James Bond Reviews: #19: The Man With The Golden Gun

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     Ranking a franchise is pretty hard work. They’ll always be those installments that you really don’t think about, the ones that make you go, “Oh, yeah…” In this case, it was choosing which film going above the other. What made me pick The Man With The Golden Gun, a film that generally is (rightfully) claimed to be one of the worst Bond films ever, over another that is considered “meh” at best? I have three words for you: Sir Christopher Lee.
     The story picks up with 007 (Roger Moore) getting an interesting package at MI6: A golden bullet with 007 engraved on it. Yes, he has become the target of the infamous assassin, Francisco Scaramanga, the man with the golden gun. This guy is so good, he only needs one bullet to kill you (the GoldenEye game is starting to make a whole lot of sense, doesn’t it?), that’s how skillful the guy is. Bond heads out to Beirut to find the Solex to give people solar energy.
     The problems run rampant in this flick, and Moore as Bond is the least of its troubles. The humor on display is ramped up to such an extent, that it becomes cringe worthy. As much as I love seeing Bond push a kid off a boat, it just felt a little out of place. They even brought back the redneck sheriff J.W. Pepper (Clifton James) from Live and Let Die and we know how that worked out. Jesus, then there’s Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland), an utterly annoying, forgettable character. It makes me even more upset because she’s a regular character in the original Fleming novels, who has a relationship similar to Moneypenny. Thanks to this movie, the character never came back. And don’t get me fucking started on Nick Nack. Please, don’t make me.
     Yeah, this all sounds so immensely putrid, but when you see Christopher Lee on screen, that guy commands the shit out of it. I could have seen an entire movie of him hanging out with Bond on his island shooting the shit (and each other). The pistols duel is a very tense Bond moment, and the final action piece is crafted well. It’s bitter for me to write this since Lee had recently passed away, and it always felt to me that the man never got his due for this film. Yeah that’s a whole lot of suckage to be had, but then you get a great reward.
    

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