Sunday, 19 February 2012

A View to a Kill (1985)

I find it quite difficult to say very much about A View to a Kill; because nothing about it really stands out. It’s almost like they were trying to quietly sweep Roger under the carpet with out a fuss, in preparation for Timothy Dalton.

It all starts off very promisingly with a spectacular skiing sequence, very well shot and edited; which is then perfectly ruined by an inappropriate Beach Boys song. In no James Bond film is there ever call for a Beach Boys song. At least this is slightly atoned for by one of the better title songs, this time by Duran Duran; not so sure about the blacklight though.

What then follows is something about EMP-proof microchips, Russians (again), Silicon Valley and Max Zorin. Easily the best thing about AVTAK, Zorin is brilliantly brought to life by Christopher Walken. Whether he’s manic, calculated or making it up as he goes along, Walken’s performance is effortlessly cool. With 007 escaping again, most villains would scream “Get Him!!”; but Zorin’s “Get him” is very much “Well go on then, do I have to tell you what to do? What do I pay you for”; all said with the smallest gesture.

In this way Zorin is almost an evil mirror image of 007: suave, confident, calm and will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Where Scaramanga was Bond’s equal in cunning and marksmanship, his personality was quite different. I think the way that Walken plays Zorin is perhaps a surprisingly accurate reflection of 007.

To balance this out, May Day is an out and out nutjob of a sidekick. Grace Jones is not just a scary hench-woman, she is a very scary human being. Not only does she look like a weird vicious cat, she has a really bonkers wardrobe to go with it; including a very inappropriate wrestling outfit!

Another highlight in a film that is so low-key you barely notice you’re watching it, is the impressive sequence on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. Stunt arranger Bob Simmons, in what would be his last film, once again demonstrates his ability to design very dramatic action sequences. I also liked the way that 007 only visited two locations rather than jetting off all over the place; and everything that happened at each of these locations followed some sort of logic; unlike most of Octopussy.

So I found something to say about A View to a Kill after all; Roger Moore barely breaks sweat until he is standing on top of the Golden Gate Bridge, or maybe he just appears to be so sedentary because Christopher Walken is so full of zing, or maybe it’s just because he’s 57! Time for a change?

Order of Preference so far: