IT'S THE ONE WHERE
A British spy ship sinks off the coast of Greece, carrying with it an ATAC transmitter. This device is used to send launch-codes to submarines and such. If it should fall into the wrong hands, the result could be catastrophic. Bond is dispatched to discover who killed the man responsible for the recovery of the device.
Of course Bond flirts with Moneypenny, the secretary, but nails surprisingly few broads during the course of this film. Only one! He even turns down a perky, blond skater, barely 20 years old! What the hell is wrong with him?!
THE SECRET PLOT TO RULE THE WORLD AWARD GOES TO...
Nobody! All we get is some random Greek smuggler who wants to sell the ATAC to the Russians. There's a boatload of thugs, though, including a silent, but deadly, blond dude, and Charles Dance shows up too!
Ah yes, the Bond we know and hate is back. If story is king, then Bond resides in a republic. An extremely important coding device has been lost, does Bond attempt to find it? No, he's on a mission to find the guy, who hired the guy, who killed the guy, who was going to locate the device. No, you read that right. And while he's off on this tangent, the device is lying in the wreck of a ship, free for anyone to find. Please. To top off this insult to agents everywhere, Bond seems more like he's on a cosy vacation than on a mission. He's strolling around in Greece, tasting the local cuisine, talking casually with a few contacts.
The film also wastes a dumbfounding amount of time on a completely superfluous subplot, featuring the ice-skater Bibi. As much as I enjoy watching this perky little thing rub herself up against Bond, this part of the story is utterly useless, and in an already slow and aimless film, it's positively painful.
The pre-credit sequence is also useless. Bond is kidnapped by Blofeld, who we almost forgot was still running free out there. He's in a wheelchair and laughs maniacally all the time, but we never see his face. Unfortunately for him Bond takes control of a helicopter, picks up Blofeld and drops him into an industrial chimney. Done. I was almost flabbergasted. Clearly the producers knew they had a loose end in Blofeld, they didn't want to deal with him anymore, so he's killed off in this ridiculous, unceremonious manner.
In terms of action and drama this film is roadkill. First of all, Bond travels to a ski resort. Really? That's a new one. Of course this means we get the inevitable ski chase. Haven't we done that a million times already? Later in the film we get an impressive climbing sequence. Impressive, because it's so excruciating slow, and unbelievably incompetent. Turns out, Bond can't climb either. If you thought Bond was out of place in Harlem, you should see him hanging on to a cliff-side for dear life, with the death-grip of a condemned man.
The single good action scene in this dull fare is the exploration of the sunken ship. I don't understand why the whole film wasn't built around this element. Bond and a hot chick enter the wreckage. They're attacked! There are sharks in the water! We get a short, but great fight scene, between two mini-subs, The Abyss-style! It's pretty cool, and they clearly build the whole set in a tank, and they have the subs and everything. Why not make this element - Bond physically getting his hands on the illusive device - the centerpiece of the story?
I always enjoy reviewing films from the 80's, because it's so easy to determine how good they are, by comparing them to landmark films of the decade: Try this on for size: For Your Eyes Only was released 1 year after The Empire Strikes Back, same year as Raiders of the Lost Ark, and one year before Blade Runner. Why does it look like it's 30 years older?
Maybe it's because of scenes like the one where Bond learns an important clue from - wait for it - a parrot. Yes, an actual parrot. That's not even the worst part. The worst part is the scene where Margaret Thatcher is having a conversation with said parrot, believing it to be James Bond. Yes, you read that right too.