGHS ABOUT IT! He is also one of the few villains I can think of in film history to laugh at his own death! Jones is fantastic as May Day, despite the drama between her and Moore. She is loyal to Zorrin out of love, until she realizes he left her for dead. She aids Bond just to get back at Zorrin and sacrifices herself in order to stick it to him. The story itself is not too well written and acting could have been better in a few places, but overall this film is not too terrible. Still I would not put this high on a recommendation list.

film, James Bond

Movie Review: Octopussy

Another Bond film I often forget about, although it is one of my mothers favorites (she loves Faberge eggs.) I said this in my ranking of my Bond films and I will say it again, this is one of the more campier Bond films but nonetheless it is enjoyable. Spoilers ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

After 009 is killed dressed as a clown and carrying a fake Faberge egg, MI6 is quick to suspect the Soviets are involved after the real egg shows up an an auction. M (Robert Brown) sends Bond (Roger Moore once more) to find out who the seller is. While at the auction Bond engages in a bidding war with Kamal Khan (Louis Jordan), an Afghan prince exiled eventually forcing Khan to pay 500,000 pounds for the egg. However Bond switches the real egg for a fake and follows Khan to India. After seduced by Khan’s associate Magda (Kristina Wayborn) Bond allows her to take the egg back, but had a listening device implanted. Bond discovers Khan is working with Soviet general Orlov (Steven Berkoff), who seeks to expand the Soviet into West-Central Europe, as well as bomb a U.S. Air Force base using a circus as a cover (which the Soviets see as insane.) Bond also meets Octopussy (Maud Adams) Khan’s associate in smuggling the Soviet jewels Khan is being paid with for his help. Khan also has a henchman in Gobinda (Kabir Bedi.)

So what makes this film campy, well for starters Roger Moor dressed as a clown to evade the German police and convince the Minister of Defense and Octopussy there is a bomb, yeah that happened. Again the writing was not too great, the action while not terrible is not as good compared to other Bond films. I did enjoy the scene where Bond has to fight the twin knife throwers, not at the same time but still enjoyable. I also liked the final battle at Khan’s palace as well as the fight on the plane between Bond and Gobinda.

My thoughts on Octopussy will be later, so I want to focus on other characters. This was Robert Brown’s first outing as M after the passing of Bernard Lee.  He did come off as somewhat nicer to Bond compared to other M’s, an expect for this M will be later on, but overall he was good. I liked how Q (Desmond Llewelyn) is actually outside the lab and while is not part of the action per say plays more of a role than just “here is the gadgets, how they work, grow up 007.” Khan, much like Kristatos is somewhat of a middle man helping Orlov for the most part. However unlike Kristatos Khan is a much more interesting character. He is slimy, he is actually getting something out of helping Orlov and after the plan goes to hell he does everything to get away and kill Bond and Octopussy so it will not get back to him. Orlov is insane that even long time on and off rival in the franchise General Gogol thought he was nuts. Gobinda basically does what he told no matter what, much like Oddjob in Goldfinger, although he did question for two seconds when Khan tells him to get Bond on that tiny plane. This is a not too great Bond film so unless you liked the franchise I would not put this high on the recommendation list.

film, James Bond

Movie Review: For Your Eyes Only

Truth be told this is one of the Bond films I sometimes forget about. For Your Eyes Only has been ranked a couple of times as one of the better Bond films, I’m not saying it is not good but there are a few things, mostly characters, I’m not particularly fond of. Spoilers ahead. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.

After dispatching Blofeld for the last time, Bond (Roger Moore) is sent by the Minister of Defense Sir Frederick Grey (Geoffrey Kean) and MI6 Chief of Staff Bill Tanner (James Villiers), this was due to Bernard’s Lee’s death so M does not make an appearance to find a Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator (ATAC) a system used to talk with the Royal Navy’s submarines. It appeared to have sunk with a British sub in the Ionia Sea, however Bond soon suspects it was not an accident after Sir Timothy Havelock and his wife are killed trying to help the British find the missing sub. Bond soon locates the hit-man, and sees he was paid off by a man named Emile Leopold Locque (Michael Gothard.) Before Bond could get information the hit-man is killed by Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet), the daughter of Sir Timothy. Bond meets with Arias Kristatos (Julian Glover) a businessman and informant who says Locque works with Milos Columbo (Chaim Topel) a man deep in the Greek underworld. Bond also meets Kristatos figure skating protege Bibi (Lynn-Holly Johnson.) However Bond soon finds out the person responsible is not Columbo, but Kristatos who works for the KGB to find the ATAC.

While Roger Moore does a great job in the film other characters fall just a little short. My thoughts on Melina will be at a later date, so I want to move on to others. Locque is a pretty good henchman for the most part, not to mention his death is one of my favorite parts of the film. Columbo is a pretty interesting character starting off seemingly as a villain but then turns into a pretty good ally. However there were two that stood out in a bad way: Kristatos and Bibi. First off Bibi is so annoying Bond doesn’t even sleep with her, thank God. Second Kristatos isn’t even a good villain he is following orders from the KGB and doesn’t even try and defy them. Essentially he is another henchman not a villain. Just to be clear Glover is a great actor, but his character just doesn’t live up to my Bond villain expectations. The action in the film is actually pretty good with a few underwater, skiing, helicopter in the beginning and the final battle in the end. This Bond film you may recall is in the middle of my ranking of the Bond films. I am once again not putting this too high on a recommendation list, but if you like Bond than go ahead.