films seen
4
average score
2.50*
nationality
status
Alive and kicking
more info

The inoffensive

The Man with the Golden Gun

1974 / 125m - UK
Action, Adventure
3.0*/5.0*
The Man with the Golden Gun poster

A fun Bond flick that fully leans into the silliness. This is pretty much what I expect a good Bond film to deliver. Goofy characters, shabby underground lairs, strange lasers and a handful of explosive action scenes. It also helps that the exotic locations give the film that little extra flair.

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Bond takes on a more personal assignment. He's being challenged by Scaramanga, a man who kills for pleasure. Locating him won't be so easy, but it doesn't take too long before Bond has a good lead on where he can find him. His journey will eventually take him to Thailand, where he also has to take Hai Fat, a wealthy businessman.

Moore looks a lot more comfortable playing Bond, Hamilton directs as if it was the last Bond he'd ever make (and it was), the villains are fun, the different locations keep it interesting and the camp levels spike through the roof. Even the relatively long runtime wasn't a bother, with so much going on. Good fun.

Worthy but flawed

Live and Let Die

1973 / 121m - UK
Action, Adventure, Thriller
2.5*/5.0*
Live and Let Die poster

The first James Bond film with Roger Moore. I needed a little time to get used to Moore, I'm sure Moore also needed some time to grow into his part. Veteran director Guy Hamilton was there to make sure the franchise kept its signature feel and that's pretty much the bottom line of Live and Let Die.

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Bond is sent to America to deal with a drug baron. He is kidnapped by a black gang who have roots in voodoo culture, which makes for a rather ominous start to the film. Once the back and forth between Bond and his enemies starts though it turns pretty goofy, which was quite the relief.

The start isn't all that great and Moore needed a little time to settle into his character, but the action scenes are some of the best in the series (the boat chase in particular stands out) and the second half is plenty cheesy (Bond jumping on crocodiles to cross a pond). The US setting isn't that exciting and the Bond girls are rather plain, but in the end this was pretty amusing.

Goldfinger

1964 / 110m - UK
Action, Adventure
2.5*/5.0*
Goldfinger poster

After seeing From Russia with Love, a more serious Bond rendition, I was a bit afraid that the franchise wasn't going to revisit the goofier tone of its first part anymore. Luckily I was wrong. Goldfinger harks back to James Bond's silly roots and even adds some nonsense of its own.

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Goldfinger brings back the underground bases, the lasers and the goofy gadgets. Then there's the larger than life characters like Goldfinger and Pussy Galore, who leave very little to the imagination. Sure enough this is a suave spy flick, but please don't take it too seriously.

The effects are pretty crud though and the action isn't very dynamic. In a way it adds to the charm, on the other hand it takes away some of the fun. Performances are decent though and the tone is pleasantly light. Goldfinger is decent and amusing enough to keep exploring the Bond franchise, but great cinema this is not.

Dubious filler

Diamonds Are Forever

1971 / 120m - UK
Action, Adventure
2.0*/5.0*
Diamonds Are Forever poster

I expected a little more from this one. It was good to see Connery return to the Bond franchise and Hamilton had directed my favorite entry so far, so the signs were good. But the first 70s Bond felt a bit lifeless and uninspired, as if they were simply rehashing past successes without too much conviction.

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With Bond's archenemy gone, he is assigned a simpler job. Bond has to take care of a shipment of diamonds, which he needs to keep out of the hands of notorious smugglers. With a little help from his crew (and his token female companions), Bond travels around the world to keep the diamonds safe.

Maybe it's me who's getting a little tired of the formula, maybe the actors and directors felt like they'd all done it before. Amsterdam and Las Vegas aren't the most inspiring locations either. There's a little fun to be had here, but overall I think a film like Goldfinger was a lot kookier and crazier. Let's hope Moore can reinvigorate the series.