007, 1980's, A View to a Kill, Christopher Walken, Desmond Llewelyn, Fiona Fullerton, Grace Jones, James Bond, John Glen, Lois Maxwell, Patrick Macnee, Robert Brown, Roger Moore, Spy, Tanya Roberts, Walter Gotell, Willoughby Grey
A View to a Kill
- Roger Moore as James Bond
- Christopher Walken as Max Zorin
- Tanya Roberts as Stacey Sutton
- Grace Jones as May Day
- Patrick Macnee as Sir Godfrey Tibbett
- Willoughby Grey as Dr Carl Mortner
- Fiona Fullerton as Pola Ivanova
- Robert Brown as M
- Desmond Llewelyn as Q
- Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny
- Walter Gotell as General Gogol
Roger Moore finally bowed out of the role of 007 with A View to a Kill, which was his record seventh appearance as the spy. Whilst there are parts that are entertaining, it isn’t really a worthy farewell to the Moore era. Octopussy would have been a much better swan song for Moore to go out on than this underwhelming effort that ranks as one of the weaker Bond entries.
After discovering a microchip on the body of a fellow agent who was killed in Siberia and narrowly escaping, MI6’s best agent James Bond investigates the case. The chip leads him to Max Zorin, an industrialist with the microchip business as well as horse racing. The seemingly respectable Zorin is actually a psychopath, who along with his loyal but deadly assistant and lover May Day,was the result of a biological test by Dr Carl Mortner, a Nazi doctor . 007 traces Zorin from Ascot, then Paris and for the grand finale San Francisco, where the full extent of Zorin’s scheme comes into a disturbing light. Aided first by fellow MI6 agent Godfrey Tibbett and later by geologist Stacey Sutton, who has history with Zorin, Bond attempts to foil the twisted psychopath’s dastardly plan to flood Silicon Valley and gain a monopoly on the world microchip market. Coming up against the fearsome May Day and other cronies of Zorin’s along with many life and death situations, Bond knows the mission is going to be far from easy if he is to successfully take down this psychopath.
Part of the problem with Moore’s last entry is the overuse of comedy that detracts from many effective sequences. I don’t mind a bit of humour in the Bond movies, but here it just goes overboard with it and never really recovers. Other entries have successfully combined humour, suspense and action, but A View to a Kill doesn’t fall into that category. John Glen is once again in the director’s chair, but his touch isn’t as assured as it has been and A View to a Kill isn’t glowing in terms of greatness. The fact also is that Roger Moore looks too old for the part now and the suspension in disbelief of him as 007 really waned with this entry, which proved to be his last. With those negatives out of the way, here come the positives. The locations used are once again stunning, from the snows of Siberia, the finery of a French Chateau to the use of San Francisco in sun-bathed glory as Bond attempts to stop Zorin and his plan. John Barry is thankfully on hand to compose the beautiful score, which harks back to the classic Bond feel and succeeds in giving this entry something worthy of praise. Duran Duran provide the electrifying title song, which marries 80’s rock riffs with classic strings and the result is impressive. The title sequence has a rebellious edge, with seductive women sporting Mohawks and neon-body paint.
Although he still has style and panache, Roger Moore is just too old for the role in his last installment. Which is a real shame as he had made the role his own and deserved much better material for his final entry as 007. Christopher Walken is an inspired choice for the role of Zorin and he plays him with unhinged menace, cunning smile and odd sense of humour. Tanya Roberts may be gorgeous to look at but her role isn’t the best example of a Bond girl and the character of Stacey is just not that interesting. It’s hard to take her seriously as a geologist and her constant screaming for help really does become annoying after a while. Far more effective is Grace Jones as the villainous May Day, Zorin’s sidekick and deadly weapon. Jones imbues May Day with an unusually intimidating demeanor, brute strength and an Amazonian glamour, which really makes her an excellent female villain to add to the series. Patrick Macnee contributes old-school wit and upper-crust knowledge as a fellow MI6 agent, but Willoughby Grey is too over the top to be believable as the crazed doctor whose experiments resulted in Zorin and May Day. Briefly appearing but oozing sex appeal is Fiona Fullerton as a KGB honey trap who tries to outsmart Bond on his mission. Robert Brown and Desmond Llewelyn are respectively great as M and Q. Lois Maxwell signs off in style as Moneypenny and her contribution to the series can really be felt in her last outing as the loyal secretary. Walter Gotell is back as Gogol, this time helping MI6 in their pursuit of Zorin as he was once a member of the KGB who has decided to go renegade.
So despite some moments of greatness, A View to a Kill sadly ranks as an unworthy way for Roger Moore to bow out on.