Two films in sees Roger Moore settling into his role as Bond and the franchise is slowly removing itself from it's own history. Moore's debut was a blaxploitation flick. The Man With The Golden Gun is a kung fu jolly. Enter The Dragon this is not. It's as if the producers saw David Niven in Casino Royale, thought it was a good idea and then went zeitgeist shopping. Playing Bond for laughs is not a good look. Eight films ago we had the tension and suspense of Crab Key, now we have Thailand and bad white wine.
The Man With The Golden Gun is a film that could have delivered so much more but all the promise is lost under the sound of a penny whistle. The whole thing is as crooked as M's office on the part submerged Queen Elizabeth.
|Only one thing could improve this stunt.....a comedy sound effect!|
We begin with Dracula playing a game of cat and mouse with a gangster from Diamonds Are Forever in a fun house in the Far East. Yes, it's as daft as it sounds. Dracula, now reincarnated as trick shot making Fransisco Scaramanga is said to be the world's best assassin and charges $1 million a job. Dr Evil would be proud. He even has a midget as a butler/companion. The 70s were so ridiculously un-PC. The pre credit sequence ends with Scaramanga shooting the fingers off a wax work of 007. Such attention to detail of your supposed foe borders on fetish. To stop us dwelling on these thoughts we have Lulu caterwauling the worst Bond theme so far. Presumably Don Black had been watching Carry On films as lyrical inspiration.
Lulu's theme sets the tone for the film as we now see Bond abandon wit and charm in favour of smut. M summons Bond to his office and confronts him with a golden bullet with 007 etched on it. Apparently Bond is now a target for Scaramanga. The background is rife with mumbles of an energy crisis and a missing scientist who has a Solex device that will create free energy and yet Bond is dispatched to Beirut where an encounter with a stripper is his first clue on the hunt for Scaramanga. I say 'stripper' with a shudder. Her (only) charm is the golden bullet she keeps as a memento of one of Bond's colleagues. In tawdry fashion Bond recovers the bullet and returns to Q whose analysis identifies the bullet's manufacturer. This screams the question 'why not use the bullet sent to M, why go to Beirut at all?' Q snootily and rather brilliantly identifies Lazar as the bullet's maker and Bond is off for a snoop around Macao as he gets a step closer to Scaramanga. The missing link is
The story begins to come together as we see missing solar scientist Gibson get his outside a strip club. Scaramanga, it seems, is quite a good shot. Scaramanga has been hired by the Chinese businessman Hai Fat to remove Gibson and keep the Solex agitator off the market. Handily Hai Fat is believed to have never clapped eyes on Scaramanga by Bond. Quite how this logic works is beyond me. If I was splashing out a million I'd want to meet the bloke doing my dirty work. The twisted logic allows Bond to attempt to impersonate Scaramanga in a meeting with Hai Fat. He just needs Q Branch to rustle him up a fake third nipple. Don't ask.
It turns out that Hai Fat has, in fact, met Scaramanga and is positively in cahoots with him. This results in Bond's disguise being rumbled. Hai Fat decides the best form of execution is to send Bond to a martial arts school and let him get roughed up by some kids. We scan the background the hidden lasers, poisoned darts, anything to no avail. Hai Fat seriously thinks a bit of kung fu will do the job. The pathetic nature of this scheme is compounded by Bond's escape. He jumps out of a window and into a boat. The marine based chase echoes Live And Let Die right up to it's inclusion of Sherriff J W Pepper. Oh yes, he's back. Is it just a cameo? Is it balls.
|More realistic than the flying car|
Wherever could Scaramanga have escaped too? Have no fear, Goodnight had a tracking device about her person. Naturally Bond homes in on this signal and follows it to the film's conclusion. Scaramanga's private island has been converted into a solar power generator and he wants to sell the technology to the highest bidder. Oil companies will buy it to keep it off the market whilst governments will want it to provide free energy for their countries. Apparently. Not content with completely renewable energy the solar technology also comes with a massive laser gun as a bonus. Before he cashes in on the Solex he decides to challenge Bond to a duel.
|I want one, you know you do too|
James Bond will return as Roger Moore attempts to better Connery's Jacques Cousteau impression.