“The Man With the Golden Gun”
Bond: Roger Moore
Classic, Cheese or Crap?: CRAP
Oh, Bond. How you hurt me so sometimes.
This movie is the first I selected as crap for a reason.
I think my biggest problem with it is that it shouldn’t. It stars Christopher Lee as the main villain, and Hervé Villechaize as his henchman. I mean, you’re halfway there!! So many Bond movies stink just because the villain wasn’t good enough. But with these two guys? It should have been a lock!!
Unfortunately, it wasn’t.
Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga is a world-class assassin who wishes to take on the legendary James Bond out of pride. Bond is considered one of the deadliest men on the planet, thus, in order to cement his own reputation as an assassin, Scaramanga plans to kill him, using his trademark Golden Gun. Which, right there… THAT would have been a good Bond plot. I can see that. That would be plenty to motivate the villain, put Bond in jeopardy, you could create a ton of action sequences off of it and even some cool interpersonal stuff between Bond and the villain.
But I can just hear some exec somewhere saying, “It’s not big enough! Where’s the danger to the World?”
Because someone, somewhere, took that root story (from the book) and added in the fact that Scaramanga’s servant Knick Knack swiped a “Solar Agitator” off of one of his victims. This device is not only reportedly the key to the future of mass-produced solar energy, but a device that can also be weaponized. So now not only is Scaramanga the world’s greatest hitman, but he has a device which could be the key to the world’s energy issues, and a weapon of mass destruction.
Studio Exec, “There you go!! NOW we’ve got some motivation!!”
Noooo… now we have some ridiculousness.
Which could be fine, you know, I’ve learned to tolerate a lot of ridiculous nonsense when it comes to Bond villains and their plots. Except the rest of the movie isn’t supported by any of the other elements I love about Bond.
The action scenes are pretty tired, with one notable exception. They pull this stunt where they jump an AMC Hornet over a small river, only the ramp it jumps off of causes the car to corkscrew in mid-air prior to landing on the other side. It SHOULD be one of the most awesome moments in the Bond franchise, it really IS an incredible stunt. The problem is, as the stunt happens, they use a slide whistle sound effect and completely ruin the scene. Slow-mo, car in mid-air and “Ooooooh-whoooop”. SO $&%#&$ing dumb. Stupid $&#$ @#&#($@.
How about Sacaramanga’s superfluous nipple? Did I mention that one? LOL. Apparently he has three nipples, so Bond tries to pose as him at one point by pasting a fake nipple on his chest. (Shaking my head)
Or that Bond triumphs in the end by posing as a “Bond Mannequin” that Scaramanga had in his training area. World’s greatest assassin, but he can’t tell the difference between a mannequin and a person. Oh, and they show the mannequin early on, and your immediate thought is “Oh, so Bond is going to hide at some point by pretending to be the mannequin”. (Shaking my head)
As far as the “Bond Girl”? Britt Ekland is as vapid a piece of arm candy as Bond has ever sported. She does nothing for me on any level. They also reintroduce Sherriff JW Pepper, who may not be outright racist, but its hard to hear someone use the word “Boi” as often as he does and NOT think he’s a bigot.
This movie also features, hands down, the WORST theme song in the franchise. Just… no argument possible. “The Man With The Golden Gun”, by Lulu (Whoever that is) was the only Bond theme song single that didn’t chart in either the US or UK. Legendary Bond composer John Barry is quoted as saying, “It’s the one I hate most… it just never happened for me.”
Finally, you’ll probably figure out soon enough that I’m not a big fan of Moore as Bond in general. If you spend some time surfing Bond forums, I’m sure you’ll come across the phrase “He was my Bond growing up” more than once to discuss whichever Bond they’re referring to. Well, Moore was MY Bond growing up, and I couldn’t wait until they got rid of him.
In the end though, that may be less of an indictment of him, and more a function of the fact that he was stuck in crapfests like this one.
This movie is one of the worst Bond films of all time, and an absolute nightmare if someone were to select a random Bond film to try to get into the franchise with. Stay away at all costs! For hardcore aficionados only!