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ROGER MOORE IN THE SPACE-CRAZE ERA BOND 'MOONRAKER'

Roger Moore in MOONRAKER with Lois Chiles Year 1979 Rating ****

What's more ironic than the science-fiction James Bond MOONRAKER spending 90-minutes, the length of an average motion picture, on land... from England to California to Italy to Rio... before living up to its galactic promise, is that Lois Chiles' progressive ingenue demands respect for being a doctor... and her name is Goodhead, working for one of the more non-charming from the get-go heavies, Hugo Drax, played by French stage actor Michael Lonsdale... 

And when we're eventually thrust into space, the movie hits a bland, awkward wall... Not that the build-up lacks inside lunar gags: the audio code to enter a laboratory is from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS and the 2001 theme also turns up...

Roger Moore channels Clint Eastwood for MOONRAKER

But what happens down on Earth is pretty much everything, more or less a "modern" Western (the last film's LAWRENCE OF ARABIA theme replaced by THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN), despite the obvious attempt to bank on the success of the aforementioned Spielberg UFO flick and of course, the Hollywood game-changing STAR WARS.

As usual, Roger Moore does a good job being thrown around like a dapper rag doll, and gets out of a particularly memorable bind by using one of Q's more simple gadgets. Meanwhile, when the wise old tech wizard turns up at a rural outpost, it's a visual hoot, as usual... His test experiment collages are always highly anticipated and rarely disappoint.

Richard Kiel as Jaws in MOONRAKER

In-between continents, Bond's cable car fight with Richard Kiel's fan-favorite thug Jaws from THE SPY WHO LOVED ME is fun, neatly-timed and even thrilling and by the same director, Lewis Gilbert...

Although during the high-flying-parachute cold open, the once sinister menace basically gets turned into Wile E. Coyote, falling into a circus tent and surviving in a hilarious yet banal fashion, yet it's still great having him around...

Béatrice Libert is one of the perfect future girls in MOONRAKER

Overall MOONRAKER is a terrific action vehicle where the frantic gathering of clues surpasses the ultimate plan for world domination during a bloated third-act (the baddie uses a space station like the SPY WHO LOVED ME villain used his giant sea structure... seeking to repopulate the earth with perfect people, like French model Béatrice Libert), ultimately making the runtime about twenty-five minutes too long...

And it's not the Earth scenes that need trimming. In fact, a terrific boat chase, literally leading right up to the rocket ship launching pad, is where everything pretty much peaks. If only MOONRAKER were a jet plane instead of space shuttle.

Anne Lonnberg in MOONRAKER
The infamous Pigeon double-take from MOONRAKER
The Venice chase in MOONRAKER
Michael Lonsdale in MOONRAKER
The original iPhone in MOONRAKER
Corinne Cléry in MOONRAKER
Roger Moore with Michael Lonsdale in MOONRAKER
Irka Bochenkoin MOONRAKER
Bernard Lee's last turn as 'M' in MOONRAKER with Roger Moore
Béatrice Libert is one of the perfect future girls in MOONRAKER
Roger Moore in MOONRAKER
Roger Moore in MOONRAKER with Lois Chiles and Richard Kiel
Béatrice Libert in Moonraker
Béatrice Libert in Moonraker
Béatrice Libert in Moonraker bookended by Roger Moore and Michael Lonsdale
Roger Moore in a James Bond movie jam from MOONRAKER
Terrific set of MOONRAKER

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