James Bond Retrospective: Review of A VIEW TO A KILL

(I am a pretty huge James Bond fan, so with the new SKYFALL coming out November 9th, I thought it would be cool to re-watch every Bond movie and review them on the site, counting down the days until the latest one is released)

I saw this in the theater when I was almost 9.  I remember liking it quite a bit and watched it a few times when it first came out on video as well.  I went back to re-watch it in 2006, and discovered that it was actually a pretty bad movie.  Well, after watching the dreadful NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, the notion of A VIEW TO A KILL was kind of promising.  Let’s hope that I could at least enjoy it as a guilty pleasure.

Okay, so… the plot.  It’s kind of hard to follow, to be honest.  Bond is assigned to go to a horse stable to find out about some microchip being inserted into horses, therefore making them stronger and faster.  Then he finds out that a crazy rich guy named Zorn is behind all this, who also has a horrific looking henchwoman named May Day.  007 discovers that Zorn’s plan is to take out Silicone Valley.  Oh yeah, there’s also some helpless blonde bimbo played by Tanya Roberts floating around.

The pre-title sequence starts out promising, as Bond steals a microchip in what appears to be Antarctica, or somewhere else snowy.   We get a ski chase that has some neat stunts, but doesn’t really generate any tension.  It doesn’t help matters that John Barry’s score is rudely interrupted by The Beach Boys’ California Girls as 007 snowboards his way to safety.  That’s fucking stupid!  So yeah, he escapes to a submarine which has some slut on board.  The two begin making out as the awesome title track by Duran Duran pops on.  This is probably one of my favorite Bond songs, and it’s a neat title sequence too.

Well, after watching it again, I can say that it’s actually worse than I remembered.  This is NOT a good movie.  It’s pretty damn awful.  After the opening, we get a pretty first half, which consists of Bond going undercover as an interested buyer of horses.  He goes to Zorn’s place and stakes it out.  Oh yeah, there’s also a chase that has Bond going after May Day (after she killed a guy with butterflies with hooks in them…. yah!) on the Eiffell Tower.  Then the car chase right after than is pretty embarrassing as they do a really bad job disguising Moore’s stunt doubles.  They didn’t even bother.  Some of the doubles are shorter, fatter, have different hair colors and styles.  It’s pretty distracting.

The movie is just lazy all around.  I can’t think of one action scene that was well done.  The fire truck scene was pretty lame, but I did like the moment when Bond carries Tanya Roberts down from a burning building, but that’s mainly due to John Barry’s awesome score at that particular moment.  But besides that, there’s nothing of serious value here.  However, there are some moments that one could enjoy because they’re unintentionally funny.  Like the Blimp fight over the Golden Gate bridge.  Or that horse race with everyone on Horseback starts throwing elbows at each other!  There’s some silly stuff going on there.

Roger Moore should have called it quits after FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, but he still went on the make 2 more.  This one is certainly HIS worst.  He still seems to have a bit of that charm, but all credibility of him as an action hero goes out the window if you actually have eyes and can see what he looks like.  He’s old and tired looking.  I mean, he was almost 60.  It’s also hard to buy him as a womanizer as his sex appeal is clearly diminishing.  Moore does what he can, which isn’t much.  Christopher Walken as Zorn should have been much better.  There are a few “Walken” moments to be found (love it when he’s shooting his employees while he’s laughing, and when he quotes, “…To a kill.”, I let out a chuckle.  And his death is pretty funny, or at least his reaction to it.  But his character isn’t written all that well.  Grace Jones….. what can I say about her.  She’s a bad actress, looks awful and May Day is just a poorly conceived character.  Maybe some get the pleasure out of watching her dominate Bond in the bedroom, but not me.  It’s pretty nauseating.  Tanya Roberts has pretty eyes…. and that’s it.  Horrible character and a horrible performance.

Director John Glen started off his run at the series really well, but his last 2 have just been bad.  The direction is boring, as there’s just no energy to any scene.  The plot is kind of hard to follow, or maybe I just stopped caring early on, so I just wasn’t paying enough attention.  Whatever.  The only good thing I can really say about the movie is that John Barry’s score is a welcome return to form (after the disappointing OCTOPUSSY).  It’s not the best composing he’s done for the series, but there’s some good moments in there.

The more I think about it, the more I hate it.  I really can’t find anything good to say about it.  As an unintentional comedy, it does work and I did laugh quite a bit.  But this is Bond!  We’re supposed to have a kick-ass time, not rolling our eyes at retarded things.  This time around, 007 is a paunchy old man looking like he needs to retire.  The film has little energy, thrills or fun, which is essential for a Bond film.  The series has now reached an all time low.  ★ (out of ★★★★)

- Rated PG for some pretty strong violence (a guy gets chopped up by an underwater propeller!), and some sexuality/innuendos.  Would be PG13 today (which is funny since that rating was around by 1985).

- Running time: 2hrs 10min.

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Categories: Austin Kennedy, DVD/Blu-ray Reviews, Reviews

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3 replies

  1. A preview of the 1985 podcast?

    And yeah, it’s terrible. The only thing I like is the theme song. A poor yet overdue close to the Roger Moore era.

  2. I think this is the worst Bond film. I just cant decide whether Skyfall is the best. I mean my 9 year old sat through that and liked it (even though it was 2 and a half hours) I still rate the spy who loved me just for the car.

  3. I do not believe Octopussy to be as bad a movie as you make it, but this film definitely was better off not being made. Agreed on the stupid pre-title sequence, this film was terrible, not a real Bond film, worst women and villain of all time. Disappointing conclusion of Moore and movie. Look forward to Dalton. And sorry, but that theme song for this film is so cheesy and surely not one of the best.

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