IT'S THE ONE WHERE
A new type of microchip has fallen into the wrong hands. Bond is sent to Paris to investigate shady industrialist Max Zorin, who's not only connected to this case, but also to some less than honest shenanigans at the horse races.
Of course Bond flirts with Moneypenny, the secretary, he nails every broad with a pulse, including a handful of blondes, but more interestingly, Bond has his first gay experience... with Grace Jones. I don't think this is what they meant when they said "keep the British end up".
There's a chase through the Eiffel tower, a showdown with an airship at the Golden Gate bridge, and we finally get a freakin' decent title song with Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill"... Come on everybody: "Daaaaaaaance into the fire! That fatal kiss is all we neeeeeeed...!"
THE SECRET PLOT TO RULE THE WORLD AWARD GOES TO...
A blond Christopher Walken! He plays Max Zorin, who wants to control the entire world's production of microchips, and as part of his plan he wants to destroy Silicon Valley. He also cheats at horse racing. This one is diabolical.
Zorin's got a few interesting henchmen on his payroll, but the scariest one by far is Grace Jones. Shudder.
"Daaaaaaaance into the fire!" Sorry, had to do that one more time. Alright enough singing, let's get started on our final Bond adventure with Roger Moore.
A View to a Kill seems like a fairly simple, solid setup, but unsurprisingly Bond finds a way to muck it up again. Rather than conducting an investigation focused on the problem at hand - the microchips - Bond chooses to pose as a posh Brit (there's a stretch) and take a closer look at Zorin's passion for horse-racing. I say guvna, there must be something fishy going on here! Yes Bond, this horse-race thing definitely warrants every bit of your attention! Does anybody have 006 on speed-dial, so we can get the real case rolling?
The biggest problem with this film is that it's so underwhelming. The pre-credit sequence is another snowbound adventure, where Bond must escape while skiing, and it feels like we've done this 8 million times before! As for the insane bad guy who wants to corner a certain market, and does this by destroying the competition's supply... Isn't that more or less the plot of Goldfinger?
I guess I could see the movie working on some levels, if the filmmakers had put any kind of effort into the project. The Eiffel tower chase is sort of fun, but it's too brief. The following car chase is a rare inventive action set-piece, where Bond's car is destroyed piece by piece, but that sequence is also too brief. I could even see the whole "destroying the chips"-plan working, but why make it so cumbersome and complicated? In the final showdown Bond is trying to stop a bomb that will blow a hole in an old mine, which will release some water, which will cause an earthquake, which will destroy Silicon Valley and all the microchip companies, so Zorin can take over the market. Phew.
Keep it simple: Bomb will destroy Silicon Valley. Period. That's all you need. Come up with a clever way to place the bomb, give Bond an interesting mission to destroy it, raise the stakes by putting people we care about in harms way. Then it might have worked.
At least we finally get a really interesting actor playing the bad guy. Unfortunately Christopher Walken chews up the scenery like there's no tomorrow. Maybe he was just too young back then, if they had hired him today he would have walked away with the entire movie, before Roger Moore had time to put down his tea cup. Solid support from Patrick Macnee (of The Avengers fame) and Patrick Bauchau (from The Pretender and Panic Room) keeps the movie interesting, though. Even Alison Doody (that's the girl from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) shows up for a few scenes, and if you blink you'll miss a brief glimpse of a young Dolph Lundgren.
The best moment of A View to a Kill, though, comes in the final showdown, and features a young woman who's so blond the bad guy actually manages to sneak up on her and capture her... IN A FREAKIN' AIRSHIP! That must be the biggest laugh of the franchise so far. Not sure it was supposed to be.
And so we close the book on Roger Moore. I can't say I'll miss him. With him James Bond went from being an incompetent charmeur, to being an incompetent buffoon, and at 58 even Roger Moore knew he was getting too old for this sh*t. Too bad the producers didn't. Time to take a break from 007 now, but when we return to the series we'll be asking the REAL James Bond to stand up, please.