Bond In Review:Thunderball finale

Back in London, time is running out, but M comes to Bond’s defense despite the doubts of the defense minister.

 

Bond’s got a new clue though-he spots the camouflaged wreck of the plane, although minus the nukes, and with the corpse of Angelou, wearing Duval’s dog tags. He heads back to shore and consummates with Domino (although she gets briefly stung), but once she brings up her brother, he has to reveal the truth to her, and ends up giving her the dog tags, revealing that he’s dead.

She’s initially hesitant to help Bond, wondering if that was his motivation all along (Well, it kind of was) but Bond assures her cooperation by telling her that the nukes might be used if she doesn’t help. He gives her his geiger camera, but as he’s warned by her about Varges sneaking around, he uses a harpoon and we get the great quip: “I think he got the point!” as it impales the henchman.

Bond gets a clue as to where the nukes are hidden by Domino, and sure enough, Largo’s divers show up and Bond blends in, but is quickly discovered and Largo and his crew escape with the nukes-but thankfully for Bond, he’s got his homing device pill, and tells Felix the likely target is Miami.

 

Largo however has figured out Domino’s up to no good when her camera falls revealing the geiger counter, and he tortures her uncomfortably. However, she’s saved by the intervention of Kutze, who has a change of heart with some “He made me do it!” dialogue:

He’s gone mad! Please talk to them for me. Tell them I only did what I had to do, what I was told to do.

And also that he’s disarmed the second nuke onboard the Disco.

The first nuke however, is making a beeline to Miami thanks to Largo and his army of frogmen, and their harpoon-armed “sea buggy” miniature submarine as it’s called in some merchandise.

 

Now we come to a huge underwater battle, which I’m pretty sure a big chunk of the budget went, as the marines take on Largo’s men. While the battle might seem slow due to it’s underwater focus, and there’s maybe just a few too many shots of random sea creatures (in addition of course to sharks), it’s still quite impressive.

Bond joins them with his huge “and the kitchen sink”  dive rig teased earlier (“On you, everything looks good!” Felix remarks, which joins in spectacular fashion.

Finally, all the frogmen are killed and captured, but there’s a battle going on above too with the navy, with the Disco jettisoning it’s back to run faster-and the “cocoon” is well armed, although no match for navy battleships.

Bond’s able to follow Largo and board the now quickly moving Volante, and once he’s on the bridge it’s quite a chaotically edited fight scene, with punches, guns, champagne and knives being thrown as the vessel speeds very quickly. Largo briefly gets a chance at a shot, but Domino gives him a harpoon to the back, gaining revenge for her brother and also pretty much inspiring one of the film’s publicity shots as well.

Kutze also shows up, and warns them that the boat’s about to crash onto rocks, which it does in spectacular fashion (Apparently the blast broke some windows nearby during filming).  They all jump off, Kutze saying he ‘can’t swim!” and leading to either a bit of a continuity error, or the chance that Bond just let the guy drown. Either way, he’s not seen after the jump.

With one nuke recovered, and the other destroyed without exploding, the world is safe from SPECTRE (For now….they’ve got something more ambitious around the corner, as we learn in the next film). Bond gets onboard a raft and attaches a fulton balloon picked up by a plane-a mostly experimental balloon extraction device that’s found more use in fiction, not only in this film but also in the Metal Gear Solid games and Batman: The Dark Knight.

Overall, although it’s got some slow bits and the narrative’s a bit off at times, I enjoy Thunderball the most out of the Connerys, maybe due to the setting, quips, and the enlarged sense of scale thanks to the more widescreen look and bigger budget. It’s not exactly the cold war thrills of From Russia With Love, or the cleverness of Goldfinger, but it’s more fun from my point of view.

 

James Bond will return in You Only Live Twice!

 

Thunderball

 

 

Bond in Review: Thunderball part IV

Some sad news, unfortunately Molly Peters-one of the stars of Thunderball as Nurse Patricia Fearing-died today.

 

Moving on with the review, Bond, Felix, and Patricia-along with local ally Pinter, running a station in his shop-learn that the clock is ticking-literally-as Big Ben rings seven times-a note to SPECTRE that the British will pay their ransom, although Bond thinks it’s stalling for time. But hey, Q’s here! This is his first time equipping Bond in the field apart from his lab, although he’d also do so the next film, You Only Live Twice, and several other of the films. He’d have his ultimate field experience in Licence To Kill, which like this film, is partially set in the Caribbean.

 

Q’s arsenal this time includes a geiger counter watch, an extra geiger counter in the form of a camera that can also take pictures underwater (and of course is also waterproof) a rebreather (which, like the jetpack, would reappear more or less in Die Another Day) and a radioactive pill. Also shown-but not really showcased until the finale-is a massive dive rig that Bond messes around with.

Back in London, things aren’t quite good as Blofeld asks for some diamonds as ransom….and then we get Bond utilizing some of his new toys to try to photograph the Disco Volante-but also having to deal with getting noticed by Largo, leading to a brief underwater struggle. Bond then heads onshore-but is picked up by Fiona Volpe-who of course also has a SPECTRE ring prominently on her fingers-and then takes Bond for a fast ride back to the hotel in her mustang. Bond of course drives quite fast himself at times, but is as he notes, a “nervous passenger”

 

I wonder if that’s an intentional callback to a similar line in Dr.No? I guess “Nervous passenger” didn’t quite catch on as much as “Bond, James Bond” “Shaken, not stirred” ….

They of course both arrive at the same hotel (Fiona of course has been placed there by SPECTRE). Developing the prints, Bond discovers an underwater hatch on the Disco, guessing that the operation must have been conducted underwater using it, and not on land…and so Felix and Bond start their quest, but don’t find anything…yet.

 

They look around at Largo’s estate too, where Largo and Fiona are having a discussing shooting clay pigeons. Fiona’s a bit worried of course that Largo’s jealousy over Bond’s wooing of Domino has made him clumsy, and showing SPECTRE’s hand too early (apart from of course the obvious rings on said hands). So she volunteers to do the job herself. It’s really the only time we see these two interact, and there’s a slightly similar scene in “Never Say Never Again” with Fiona’s remade version, Fatima Blush (Who seems to be a bit into the younger Largo herself, but Largo shrugs off her advances).

 

 

Next Bond stops at Largo’s estate, and his observation about Largo’s gun is that it’s more fitting for a woman. Largo also introduces his two remaining henchmen (unless you count Viona) , Vargas and Janni.

 

Although Vargas isn’t exactly as strong a presence as Grant or Oddjob, playing more of a cold detached killer, as Largo notes.

Of course! Vargas does not drink. Does not smoke. Does not make love. What do you do, Vargas?

 

It doesn’t take a genius to fill in the blank here. It’s kind of a fun scene, although both Bond and the villain know the other’s real motivations. There’s a particularly great moment where Bond shoots a clay pigeon, almost without looking, and Largo then shows off his sharks.

 

He even allows Bond to take Domino as a date to the “Junkanoo”, a sort of carnival. But Fiona of course uses Bond’s absence to drug and capture poor Paula.

Which of course has Bond attempt a rescue mission, visiting Largo’s estate on less, formal grounds-and with the power cut. Unfortunately, Paula takes a cyanide capsule to resist interrogation,  and dies, with a short sad glance from Bond.

 

Then we get our first real shark scene, as Bond accidentally drops his gun, causing it to misfire and alerting the villains, causing him to crash into the pool-and then trapping him in it. Sure, we saw them earlier, devouring mr. Kitch, but this is the first time Bond is put in mortal peril with them. Thankfully, he’s able to get the other guy to bleed, luring the sharks to the other guy, and allowing him to escape through a hatch into the other, more open pool. “Sorry old chap, better luck next time” he quips.

 

Bond tells Pinder he wants Leiter to stay with Domino, and that Paula’s dead. Pinder’s reaction is sort of a bland “OK”, which seems a little tone-deaf, at least to me.

Bond then walks on Fiona in her bath, and there’s of course some goofy one-liners here as they flirt and then make love.

However, as soon as that’s over Bond prepares to head back to the Junkanoo, but Largo’s goons are in the way. Here we have an interesting scene that perhaps’ meant to contrast to Goldfinger; after Pussy Galore was won over by Bond’s charms, she switched over to his side and helped save the day. However, Fiona isn’t having any of it:

“But of course! I forgot your ego, Mr Bond. James Bond, who only has to make love to a woman and she starts to hear heavenly choirs singing. She repents and immediately returns to the side of right and virtue. But not this one. What a blow it must have been, you having a failure.”

to which Bond quips: “Well, can’t win them all”.

Capturing Bond, they’re a bit delayed by the ongoing junkanoo. Seeing an opening when a drunk peddles his alcohol close to the car and igniting it with Fiona’s cigarette, Bond makes a run for it, to the tune of the “007” secondary theme. It’s quite a tense, chaotic scene, and Bond even gets shot in the leg, causing him to limp.

 

He eventually makes his way to the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang club, where he treats his wound, and once again we hear the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang instrumental song as Bond tries to blend in as Volpe and the others close in. She then asks for a dance, as the bad guys ready their shot to take Bond out. However, Bond makes a swift turn, and the bullet-it’s sound covered by the heavy drum music-hits Fiona instead, killing her, and Largo’s men get the hell out of dodge. Bond quickly covers up her back and lays her on a chair next to the couple, saying “Okay if my partner sits this one out? She’s just dead!”

It’s a funny line, although I outta imagine that couple probably would’ve been horrified to be sitting next to a dead woman. Although maybe it’s like Weekend at Bernie’s, (a fairly Carribieanish movie itself) where everybody seems oblivious to that kind of thing.

 

 

 

 

Metal Gear Profiles-Jack/Naked Snake/Big Boss-Part One

“Everyone dies. You can’t stop it. You can’t run away from it. Let me tell you something… Don’t… Don’t waste the life you have left fighting. I’ve never thought of you… As a son. But I’ve always respected you as a soldier. And… As a man. If you’d been in my place back then… Maybe you wouldn’t have made the same mistakes that I did. Ever since the day I killed The Boss… With my own hands… I… Was already dead.”

The man who would later be known as Big Boss was born in the 30s, and first fielded during the Korean war. Little is known about his past before then, except his name (Jack) that he celebrated Christmas, and believed in Santa well into his adult years. His fighting prowess caught the attention of the World War II heroine known as the Joy, or the Boss, and she took him on as an apprentice, teaching him the art of CQC (Close Quarters combat)-especially using a gun and a knife in tandem.

At the same time, he participated in the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests, making him sterile (although that didn’t stop hiim having sons, as we later find out). He also served with the Green Berets. Early in the 60s-and after a period of estrangement from the Boss (During when she partipated in the Mercury program and the seeds of Operation Snake Eater were planed), he was recruited into Major Zero’s Fox  unit. His first mission-where he would use the codename “Naked Snake”- was to extract scientist Sokolov from the Russian occupied Tseilonarsk. Sokolov was designing the mobile nuclear platform known as the Shagohod.However, during the extraction, he came across the boss on a drawbridge-carrying two small nukes and working with Russian colonel Volgin, who then recaptured Sokolov.

In an attempt to stop her, he engaged her in CQC combat on the bridge, but she quickly overpowered him, tossing him over the bridge (although he did manage to grab her bandana).

As Snake sat badly wounded (but able to tend to his immediate injuries with the help of Para-Medic), she waved goodbye to her former apprentice as Volgin launched one of the small nukes- a “Davy crockett” nearby-an act that would be the shot heard around the world, and would start a war with (almost) no end over the next half century.

Extracted, he was taken back to America, and put into the ICU, and interrogated as to why the mission went south-and threathened with execution, as it was thought he was ‘in’ on the Boss’s defection and the nuclear attack. He had one chance at redemption. Return to Tseilanarsk, rescue Sokolov again, destroy the Shagohod-and also kill his mentor. Doing so would not only clear his name, but also that of the US, whom the USSR was not pleased with since the Boss was a former American hero-who had technically launched a nuclear strike on soviet soil. Sent in on a capsule, he wore the bandana of his former mentor.

Operation Snake Eater had begun.

Bond in Review: Thunderball Part III

In the dossier, Bond is disturbed a bit that the man shown in them is the same man he saw dead at the clinic (or rather, his double). So he asks M to send him to Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, based on that hunch. M trusts him, despite the protests of his air force liaison (Who would’ve gone with him to Canada). Moneypenny naturally thinks he’s in it for Duval’s sister, who might have a link to the whole thing-which leads to an awkward moment between M and Moneypenny, with Bond wondering what’s happened to his hat….a bit of an in-joke, perhaps, as Bond would seldom wear the hat from now on (Although it would still show up in the gunbarrels until “Live and Let Die”, and the hat gag would reappear in “one Her Majesty’s Secret Service” and the later Moore years. Bond would also throw his naval hat in the next film. However, by Dalton it’s completely gone).

 

Next, we go to Nassau, and one of my all-time favorite Bond settings, Nassau in the Bahamas, and Bond starts rapid-fire flirting with domino after saving her from getting stuck in the reef.

Bond:I arrived soon after you went down. I’ve been admiring your form.

Domino:Have you, now? Your name’s James Bond and you’ve been admiring my form?

Bond:Most girls just paddle around. – You swim like a man. –

Domino:So do you.

James Bond:Well, I’ve had quite a bit of practice. – Do you come here often? –

Domino:When I’m bored. Practically every day.

Bond:What else do you do, and where? –

Domino:You don’t waste time, do you? –

Bond:No.

Domino (hands him starfish): For effort. 

Bond:Thank you. I’ll wear it, so you’ll know me next time. I was right. Couldn’t miss.

Domino:I’m not with you. 

Bond:Oh, you soon will be.

 

I find Auger-or rather, the woman who dubbed her’s-performance, a bit bland, which is kind of a bit odd since she’s actually the dub artist for most of the early Bond girls-Honey Ryder, Sylvia Trench, Jill Masterson-that’s all her (She even dubbed over some of Jane Seymour’s dialogue in Live And Let Die). Maybe because it’s her trying to do a French accent instead of a British one. However, she’s certainly written as a smart and sassy Bond girl.

We are also introduced to another Bond girl, of sorts, Paula Caplan.  She’s Bond’s main aid here, although it’s unclear if there’s any relationship between them apart from a professional one, although she’s certainly knowledgeable about Bond’s ways:

Bond: Tell London I’ve made contact with the girl.
Paula:It’s not what I’d call contact, but I’ll pass it through. You’ve seen the girl.

Faking a motor malfunction, Bond hitches a ride on Domino’s boat and he continues his flirtation with her, but they’re both being watched-Domino by one of Largo’s henchman, and Bond, by a mysterious man in sunglasses. Gee, where have we seen that before? Bond appears to slip up for a second by mentioning Domino by her name before she told him, but luckily for him she has it on her ankle bracelet.

 

Next, we come to the Casino scene, where Bond and Largo meet formally and each tries to measure each other up, with Bond pretty much trolling Largo’s SPECTRE affiliation: “Yes, I thought I saw a SPECTRE at your shoulder; the SPECTRE of defeat, that your luck was about to change”. Largo doesn’t seem too bugged by it, in fact he shows off his fancy SPECTRE ring. SPECTRE’s got quite a lot of vanity; in fact it’s what gives them away in a different continuity, and it’s certainly what got the ball rolling on this film when Bond noticed Lippe’s Tong tattoo.

After beating Largo at cards, Bond takes Domino for a short dance, still subtly asking for information, and starting to win her over a little.  Largo-although jealous-invites Bond over to his estate. Despite the ring, he’s less obviously up to no good as say, Goldfinger.

 

…and there’s sunglasses guy again.

Bond returns to his hotel, but there’s somebody waiting for him-inside and outside his door. Thankfully, Bond has a hidden recorder. Outside, the man with the sunglasses tries to get in, but Bond sucker-punches him as he says “00….” Bond then quickly turns on the hot water in the shower, stunning Largo’s henchman Quist and disarming him.

Turns out the man with the sunglasses is in fact Felix Leiter-who has once again changed into a different actor, this time more in the Jack Lord style than Cec linder’s kind of clueless goof. The sunglasses he wears are even a callback to that, as Felix wore sunglasses early in Dr.No and we were unsure of his motives then…

Giving Quist his gun back-minus the bullets-Bond allows him to escape, “letting the little fish” back into the sea-and letting Felix know he’d like a look at Largo’s yacht-the “Disco Volante” (Italian for Flying Saucer-although in the remake Never Say Never Again, it actually called simply “Flying Saucer”).

 

Meanwhile, Qwist the “little fish” certainly gets thrown into a body of water for disappointing Largo.  One pool filled with Sharks, which make quick work of Qwist.

 

 

And thus begins the series’s fascination with sharks, who we’ll see even more of later in the movie. Sharks will appear again in “Live and Let Die”, “The Spy Who Loved Me” (as well as the man named “Jaws” after THE Shark movie) “For Your Eyes Only” and most spectacularly in “License to Kill” where they ate poor Felix’s legs…and later the guy who betrayed him. They don’t seem to have shown up that much in the Brosnan and Craig films. I wonder if a certain Bond parody had anything to do with that?

 

Next: Bond pays Largo a few visits, and goes searching for the missing plane and it’s lethal payload, but also comes across Fiona Volpe. Plus, Q stops by with some special toys.

 

 

James bond in Review: Thunderball Part II

 

Bond’s suspicions about the tattoo have him call Moneypenny, who confirms it’s a gang symbol. Bond then further investigates Lippe’s room, which is nearby a mysterious bandaged man, the mysterious “Mr. Angelo”. He also helps himself to some grapes (Which Bond does in another clinic in Die Another Day), but he’s being watched…..

 

Lippe isn’t too pleased at this, and while Bond is being treated with the nurse (who he kind of flirts with a bit, somewhat inappropriately), she puts him in a stretching machine, which Lippe of course turns up the power to full blast. ( A similar scene later happens in “Moonraker” where Bond’s in a zero-G machine). Although instead of a near death experience, Bond mainly passes out. It’s a bit of a goofy, if tense scene.

 

.

Although Bond’s OK, he does use it as an excuse to seduce the nurse…(In the remake, Never Say Never Again, he does it in a somewhat more subtle and more appropriate way with fancy food and champagne)

 

Bond then gets his revenge on Lippe by messing around with his steam machine. Well, he didn’t kill him, so I guess he just does this to not kill him either.

However, Lippe’s plan goes ahead unheeded. Another SPECTRE agent, Fiona Vulpe-is keeping an RAF pilot-Francois Duval-occupied. Volpe’s pretty much the first really ‘evil’ Bond girl. Taro and Freelance weren’t much of a threat, Klebb wasn’t really a Bond girl by any means (and Tataina was simply following her orders reluctantly) Pussy Galore of course turned ‘good’ in the end, but Volpe’s pretty much evil through and through, and a capable killer-both of which we’ll see later on. Looks can kill, I suppose….

 

When suddenly he opens the door to find-himself!

Turns out the bandaged man from earlier-Mr. Angelou-was undergoing surgery to become Francois’s double. In both the original novel and Never Say Never Again, there’s actually no double-it’s the original pilot. In the novel he’s mainly bribed; in Never Say Never Again, he’s sort of bribed by heroin and blackmailed by threats to his sister Domino; here, he’s unaware of what the hell is going on as we see here (Another example of so-so “bluescreen” effects in Bond).

Not sure why they made this change, maybe they didn’t want to make the RAF look bad? Anyway, Francois is killed, and Angelo is set up at his replacement, although he wants more money due to the costly surgery-something that’s kind of a big no-no for SPECTRE, but ‘settled’ by Volpe saying it’s “Just a down payment” so Angelo doesn’t leave the operation or Lippe shoots him. He’ll get the rest of his “payment” later…as will Lippe for getting a guy who was a bit too mercenary.

As Angelou heads to the RAF base,  Lippe wheels Durval’s corpse (now in Angelo’s plastic surgery clothes) back to the clinic, but Bond notices this and unwraps his bandages….and also takes care of a SPECTRE guy who nearly ambushes him (Lippe however stays out of sight). Bond then for some reason sets off the fire alarm (It’s not really made clear why-so they’d discover the body or something?)

Meanwhile, SPECTRE’s plan unfolds, as “Durval” gets to fly the nuclear-equipped RAF plane, and then poison-gases his squadmates. He then lands the plane near Largo’s ship. Largo then gives the pilot his ‘payment’-cutting his air supply and having him drown, and they secure the nukes and cover the plane with camo netting. It’s a bit of a slow sequence, one of the common criticisms of the movie, that these sequences-and their methodical music-somehow hurt the film’s pace. As well as much of the film being devoted to just the nukes being stolen, with Bond not really putting all the pieces together at first. Then again, maybe that’s just the director (Terrence Young’s) style, as “From Russia With Love” spent a lot of time on the villains and their plot being set up before even getting to Bond himself-here at least we get Bond right away.

We’re also introduced to Dr. Kutze, another one of those “He made me do it!” nuclear scientists working for the villains, like the later Dr. Metz in “Diamonds Are Forever” (and kind of subverted in Goldeneye with Boris).

 

 

Meanwhile, back at the clinic, it’s discovered “Mr. Angelou” is dead from a heart attack as Bond leaves.  Bond then finds himself chased by Lippe, who wants to kill him, but Lippe-who SPECTRE feels is unreliable because his choice of Angelou was unreliable-has already decided his death sentence, actually sparing Bond.

His killer, Fiona-with a missile-launching bike which we don’t see again, as she just dumps it in a river to cover her tracks.

 

Meanwhile, Bond is called into a high-level meeting, although he’s a little late due to the inciddent on the road (Which he doesn’t seem to report on, at least right away, nor at the shenanigans at the clinic). We get a cool set/possible matte painting of the 00’s assembled-as a tape recording from Blofeld details that SPECTRE has posession of nuclear weapons, and is holding NATO to ransom for their return, or else they’ll get used on two cities.

 

 

It should be noted that we get our first “kind of” look at 006 here, who of course would be revealed to be Alec Trevalyn, the main villain of  1995’s Goldeneye-here either the guy with the beard or the guy resting his head on his hand. Of course this could simply be another 006, as we see some other 00s get killed and replaced in the series (002 and 009 mainly)

M gives them all dossiers and the codename of the operation: “Thunderball”.

 

 

Bond In Review: Thunderball Part One

After “Goldfinger” was a massive hit, EON-the production company that makes the film-had a lot more money back then ($2.5 million extra) to play with…and there’s a bit of a difference right away.

It’s the first Bond film to really go “wide” with 2:35:1 aspect ratio. This also meant that the film would have to reshoot the gunbarrel, which they did with Sean Connery properly in it instead of stuntman Bob Simmons. The smaller ratio would return for the first two Roger Moore films, but would pretty much return to the wider ratio for the rest of the series.

In the opener, Bond is at the funeral for Jacques Bouviar, a SPECTRE leader who has been killed-but not before killing two of Bond’s colleagues (Possibly other 00s).  He’s accompanied by French agent Madame La Parte, who he briefly flirts with-until he notices something extremely unusual about Jacques’s widow-that she opens the car door herself (Hey, it was the 60s!)

 

Following the “widow” back to her mansion, offering his “sincere condolences” with a punch to the face, revealing that the widow is in fact the “dead” colonel, who faked his death and is dressed in drag to fool Bond. What follows is a very, very high speed and chaotic fight (OHMSS would use a lot of similar “sped up” edits later on, perhaps due to the influence of editor-turned-director Peter Hunt). Until Bond is able to strangle him with a poker-but not before getting struck a few times himself.

 

After getting rid of Bouvier, Bond hurries to escape his men- and dons a conveinently placed jetpack to make his escape.

The jetpack of course became one of the iconic Bond gadgets, despite only a brief appearence in this film. Another, somewhat less cool looking one (but without the helmet) would appear in Never Say Never Again (The Thunderball remake/readaptation) in a highly different context, once again piloted by Sean:

…and Bond would later mess around with this very same jetpack in “Die Another Day”, alongside the poison knife shoe and the Octopussy alligator sub.

 

After a safe landing, Bond gets into his classic DB5, which uses it’s bullet shields and aptly, water jets, to evade further pursuit.

The jets turn on the camera, and then segue to the title sequence. In keeping with the underwater settings of the later film, there’s a lot of women-and some divers with harpoons-swimming around the multicolored water. Tom Jones is a bit different in his approach, but the song is a lot more exciting than the previous male-sung Bond song, “From Russia With Love”.

The film also has a secondary song that was rejected for the title, but is still prominent in the music score instrumentally many times-Dionne Warwick’s “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”.  Both songs are pretty much about Bond himself, and his certain set of skills. The practice of a secondary or rejected song being the source for much of the instrumental score is something we see in later Bonds- Both “Pretenders” songs in The Living Daylights are used for the romance and action much more than the main title; and of course there’s Tommorow Never Dies “Surrender”, whereas Sheryl Crow’s main title tune really isn’t in the film at all….

We then are introduced once again to SPECTRE, who is joined by their “Number two”, Emilio Largo. Of course No.1-Blofeld-is back, but like in FWRL we don’t see his face, only his cat. His voice is also notably different, less of an accent but with what seems like some form of distortion effect. This seems to be the only moment Blofeld is really seen deliberately covering his face in the series (Although it’s possible his different appearences in the three films he appears in later are the result of heavy plastic surgery, as “Diamonds Are Forever” implies.) The meeting room also has a cover operation-The International Brotherhood for the Assistance of Stateless Persons. Somehow I think that they’re not really helping refugees here…

Blofeld gets some updates on the various criminal organizations, but he’s displeased with two of the operatives, who he feels are keeping the money for themselves. One guy seems particuarly nervous, the other seems very cocky. The cocky guy gets made an example of  via electric chair. This scene was actually parodied in the first “Austin Powers” with Will Ferrell’s character (and of course No.2 was based on Largo).

 

Largo’s reaction is just to coldly look over, offer no expression and then go back to his papers. Which is kind of funny, considering he’s probably one of the more emotional Bond villains in the series-at least in regards to his anger.

One special note about Largo…although the eyepatch Big Boss wears in the Metal Gear series is probably closely related to Snake Plissken from “Escape from New York”, I wonder if perhaps there’s some relationship to Bond as well. When the character first appears in the MSX game, he was pretty much a nuke-hoarding villain in the series (before the prequel games revealed another side to him) like Largo here.

 

Although certainly his original look in MG2 looks awfully familiar to this film’s star:

 

Getting back on topic, Largo’s got an ambitious plan for Blofeld-to hold the world at ransom-specifically-the North Atlantic Treaty Powers. His agent in this is Count Lippe-who of course, is pretty much at the exact same place Bond is, and like Largo and Fiona Volpe later on, lets Bond in to something suspicious-in this case a Tong symbol. Nice one, Lippe. If Bond hadn’t noticed the symbol he wouldn’t figure something was up at this health clinic….

 

Next: Bond gets some ‘excercise’ at the health clinic as SPECTRE creates a double to steal nukes.

 

Metal Gear Profiles-Skull Face

The man known as “Skull Face” was born in Transylvania, where he suffered many, many nasty scars as a result of both bombing in World War II (which caused a panic which left him severely trampled) . As his homeland became occupied, he begin to harbor hatred toward those who occupied his homeland, and their language-especially English, which he felt took away his cultural identity.

Working in various black ops in the 50’s, including taking out Stalin and making it look like a stroke, Skull Face attracted the attention of David Oh-founder of the Fox Unit….the man later to be known as Zero.

 

Oh appointed Skull Face as his executive officer, and put him in charge of XOF-a support and ‘clean up’ crew for the Fox Unit-in particular,  a little something known as “Operation: Snake Eater”.

 

Shortly after Snake Eater, Zero formed the Patriots/CIPHER using the veterans of that operation, with XOF also becoming a part of the organization, although once again operating in a covert sense. Using CIPHER’s resources, he began research into parasites, enlisting the help of Code Talker. He weaponized those parasites, and saw an opportunity to gain his revenge against English, and also to oust Zero and make sure Big Boss didn’t interfere.

Taking control of “Camp Omega” in 1974, he recovered CIPHER’s agent Pacifica Ocean, and also kidnapped Big Boss’s ally Chicho. Torturing them, he learned the location of Zero, and also set a trap for Big Boss.

Posing as a UN inspection team, they infiltrated and destroyed Big Boss’s Militaries San Frontieras Mother Base as well, and brought MSF’s scientist, Huey Emmerich-who had collaborated with them-into XOF.

Although Big Boss was able to rescue Paz and Chicho, Paz was rigged. The resulting explosion brought down the helicopter, killing not only Paz, but also Chico, and injuring Big Boss and his helicopter medic-putting them both in a coma. Kaz recovered early, and assumed Zero was responsible for the attack. However, Skull Face had his own nefarious plans for Zero.

 

Sending Zero a ‘present’-a pin laced with parasites-he poisoned the leader, which eventually reduced Zero to a vegatitive state. He took control of much of CIPHER (although Dr. Clark and Donald Anderson remained loyal to Zero).  However, before succumbing to the virus, Zero worked to keep Big Boss hidden from Skull Face, and develop the decoy, Venom Snake.

 

Donning a mask and Fedroa, Skull Face continued his research into the parasites, creating the “Skulls” unit of super soldiers. He also, with Huey’s help, developed the Walker gears and their big brother, the Metal Gear Selanthropus. Eventually, he learned that Big Boss was still alive at a hospital in Cyprus, and sent a strike force-including the recently recruited Psycho Mantis and “Man on Fire” Volgin- to take him out.

 

However, Big Boss and Venom Snake escaped, and began plotting their revenge on XOF along with Kaz and Ocelot. (Skull Face assumed that Venom Snake was still the real Big Boss, though). They uncovered several clues on Skull Face’s grisly research on the parasites-which would later infect Mother Base staff-and also the existence of his new Metal Gear, which he intended to use Psycho Mantis’s psychic powers to pilot using Volgin’s anger as a motivator.

When the two finally had a more formal encounter when Venom Snake raided XOF’s Afghanistan HQ, OKB Zero, Skull Face took Venom Snake on a Jeep ride across his many outposts, and then intended to show off the power of his Metal Gear, as well as his plans to use the parasites to wipe out those who spoke English, as revenge. He saw it as a version of the Boss’s wish to “unite the world”-although it was an extremely twisted version of it.

However, unbeknowest to him, Eli-the future Liquid Snake’s “Lust for revenge” overrode Volgin’s control over Mantis. The Metal Gear turned on him, and he wound up crushed under a tower as a result of the rampage.

As he laid dying, he was approached by Venom Snake and Miller, who blew off his arm and leg, mirroring the injuries they had suffered, and still felt a “Phantom Pain” about.

It was Huey Emmerich though who shot him in the head, delivering the killing blow-perhaps out of revenge, or maybe he didn’t want Skull Face to reveal the nature of their work together if he somehow survived.