The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)


James Bond learns that notoriously secretive, $1 million per hit assassin Scaramanga (played by Christopher Lee) has got a bullet with his name on it. Instead of simply waiting, Bond heads out into the world to find Scaramanga first. The chase takes him to China and Macao, and also involves a new energy saving technology. Of course Bond flirts with Moneypenny, the secretary, but he nails almost no broads in this film, he's just too busy, even though cute little blond agent Goodnight (Britt Ekland) practically throws herself at him.


Oh dear. No one is looking for world domination. Well, there's some talk about cheap energy, but no bad guy stroking a cat, no satellites with lasers, nothing. Just one guy who wants to kill another. That's fairly disappointing. In fact, the most sinister person here is Scaramanga's manservant, the midget, Nick Nack.


Generally considered one of the worst Bond movies, this is still far better than the previous film, and most of the Connery ones. Unfortunately that doesn't say much. The central plot certainly has merit, and could have worked if it had been done right.

What we needed was a stone cold face-off between two men at the height of their craft. The film should have been a series of increasingly intense duels, culminating in the ultimate mano-a-mano battle. That would have been a great film. But we get none of that here, instead we get a fumbling, bumbling story, where Bond's previous case, involving a new energy source, is suddenly linked to the assassin who, it turns out, had no idea about the threat against Bond, because he didn't send it! Scaramanga wasn't looking for Bond at all!

One could argue that the film fumbles the ball in the very first minute with the pre-credit introduction of Scaramanga. You see, one of his identifying marks is a third nipple. So of course we need a shot of a shirtless Christopher Lee with three nipples. There are few things less scary than the sight of a guy with three nipples, just saying. Next up we get to see how Scaramanga keeps sharp between jobs. Rather than a cool obstacle course that could push him to the max, physically, Scaramanga has created a ludicrous fun-house with mirrors and puppets, where he can lure other assassins in, confuse them, and kill them with ease. That's just dumb!

The rest of the film is hit and miss in terms of what works and what doesn't. Moore looks a little younger and a little less creepy than in the previous film, but once again demonstrates how inept he is in a close quarter fight. This guy is a trained agent? Really? One step forward, one step back.

The Secret Service's headquarters in the East is located in a half-sunken ship. The wreck is leaning to one side, but the interior has been modified to compensate for this, a really original and inspired piece of production design. Unfortunately the film also contains two incredibly unoriginal and uninspired action-scenes: A long boring fight at a karate school and another boat chase, virtually identical to the one in the previous film. One step forward, three steps back. And here's the real kicker. The utterly stupid redneck cop from the previous film is on vacation in China, and joins Bond in a car chase. Make it stop!

James Bond again comes off like a talentless playboy hack, a guy you wouldn't trust with a potato gun, much less matters of national security. In this film he even drops his freakin' gun at THE most crucial moment, and to make matters worse he doesn't even have the best gadget. That honor goes to Scaramanga, who can turn his car into an airplane!

We also learn a shocking, unpleasant truth about Bond. Turns out that 007 can't even hot-wire a car. What a prissy Brit.

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