A View to a Kill (1985)
No Moore Bond
Put your hand on this - James Bond
"A View to a Kill" was to be Roger Moore's 7th and last James Bond movie, it would also be Lois Maxwell's final movie as Miss Moneypenny. Now whilst I felt a loss when Lois Maxwell decided to leave I can't say the same about Roger Moore because quite frankly I didn't enjoy the way the spy franchise went during his tenure, it became too tongue in cheek and cheesy for my liking. As to a "A View to a Kill" well it's by no means the worst of the Bond franchise, it's not even the cheesiest, although it has its moments, but it has a feeling off everyone on auto-pilot. Moore does what is necessary, the action is just about enthralling and the storyline, well that feels like a rehash of "Goldfinger" but there is nothing new or brilliant about it.
Having returned from a mission in the USSR with a revolutionary micro-chip James (Roger Moore - The Cannonball Run) is ordered to investigate Zorin Industries the company behind this micro-chip and also the owner Max Zorin (Christopher Walken - The Anderson Tapes). But getting near to Zorin proves difficult thanks to his right hand woman May Day (Grace Jones) and when he does he discovers that Zorin has a plan to wipe out Silicon Valley in order to monopolize the micro-chip industry.
Whilst "A View to a Kill" is surprisingly not that cheesy it does start in one of the cheesiest manners as James escapes some bad guys on a Russian mountain, making an adhoc snowboard whilst we hear The Beach Boys' "Californian Girls", it is painful. But as I said it isn't all cheesy and we get to the story which sees Bond trying to get up close to Max Zorin as they discover his company has created a revolutionary new micro-chip. What follows as a whole is quite similar to "Goldfinger" as we discover Zorin's various interests and activities are a cover for what his real plans are which are to wipe out Silicon Valley so that his company becomes the No. 1 in the micro-chip market.
But here is one of various problems with "A View to a Kill" because it lasts 131 minutes and for the first 60 of those it focuses on James trying to get close to Zorin through his love of horse riding. It at times feels like it has lost focus on the actual storyline as this side goes on and on until eventually we have Zorin discovering who James really is and tries to have him killed. Not only does it feel drawn out but it also feels routine delivering a plot which could have come from any number of James Bond movies only with different faces and places.
The second half thankfully focuses more on what Zorin's master plan is which means that we have Bond discovering the truth bit by bit before the big final battle. Again it follows the formula dictated by previous Bond movies and to be frank is for the most predictable. What is slightly less predictable is that whilst in the previous Roger Moore Bond movies the action had a strong comical element it turns more violent this time. Now whilst this makes for a pleasant change from all the cheesiness it doesn't suit Roger Moore who seems to struggle with Bond's more aggressive and violent tendencies. In fact Moore definitely looks his age in this movie and when he gets paired up with Stacey Sutton it is almost creepy as she is so much younger than him.
Talking of Moore you get a sense that he was very uncomfortable with "A View to a Kill" and as such his performance feels flat, just going through the motions whilst struggling to cut down the tongue in cheek elements. It does mean that seeing this was his last outing it was sadly not a fitting tribute to the actor who had certainly made his mark on one of the most successful movie franchises of all time. But then Moore is not the only one who struggles in "A View to a Kill" and Christopher Walken sadly does not come across as some evil genius bad guy. In fact Grace Jones who plays May Day is more of an evil genius with her aggressive dominatrix mannerisms.
What this all boils down to is that "A View to a Kill" whilst not a terrible James Bond movie is a very ordinary one almost having a feel about it of being churned out. It certainly isn't a fitting tribute to Roger Moore who looks ill at ease playing Bond especially a more aggressive version of his character but at least we also get Grace Jones who certainly looks comfortable when it comes to the aggression aspects of the story.
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