James Bond: Classic, Cheese or Crap? – “The Man With the Golden Gun”

“The Man With the Golden Gun”

1974

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.

It sucks.

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.

*Sigh*

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 $&#$ @#&#($@.

Whatever.

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!

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12 thoughts on “James Bond: Classic, Cheese or Crap? – “The Man With the Golden Gun”

      • Damn you’re good :P Yeah, it’s Diamonds Are Forever and A View To A Kill.

        What pisses me off the most about Diamonds is the fact that it could have been amazing. The way On Her Majesty’s Secret Service ends sets up what could have been the most interesting and emotional story for the next film. But instead, we got, well, I won’t bother, I know you’ll get into it eventually.

        I’m greatly enjoying this series.

      • Well, not really. I mean those are the only three left that really suck worthy of being last. So unless something really bugged you about one of the others, those are the only three that made sense.

        Diamonds is crap, but fortunately it’s the only crap in the original Connery 6.

        Next time out I’ll be doing the first one on the Brosnan era… And I know I have some opinions there that differ from the herd.

  1. OK, if there is such a thing as 007 Crap, this is it. You have already pointed out the unnecessary energy device plot point. Just to show how stupid it is, the whole complex and the technology is managed by Scaramanga, Knick Knack, and a monosyllabic goon who gets bested by the stupidest Bond Girl ever. Secret Fortress Infiltrated:Check, Macguffin Recovered: Check, Army of Enemy Henchmen Defeated: Whaaat?

    I liked the boat chase through the Thai harbor villages, running the boat through the pursuer was a good shot. Absolutely correct on the amazing corkscrew stunt, that special effect was thrown away with the pennywhistle sound effect. The third nipple is used just to get some cheap jokes in.

    The locations look truly spectacular, so the settings are fine, but what gets put into those settings seems to have little rhyme or reason. For instance, the statues coming to life in the gardens, when all the while there was never going to be a killing of Bond in that location, and how the hell do you get ready for that?

    The theme song is a mess but it was a fun mess. Lulu, a pop star in England, Star of To Sir With Love (Her biggest Hit) ex-wife of Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees, had a big brassy voice but not much control over it. The chorus just sounds like they had to get the movie title in, repeatedly. I like that it is almost a story song, but it is not a very well told story. Definitely Crap in the theme song department.

    Next to the Astin Martin with ejector seat though, the one prop I would most like to have from the Bond films is the Golden Gun that is assembled from a cigarette case, a lighter and a fountain pen and cufflink. There is a replica available, and the next time I have five hundred bucks I was just going to spend on food anyway, I may plop it down on that.

    • I might want to own THE “Golden Gun” too. That is probably one of the best Bond props ever, right?

      Aside from that, this movie stank. One of my least favorites, by a mile… you reiterated all of the things I hate about it… I just cant support it.

      Didnt stop me from pulling the trigger on the “Bond 50″ Blu Ray set with all 22 movies though. :D Just ordered it a few minutes ago!!

      • Can’t wait for mine to show up, just got to drop that hint a dozen more times to my family. I’m not allowed to buy anything that might be a Christmas gift so I have to wait. Please tell me we will get a review of the set when it comes.

      • Maybe…? Probably nothing official, but during “Bond Month”, I’m sure I’ll be letting everyone know during the course of discussions one way or the other. :D

        I dunno. Maybe. It’s actually not a bad idea…

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