IT'S THE ONE WHERE
A British and a Russian submarine disappear without a trace. The worst part is: They were carrying nuclear missiles. James Bond is dispatched to investigate how the subs' tracking systems were compromised. Meanwhile his Russian counterpart, the gorgeous and deadly Major Anya Amasova aka Agent Triple X, has received a similar mission. Though they initially work against each other, eventually the two agents must pool their resources to discover the culprit.
Of course Bond flirts with Moneypenny, the secretary, he nails every broad with a pulse, including a gorgeous conniving blond, an Egyptian chick, plus the aforementioned major. To add drama to the mix Bond also nails the major's lover in the pre-credit sequence, though in an entirely different meaning of the word.
This is the film that features the coolest gadget Bond ever possessed. The sexy white Lotus, which can turn into a submarine at the push of a button.
THE SECRET PLOT TO RULE THE WORLD AWARD GOES TO...
Sinister industrialist Karl Stromberg, who wants to cause a nuclear war, so we'll all be forced to live under water. Easy for him to say, he's safely hidden away in his spider-looking submersible headquarters. Did I mention he's also got a tank with a shark in it?
This movie also marks the first appearance of the henchman Jaws. He's the giant with the metal teeth.
The first act of The Spy Who Loved Me is rather shaky. The usual clumsy Bond investigation we're used to. Badly written, badly staged, just bad. There's a scene were Bond and the major sneak into the back of a bad guy's van. While they're waiting for the car to reach its destination they sit casually and talk in completely normal voices! Weren't they supposed to be hiding? Isn't the bad guy sitting 6 feet away, within earshot? It doesn't help the film that the credit sequences at this point have become almost laughable. Naked ladies prancing around are hard to mess up, but credit designer Maurice Binder manages to do so. Some of these images are beyond Austin Powers absurd.
There's also too much humor in the first part of the movie. Here's the thing about humor in an action movie: It's very tricky to get right. If done wrong it can seriously undercut the action-scenes, so you no longer fear for the character's lives. Plus, this type of humor is rarely all that funny to begin with, because we're not dealing with a real comedy.
When the major and Bond are forced to join up the plot slowly begins to make sense. They finally find themselves face to face with the bad guy, and they learn about his preposterous plan, and we get a clear idea about the scope of the story. This confirms my point that Bond is far better suited for these types of international crises, where the stakes are really high, because even though Stromberg's plan is rather childish, we get the sense that he most definitely will succeed, and that it will be VERY bad for all of us, if Bond can't stop him.
The Spy Who Loved Me feels like a big movie, and it looks big too. Stromberg's HQ is just massive. When seen from the outside we're treated to some very impressive model shots, while the inside of the craft must have been one of the biggest sets constructed at the time. Even the action-scenes work in this film, especially a rather inventive car chase, where Bond and the major are being chased by every motorized transportation know to man.
Roger Moore has stepped up his game this time around, he looks way more serious, and it's clear that Bond understands the gravity of the situation. Don't get me wrong, he's still got time to flirt, but he doesn't seem quite as distracted as he was during past missions. The scene where he must dismantle a nuclear missile while a tight deadline is looming is a showstopper. Moore's third outing in the 007 universe is not only watchable, but one of the best entries of the series so far, even though it takes a while before it really gets going. The film eventually finds its footing, and a solid one at that. The action sequences are cool, the story works, and for the first time we can take James Bond seriously as a secret agent.
A funny moment occurs at the end of the credits: "James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only", it says. Actually, no. Star Wars was released the same year as this movie, so the Bond producers had to cash in on the moviegoers' fascination with space. 007's next adventure would take him to the stars.