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Written by / 11/07/2015 / No comments / , , , , , , , ,

MOORE BOND TWO KUNG FU 'THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN'

Roger Moore in The Man With The Golden Gun YEAR: 1974
Gary Oldman in SPECTRE describes 007 as a kite in a thunderstorm, which doesn't fit headstrong Daniel Craig, Timothy Dalton or Sean Connery...

That kind of vulnerability is what Roger Moore brought to the franchise: a freewheeling dapper suit who bobbed around, depending on the proverbial weather i.e. villains, henchman, good or bad dames, and whatever else got thrown in his direction: always along for the ride, second-fiddle to the creative gadgets and perpetual mayhem...

And going back to the first two Roger Moore Bond flicks, before the spectacular SPY WHO LOVED ME genuinely cemented the former SAINT star into the Ian Fleming super-spy, keep in mind that a few low-budget genres... what could even be considered Drive-In flicks... were immensely popular, and seemed to have been intentionally injected into the franchise to get it restarted after Sean Connery only quit, twice...

Britt Eckland, Bond Girl
Moore's debut, LIVE AND LET DIE, was basically a blaxploitation flick with a rural car and boat chase thrown in while this second venture is a cross between a modern Western, including a two-man tropical island outpost shootout/showdown in the beginning and end (controlled by the villain's manipulating sidekick midget, Hervé Villechaize as Nick Nack)... All the while taking full advantage of the previous year's karate craze, ignited from the late Bruce Lee's ENTER THE DRAGON...

Some of the best scenes, centered in Hong Kong and Thailand, occurs when Moore karate-chops thugs in a rural lair being taken over by Christopher Lee's Scaramanga, who, trying to look and act the Bond persona, is a highly paid maverick assassin stylistically wielding his golden gun with golden bullets, and he's literally worth a million dollars for each score: And whatever his target happens to be is important to the flowing plot and ultimately leads to that island's solar device that can... as usual... help this madman control the world... or something like that...

Of course, Bond has a golden bullet with his name on it, and what truly carries GUN is the villain saving his best would-be victim for last; even admitting that slaying Bond anytime before a secretly planned showdown-duel would have been "ridiculously easy." Meanwhile, what's left over from the previous LIVE AND LET DIE continues with a similar boat chase and a follow-up car chase: bringing back a now-vacationing white trash hillbilly Sheriff played by character-actor Clifton James, jovially goofing it up and not really fitting in this time around...

Score: ****1/2
On the female side of things, holding more significance than the faithfully thankless Britt Ekland (and her perfect bikini body), sneaking around within a dangerous, suspenseful maze, is future OCTOPUSSY Maud Adams as the guilt-ridden, ambiguous vixen caught between both men: taking a major risk right when the plot starts to thicken.

Autographed by Maud Adams and Britt Ekland
So while THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN never lets up with what made the entire Moore era so splendid...

A handing-off of non-stop action sequences grooving the plot into endless directions... and each time you watch never exactly remembering what happens when... it's also the most personal and basic 007: An extravaganza masquerading as a low budget rollercoaster ride. Perhaps negative reviews of this and LIVE AND LET DIE don't appreciate (or, dare it be said, failed to comprehend) the aspect of playing to audiences who were more into gritty crime flicks than the brainy, page-turning espionage of the Cold War 1960's, when Mr. Connery reigned.

Hervé Villechaize oversees the final duel, and is actually rooting for...
At this point, in the early seventies, the youth culture was grounded into a breezy EASY RIDER/SHAFT mode sans an immense fear of the Atomic Bomb (that would continue cinematically in the eighties)...

So while journeying back to the primal Bond double feature, leading to the sublime and streamlined, big budget SPY WHO LOVED ME, you might want to brush up on particular Drive-In genres before taking anything too seriously in a franchise that's still taken seriously, to this very day, while Moore is often blamed for ruining a character he championed for over a decade.
Suspend disbelief as Roger Moore goes kung fu against masters of kung fu!
Roger Moore's James Bond and a gigantic microphone or... something about solar power
The ridicuously gorgeous Maud Adams in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN
Showering our praise on the lovely Maud Adams in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN
Maud Adams, Christopher Lee and Hervé Villechaize in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN
A car trick bought by the studio, pulled off in the Astrodome and computerized onto this location
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