By Marc S. Sanders

A View To A Kill marks Roger Moore’s final outing as James Bond 007, and it’s more or less a near complete failure. Quite possibly my least favorite film of the entire series, regardless of an awesome song, compliments of Duran Duran and composer John Barry.

The inspiration for invention is expired in this film. Action set pieces rely on outside elements that do nothing to spice up the scenes. Bond manages to surf away along the snow covered Swiss Alps, in place for Siberia, while evading the Russians. The surfing is one thing, but when accompanied with a lame cover of The Beach Boys’ “California Girls,” you earn every right to roll your eyes and shake your head.

An unnecessary sequence involves Bond dangling from the ladder of a fire truck while the San Francisco police are pursuing him. It’s slapstick, but it’s not funny slapstick. You just wanna yell at the screen “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?????”

A View To A Kill plays like a poor remake of What’s Up Doc? with Barbra Streisand & Ryan O’Neil. Bond eventually partners up with a former “Charlie’s Angel” and hijinx ensue. Tanya Roberts plays the Bond girl this time and her dialogue mainly consists of screaming “James!” as if she is in terrible, helpless fear. She hangs and runs and screams and stands and sits while keeping her flimsy white dress and heels spotless. There’s nothing adoring, funny or attractive about her. She lends nothing to the film but dead weight. A scene involving an elevator fire had me wishing Bond would leave her to perish. The term “dumb blond” must have been coined when Tanya Roberts came on the Hollywood scene. Her character, Stacy Sutton, appears unaware of any of her surroundings and more importantly Roberts, the actress seems to be that way as well.

Roger Moore carries almost no chemistry with any of the fellow actors, certainly not with Roberts, and I think it’s because he gave up trying by the time he got to his seventh Bond film. He moves slow. He looks out of breath as he climbs the stairs of the Eiffel Tower. His delivery carries little wit. He is found hanging from the the Golden Gate Bridge and utters the line “There’s never a cab around when you need one.” Moore seems to show that even he doesn’t think any of this is fun anymore.

Perhaps the one redeeming quality goes to Christopher Walken as the psychotic Max Zorin. It’s funny to watch Walken play this part all these years later as he shows qualities that movie goers would love in his later films like True Romance, The Rundown, and even Catch Me If You Can. Walken deserved better material than this (especially following his recent Oscar winning status at the time). Instead, he’s given a well-toned Grace Jones as an accomplice who falls nowhere near the ranks of Oddjob or Jaws.

Richard Maibum wrote the unclear script involving Zorin’s desire to wipe out Silicon Valley, and monopolize on the micro chip industry. At least that’s what I think the film was about. The story mires itself in an overlong side story involving drugging race horses snd I could never make the connection. Bond is given the opportunity to photograph various suspects involved with Zorin and then later in quick conversation they’re all explained of their purpose. Yet, I was just more confused and unsure of what was going on and how it’s all bridged together. I don’t think the plot was complex or confusing. Rather, I think the film was cursed with plot holes and little regard for coherence.

Roger Moore notoriously regretted doing this film. He had overstayed his welcome in the franchise by 1986 with A View To A Kill. Albert Broccoli with his new producing partner, Michael G. Wilson (his stepson and a co-writer) were getting stale with the series. At this point the Bond series was no longer relying on crafty, well edited and witty filmmaking.

Moore’s last film was just processed for another buck at the box office with little respect for the franchise.

007 was due for a change.

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