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  1. CBn Reviews 'A View To A Kill'

    Over the last several months, members of the CBn Forum have been reviewing all the James Bond 007 films in the “Countdown Threads“. If you wish to join in on the forum discussion all you have to do is register. Now here are some selected reviews, varying in opinion, of A View To A Kill

    ‘A View To A Kill’ by DLibrasnow

    'A View To A Kill' litho by Jeff Marshall

    ‘A View To A Kill’ litho by Jeff Marshall

    There is perhaps no EON Bond movie so divisive on CBn than Roger Moore’s swan song A View To A Kill. There are many who love the picture and are quick to shower it with praise and an equal number of fans who list it towards the bottom of their rankings and are just as quick to point out its perceived failings.

    I belong to the former, I love A View To A Kill and can easily quote the script word-for-word. It is, most probably, the Bond movie that I have seen most and the one that comes with the warmest nostalgic memories.

    Respected Bond historian, the late John Brosnan who was so quick to criticize Roger Moore’s portrayal of the iconic secret agent, was somewhat surprisingly kind towards A View To A Kill and in noting the age factor cited often by the movie’s detractors commented in his 1985 review (in Starburst) that Moore looked better in A View To A Kill than he had two years earlier in Octopussy.

    The pre-titles sequence at the beginning of the picture is not only one of he best in the movie, but for my money in the whole series. Willy Bogner’s team here really should be credited with coming up with some of the best skiing action ever committed to celluloid. Less impressive today, but innovative back in 1985, is the appearance of Bond snowboarding down slopes. The John Barry music also excellently complements the on-screen action and I even smile at the rendition of “California Girls.” To me this music is less intrusive or bothersome than the Magnificent Seven theme in Moonraker or the Tarzan yell in Octopussy.

    The plot bares more than a passing resemblance to Goldfinger, but it in fact improves on the 1964 classic in fixing one of the most oft-quoted plot holes in the Connery picture.

    For years critics of Bond have complained that there is no reason for Goldfinger to outline his plans to the group of hoods in that picture – since he ends up gassing them immediately afterwards.

    Here in A View To A Kill we have a similar sequence in which Zorin outlines his plan to a group of businessman on an airship, however he needs to sell the plan to them so they will enter into a business agreement with him. I also like the manner in which he disposes of the lone dissenter (the Solo of this movie) down some retracting steps into the cold waters of San Francisco Bay below – a death which nicely mirrors Zorin’s own demise – classic!

    Another manner in which this movie echoes its illustrious predecessor is that Bond sees the villain initially when said-villain is involved in a cheating scam. But whereas Goldfinger was cheating at a rather mundane game of cards, here we have the drama and excitement of an Ascot race with the horses thundering down the track. The whole sequence, which bears a remarkable similarity to events in John Gardner’s 1981 Bond novel Licence Renewed, is handled expertly and nicely introduces not just Zorin and May Day, but also fan favorite Patrick MacNee as horse trainer and Bond ally Sir Godfrey Tibbet.

    Here we come to my favorite section of the movie. In the scenes at the chateau Christopher Walken really gets to show just how crazy Max Zorin is. Check out the scene in his office and the expression on Zorin’s face when he finds out who Bond really is. Then its straight into two attempts to kill 007 – first on the racetrack and then again by pushing Bond (and Tibbet) into the lake. It is Bond thinking on his feet that allows him to survive. In Thunderball they gave Bond a gadget to breath under water, but here in a movie that is surprisingly low on gadgets Bond instead uses the air from a tire.

    It’s touches like this that make A View To A Kill one of my favorite 007 pictures.

    ‘A View To A Kill’ by 00FAN-008

    Although definitely not the greatest Bond film of them all, this one is my personal favourite James Bond movie. I would think this is because it has Roger Moore, my all-time favourite James Bond, and a number of particularily thrilling action sequences, such as the ski chase, the car chase through Paris, and the final conclusion atop the Golden Gate Bridge. Not to mention, it also has a killer title song performed by Duran Duran, one of my all-time favourite musical groups.

    Some may find this film to be an entertaining chapter of the Bond saga, like myself, whereas many others say this is perhaps the worst James Bond film of them all. I find that I somewhat agree to this; the film most definitely has it’s number of flaws, cliches, and the like. However, I can not bring myself to say that it is the worst film of them all; in my books, it certainly ranks higher than Diamonds Are Forever, which I personally found to be the weakest of the saga (but still a fairly good film).

    Christopher Walken is an incredibly hateable character as Max Zorin. I was pleased to see him drop from the Golden Gate Bridge after attempting to kill Bond several times and completely massacring his own men in a mine tunnel. But that is not to say I hate Christopher Walken; I hate Max Zorin, which is why I thought Walken did a great job as a really hateable villian.

    ‘A View To A Kill’ by The Richmond Spy

    A View To A Kill, in short, is the going away party for 57 (or maybe 58) year old Roger Moore. It starts out with a great scene of Bond skiing and avoiding enemies and adds the California girls song as a reminder of the humor that Rog added to the part. The plot is somewhat uninteresting, but audiences (especially American) can relate because it directly involves a popular part of the country. The villains are fantastic and are probably in the top 5 of series. The drama between Zorin and MayDay at the end probably could’ve been avoided, but I believe it was needed to prove just how psychotic he actually was. Stacy Sutton gets an unfair amount of criticism for being the ditzy leading girl even though there were plenty just like her prior to A View To A Kill (Case, Goodnight, etc…) The Golden Gate Bridge scene is very memorable as well, although I think Zorin goes down a bit easy. I would’ve liked a longer fight.

    In conclusion, I really do believe this movie is good and has many positive attributes and I hate to focus on the negative because of the constant criticism this one gets around the forum. Roger’s age did have an impact on the ability to believe some scenes and it is obvious that his stunt doubles did a lot more than their fair share in this one. This film proved that age can affect the public perception of Bond. IMO, it wouldn’t of mattered if Moore had given a performance like that of The Spy Who Loved Me, Live And Let Die, Octopussy or For Your Eyes Only (some may even argue he did), his age just didn’t allow us to take this movie too seriously. Maybe this is a reason why Brosnan was sacked from the role prematurely?

    ‘A View To A Kill’ by BondIsMoore

    A View To A Kill

    Negatives:

    • Moore looks way too old to play Bond
    • Grace Jones just does not belong in a Bond movie
    • May Day should of stayed a villian

    Positives:

    • Christopher Walken is an awesome Bond villian.
    • The Humour between Bond and Tibbet is classic
    • Stacey Sutton is one hot Bond girl
    • The ending on top of the San Francisco Bridge is classic. A nice final action scene for the Moore era.
    • Duran Duran probably made my favourite Bond theme song
    • The deleted scene with Bond in jail should of stayed in the film. It’s a classic scene.

    ‘A View To A Kill’ by tdalton

    By the time this film was released, it was obvious that Roger Moore was too old for the part, yet for some reason he was allowed to soldier on in the role. I can only imagine how much better this film would have been if Timothy Dalton had begun early and starred in A View To A Kill.

    First off, the idea around this Bond film is a good one. The idea to cause an earthquake in Silicon Valley is a fantastic plot, but it is dealt with realistically enough to where the audience can accept it. It’s a classic plot along the lines of the other great Bond villians’ projects, but everything that goes on around it takes away from the film and ultimately leads to it being stuck in mediocrity.

    Christopher Walken should have seemed like a natural choice to play a Bond villian, and he’s a decent Max Zorin, but Zorin’s wanting to corner the microchip market doesn’t carry the weight of wanting to corner the world gold market or wanting to destroy the world. Yes, the idea of creating the earthquake at Silicon Valley worked, but the reason behind it doesn’t. I think that they should have stuck with a plotline revolving around the microchip that Q is discussing at the beginning of the film.

    Tanya Roberts is horribly miscast as the Bond girl here. She serves no real purpose in the film other than eye candy, and she brings more attention to just how old Roger Moore looked in the film and gave their relationship a very creepy side to it that makes you cringe when you see the two of them on screen together.

    Roger Moore would have been fine in the role if older women had been cast in the roles around him, but this was not the case, and that causes his performance to faulter. It’s just hard to believe that younger women would fall for a man of Roger Moore’s age. Someone like Maud Adams, yes, that would have been believable, but people around Tanya Roberts’ age, no, it just doesn’t work.

    The locations on the film, however, are very Bondian. The horse track, the French mansion and horse stables of Max Zorin, and San Francisco are good locations for a Bond movie. The Golden Gate Bridge was a great place for a final showdown between Bond and the villian.

    The music in A View To A Kill is mediocre, at best. Who’se idea was it to put the Beach Boys music in the pre-title sequence? It just doesn’t have any place in a Bond movie. Duran Duran’s title song, however, is excellent and is one of the top 5 James Bond theme songs in the series. The rest of the music is rather nondescript.

    Overall, A View To A Kill had the potential to be a good Bond film, but it is the little things that ultimately bring it down. Had Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan been brought in for this one, then it might have worked better since Roger Moore was clearly too old to play Bond in this one. Some recasting of the Bond girls would have helped, and focusing the plot around the microchip that is impervious to a nuclear explosion in outer space would have gone a long way to creating a better plot as well. All-in-all, a forgettable Bond adventure, though, despite its potential.

    ‘A View To A Kill’ by Skudor

    The Settings – Setting a Bond movie even partly in the US is always a mistake. We see enough of the States in other movies. For Bond we want exotic locations. If it has to be the US, Las Vegas and the South have worked. California is too much the setting of every other movie.

    The Bond – Roger Moore. Never my favourite, he’s old and wooden here. Although the girl is probably the worst in the series he still manages to look like a sleazy sugar daddy to her big blue eyes.

    The Villain – Christopher Walken as Zorin. Better than average villain, appropriately cast with a suitable and ‘credible’ background story. Walken always does a good psycho and Zorin felt like he should be a psycho, considering his background. He was the high-light of the film.

    The Girl – Tanya Roberts. Simply awful.

    The Henchperson – The only good thing about Grace Jones was that her character died at the end.

    Overall – Not very interesting, wooden and ageing Bond, definitely the worst Bond movie made so far.

    ‘A View To A Kill’ by Double-Oh-Zero

    Even with all (two of) it’s merits – Christopher Walken and Patrick Macnee – the film just doesn’t hold up against the others. It borrows the plot of Goldfinger and doesn’t quite know if it wants to be funny, serious, corny, or all three. The Bond character is way off the mark here except for the rock salt shotgun scene, which was about the only glimmer of the original character that we get. The rest of the time, Bond is just a campy old man cavorting around with a ditzy young girl and a scary black woman. Reeks of 80s nostalgia.

    ‘A View To A Kill’ by A Kristatos

    Plot:

    Here is another movie that has grown on me a bit after several recent viewings. But, not enough to even consider this amongst the elite. As in my #18th ranked movie, Die Another Day, we again basically have a contemporary reworking of a classic Bond movie, in this case Goldfinger. The movie stars Christopher Walken as another maniacal villain who wants to take control of another segment of the world’s economy, this time microchips from Silicon Valley. There are many similarities to the Goldfinger plot, but unfortunately, the idea is not executed well, though Walken’s scenes are well done. The same cannot be said for many others occupying this film.

    Acting:

    Once again, strong villains and a terrific score save this movie from setting up shop at the bottom of the heap. Well, that’s not exactly true as I had this movie parked at the bottom of the Bond pile for years. But some recent viewings have changed my mind. Granted, this movie is not Oscar worthy, but worthy enough to finish ahead of three of the official Bond entries. Christopher Walken as expected does not disappoint, as he plays the brilliantly psychotic Max Zorin. Also contributing some terrific support to Bond is Patrick McNee (great to see him get to work with Moore again, this time in a Bond flick!). Most other players in this movie work out fine. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Tonya Roberts as Stacy Sutton, a “geologist”. I use that term loosely! This most annoying of all the Bond girls not only irritates the viewer with her constant shrieking for Bond’s help, but her failed attempts to actually sound smart! I just love the way she enunciates her lines when trying to explain the geological parameters of Zorin’s plan! (“Well, heeerrree is where theeee two fauuulltt linneess meet”)! Ugghhh!!! Although there are a few spots where I can tolerate her, basically the less said about her, the better! Equally as irritating is the smarmy cop that will stop at nothing to apprehend Bond. He utters one of the most grating lines in the entire Bond series (“And I’m Dick Tracy and your still under arrest!”). Yeah! Very professional for a cop to be talking to someone like that!

    Score:

    John Barry’s score is his best score since Diamonds Are Forever, and it offers a hint of the classic score he had on tap for the upcoming The Living Daylights. The movie is graced with a Thunderball-esque soundtrack, and of course one of the best title tracks of the entire series from Duran Duran. He actually makes some of the unwatchable parts of the movie watchable, especially during the pathetic fight sequence on the Golden Gate Bridge, as he uses a reworked version of his On Her Majesty’s Secret Service title track.

    Once again, a decent first half of a movie degenerates into slapstick and cringe worthy dialogue throughout the second half, though the second half is made more tolerable during Walken’s scenes, particularly the whole mine sequence. That twenty minutes is actually quite good. Unfortunately, the two sequences that sandwich the mine sequence just typify how much the movie lost its way. A good, if not entertaining popcorn movie on a rainy day, made better by some fun dialogue by Walken (“Good! Right on schezule! More, more powah! Go get em!”) However, not much more than that.

    ‘A View To A Kill’ by Mister Asterix

    There is just nothing in this film that is ‘The Best’ or even near best, The Villain, just okay. The Hench, just okay. The Bond Girl, just below okay. The plot, just Goldfinger. The action, just okay. The title song, very weak. The titles, weak. The pretitles, just okay. The title, seemed to be missing something. My favourite part of this film is the rock salt shotgun, perhaps Roger’s Bond at his most ruthless (considering he was expecting real shells in the gun.) A View To A Kill is just a Bond film with nothing special about it. I still watch it from time to time.

    ‘A View To A Kill’ by Double-Oh Agent

    Another example of a Bond movie in which something seems to be missing. Upon close inspection A View To A Kill has a lot of things in common with Goldfinger (a wealth-hungry villain who cheats at sports/leisure activities and who wants to destroy an American institution to increase his wealth) but is nowhere near as successful.

    The bad: Unfortunately, I have to start off with Roger Moore. At 58, he is clearly too old to effectively play James Bond. As the saying goes, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Besides, in the stunts (especially in the car chasing after May Day) it is clearly visible that it is the stunt man and not Moore performing them. In For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy Moore looks older, but not too old for Bond, but in A View To A Kill, he really shows his age. Tanya Roberts, meanwhile, looks great but is not as effective as Stacey Sutton. She is at her worst in the San Francisco City Hall scene where her breathy screams are not a joy to hear. Also a disappointment are the stunts which seem a bit below par in this film. The best of the bunch is the base jump by May Day. I also don’t like May Day’s switch to the good side but it is easier to accept than Jaws’ similar turn in Moonraker.

    The good: Duran Duran does a great theme song with A View To A Kill which also happens to be my favorite of the series. The rest of John Barry’s score isn’t bad either and has grown on me over time. Alison Doody’s gorgeous Jenny Flex makes one want to go on early morning rides and I also like Bond escaping drowning by breathing air out of the Rolls Royce tires. Grace Jones’ May Day is good as the villain’s henchwoman and one can’t help but get a bit squeamish when she gets into bed with Bond and then gets on top! Christopher Walken’s Max Zorin is also good. Very psychotic and funny but Walken doesn’t seem to be as good or as scene stealing as he is in other roles. The final battle between Zorin and Bond atop the Golden Gate Bridge is the best Bond-villain fight to the death of the series and is reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock films like North By Northwest. Patrick Macnee is great as Sir Godfrey Tibbett and plays well off Moore, especially in their servant/master role-playing. Lastly, Fiona Fullerton is really good as Pola Ivanova. Very beautiful with an interesting character, one wishes she would have had more to do. As it is, she just goes down as another of Bond’s (more memorable)conquests and who can ever forget those bubbles tickling her…Tchaikovsky!

    ‘A View To A Kill’ by Tarl_Cabot

    Roger Moore was too old to be playing James Bond in 1985 and the film suffers from it; he isn’t believable in action scenes since the stand in for even the most menial tasks is apparent.The film also has a dull second half set in un-exotic San Franscisco (I love my flawed USA, but it’s a lousy place for James Bond to be on assignment). Stacy Sutton is annoying and Tanya Roberts was much hotter on Charlie’s Angels when she was a red head and since red heads are a staple of 60’s Bonds it’s a wonder why they have her look like a barbie. Sigh.

    The prettile is great( there isn’t really a bad on in the whole series) but it’s dimminished by the wildly inappropriate beachboys tune. The score is lush, the song is high energy and one of the best. Christopher Walkin is also one of my favorite villians. All in all I’d say it’s a weak swan song for Roger Moore.

    ‘A View To A Kill’ by Harmsway

    A geriatric Roger Moore stars in one of the worst Bond films ever. Full of ridiculous situations, the film’s only source of value lies in the great Christopher Walken as the villian and Patrick Macnee as Bond’s ally. Otherwise, everyone else seems totally out of place. Grace Jones as May Day is horribly over-the-top, Tanya Roberts as Stacey Stutton is incredibly annoying, and even the typically enjoyable Roger Moore seems positively uninspiring.

    ‘A View To A Kill’ by Turn

    The film that was as tired as Roger Moore was at this point. Few surprises or much excitement at all on display here. Although some threads here have gotten me to appreciate A View To A Kill a little more, it really takes a lot for me to muster much enthusiasm for this flick.

    I remember being incredibly let down walking out of the cinema after seeing this. I really like Walken (this is the film that made me a Walken fan), Patrick Bauchu as Scarpine (my favorite of the left-hand henchmen), MacNee as Tibbett (his byplay with Moore was one of the highlights; why, oh why did they have to kill him off) and Moore gives a nice performance, a bit understated and maybe a tad more serious than usual, and his looks weren’t as bad as some believe. It’s the rest that really seems bad.

    May Day is built up to be this incredibly vibrant character but is a big disappointment. Instead of a struggle to the death with Bond, we get self-sacrifice and sparkling dialogue like “And I thought that creep loved me,” just what I want in a Bond movie. Tanya Roberts is flat-out the worst Bond girl/woman ever — screaming, acting like a bimbo and too brain-dead to know a blimp is behind her.

    Chuck Lee is the least exciting sidekick ever. And why did they need to resurrect a Sheriff Pepper character without (I never thought I’d say this) Pepper’s charm? The bumbling cop may be the worst character ever in a Bond film. The film even turns Gogol into a bumbling, non-threatening presence.

    So much of the rest seems standard — skiing scene; Bond in tux at fancy gathering scene; lame car chases; a boring climax scene in the mine. The whole film just seems to die when Bond arrives in San Francisco, probably the longest stretch without any excitement in any Bond film. Can it get any worse than James Bond makes quiche and falls asleep in a rocking chair next to the heroine’s bed?

    ‘A View To A Kill’ by Qwerty

    I do like this film, and it’s perhaps a bit ironic that I find this film here (ranked in 20th place in the series) as Roger Moore is my favorite actor to play James Bond. The plot itself is an interesting one, but it never really gets off it’s feet or becomes really engrossing, such as other films like Thunderball or The Spy Who Loved Me did for example. Roger Moore is capable enough as Bond, but his age does show quite a bit in this film, and he is in my opinion, a bit too old then.

    The cast of characters varies from some great ones to some lesser ones. Christopher Walken is simply amazing as the psychotic, sometimes unstable Max Zorin. His overkill gunning of his men in the mine and his witty dialogue make him one of the best villains in the series. Grace Jones’ May Day is a fair henchman as well. She possibly could have been even better if she had stayed an enemy.

    Stacey Sutton though, is not just a good character. In my opinion, she’s far too annoying and way too dependent on Bond. The screaming in the elevator is too much and detracts from her. She does have some good scenes, when speaking to Bond and Chuck Lee, but the negatives seem to weigh her down.

    John Barry’s score is a bit above average, I think it’s more of an overlooked one really, that has some haunting cues.

    A film with some shining points like Walken, but is a bit too muddled with a sometimes annoying Bond girl and a lacklustre plot.

    Devin Zydel @ 2006-01-06
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