The Man with the Golden Gun

James Bond(Rodger Moore) has been marked for death!  After receiving a golden bullet with James Bond’s code “007” etched into its surface signifying that he is a target of assassin Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) M (Bernard Lee) forces 007 to go on leave until the matter is resolved.  Bond sets off unofficially to track down Francisco Scaramanga, a Million a shot contract killer dubbed “The Man with the Golden Gun” due to his weapon of choice. Enlisting the aid of sensuous Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland) Bond is tossed into a lethal game of cat-and-mouse, as he evades the killer on his trail.  However Bond must also Bond contend with Scaramanga’s exotic lover Andrea Anders (Maud Adams), and Nick Nack (Herve Villechaize), whose small size belies his lethal abilities.

Based on the 1965novel “The Man with the Golden Gun” by Ian Fleming which was published a year after his death by his heirs.  After Live and Let Die audiences and critics alike responded enthusiastically to Rodger Moore as James Bond and walking into his second run as 007 he was already well established.  The comedic approach that characterized much of the Rodger Moore era is more apparent here than ever.  Sheriff Pepper (Clifton James) returns who is awesome character but the real head palm moment is when an awesome stunt ruined by a corny sound effect.  It was almost as if Bond was poking fun at itself.  The slapstick is slowed only by the presence of Christopher Lee as Scaramanga, the world’s deadliest assassin. He brings a sense of wickedness to his killer-for-hire and picks up a pace that Bond sadly is lacking in.  Knick Knack played by  Herve Villechieze though not threatening is a fun memorable sidekick with lots of playful wickedness, a sort of intelligent OddJob if you will.   The Man with the Golden Gun theme song “The Man with the Golden Gun” was performed by Lulu, composed by John Barry, and the lyrics to the song were written by Don Black. Not by favourite of the theme tunes but you do find yourself humming it.

Why did I choose this movie, while it may not be the best Bond movie, but it is far from the worst and there is a good deal to enjoy. Scaramanga for example is one of the best villains Bond has been up against in quite some time, the assassin for hire is a bastardised reflection Bonds licence to kill. Scaramanga actually has a healthy respect for Bond and speculates that the two have a lot in common, even if Bond does not like to admit it.  This statement allows Bond to portray once again the Double Zero agent who kills out of necessity rather than sport as Scaramanga does, a fact that Moore’s Bond has been keen to emphasize.  In fact Bond only kills one person in the whole movie.  The banter between Bond, humourless M (Bernard Lee), the grumpy Q (Desmond Llewelyn), and the ever-faithful Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) are scenes that always make me smile.  I will admit that there are some silly concepts here, the Solex is one of the most pathetic plot devices in the history of bond so far, inspired by the energy crisis of the 70’s it just makes no sense at all.  Some of the humour is border lining on silly pun and the use of sound effects on one of the best stunts seen so far just abolished the wonder of the whole experience. It is not Bond at his best but it is enjoyable fun a little silly and far from the worst!….James Bond will return in The Spy Who Loved Me.

 My Rating: C
Format: DVD
I Own This Movie
Artwork by: The Minimal Bond


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