Bond in Review: Never Say Never Again Part II

Fatima then sends Lippe to take care of Bond. While in the original movie, Lippe was more or less the mastermind of phase one of SPECTRE’s plan, Lippe here is more of a heavy, played by a guy who pretty much is skilled at this kind of thing: Pat Roach, who fought Indiana Jones three times in the Indiana Jones series (a fourth time was cut)

 

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Here, after a fight with Connery that destroys a good chunk of the clinic, Bond finally manages to defeat Lippe with his urine sample(!) which blinds him and causes him to back into a wall of syringes, killing him. Not quite as graphic as his demises in the Indiana Jones films, but ‘death by pee joke’ is kind of a weird way to go out.

M of course is kind of pissed (heh) at this, (whereas Bernard Lee’s M actually was kind of proud of the intelligence Bond picked up at Shrublands in the original film-

“If 007 says he saw Derval last night at Shrublands and he was dead,

that’s enough for me to initiate inquiries.”

Although to be fair, this is before the whole nuke-stealing plot unfolds, whereas in Thunderball, it was after.

Which of course, unfolds now, with Jack actually launching the nukes using his false eye to gain clearance, instead of them being stolen via plane like in Thunderball.

 

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This replaces dummy warheads with real ones, and launches them, but to land safely on Largo’s yacht, the Flying Saucer, the Disco Volante. We get some fairly cringey blue-screen work here as the missiles fly over beaches and countryside, sort of reminding me of some of the lesser flying effects in the Superman films. (Such as when Superman has to stop two nukes on his own).

A bit of a word on the Flying Saucer, in real life it’s called the Kingdom 5KR, with a few different names.

However, shortly after this film was released, it was sold to a certain billionaire who seems to be in the news a lot lately….

and that’s all I’m going to say about that!

Anyway, in a slightly similar fashion to Fiona taking out Count Lippe in the original film, but a little more twisted, Fatima takes care of Jack by throwing a snake into his car, causing it to crash. She then recovers her poor snake before destroying the rest of Jack’s car.

Blofeld then gives his ultimatum, similar to Thunderball, although this time he’s got a camera inside a silver skull, instead of the usual Octopus images the organization are associated with. He demands oil money this time.

Of course alarmed at this, the secretary tells M to reactivate the 00s (I guess they were sort of ‘inactive’ or something? It’s not really made clear, apart from Bond saying earlier that he had “little use” for the section, and that Bond for some reason was teaching?)

We get a second scene from Moneypenny, as Bond is investigating a matchbox he found on Jack’s bed at Shrublands which features Largo’s flag symbol. Once again, M largely ignores 007’s idea about the eye and Petachi.

We then come back to the FS, where Largo is watching Jack’s sister, Domino (played by future megastar Kim Basinger in an early role), do some aerobics to some very funky music. It’s all so very goofy and so 80’s, even Largo can’t help laughing a bit at it.

 

He then gives her a necklace, which of course will become very important to the plot later (and sort of a critical error on Largo’s part) . He also warns her, that if she ever leaves him, he’ll cut her throat (he also strikes a bad note on the piano nearby when he hears it). The Thunderball Largo has nothing on this guy’s level of utter creepiness, even when he was torturing her at the end of that film. For all the film’s other problems, Largo is an effective villain.

Although we haven’t seen M technically order him to go to the Bahamas or anything, Bond’s going there anyway simply because Largo’s boat is docked there, at the moment, and I guess to incorporate a little bit of the flavor of the original Thunderball, which was set almost entirely at Nassau in the second half of the film.

But before we do that, we’ve got the “Q scene”.  Although this Q is certainly not Desmond Llewylnn’s Major Boothryd, but a guy named Algeron, whose lab, attire, and attitude is certainly less refined then either of his official counterparts (Boothryd and the new Whishaw version).

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This is clearly defined by his attitude to Bond, the polar opposite of the EON Q’s attitude to Bond’s lifestyle (and somewhat sort of defines Bond movies in general):

 

“Now you’re on this, I hope we’re going to

have some gratuitous sex and violence.”

A bit of a note here, it’s interesting that the gadgets in this film (apart from the motorcycle) in someway anticipate Goldeneye’s. Although it’s a pen weapon it fires rocket projectiles instead of functioning like a grenade like Goldeneyes (Plus it’s a vastly different pen).

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There’s also a laser watch, which also of course would be used in Goldeneye .

There’s even the gag of Bond mistaking something ordinary for one of Q’s gadgets-in this case it’s an inhaler for Q’s sinuses, instead of a submarine sandwich.

Finally, we’re capped off with Bond telling him he’s going to the bahamas, to which Q responds “Lucky bloody you!”

 

 

 

Bond in Review: Never Say Never Again Part One

Although I’ve covered all the official “Eon” films of the Bond canon, I thought I’d move on to this particular-and somewhat peculiar-“unofficial” Bond film, which brought Sean Connery back to the role-in a remake of the movie he starred in during the 60’s. The story of it’s creation is a fairly long one-basically, the Thunderball novel-which introduced SPECTRE and Blofeld-was originally written as a script by Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory. When Fleming wrote his novel version based on that script, McClory demanded credit for the movie adaptation, and also the rights to Blofeld and Spectre-which he got, and hence after “Diamonds Are Forever” the villain was written out of the films altogether (although he sort of showed up in “For Your Eyes Only”) until 2013, when the rights finally made their way back to EON, who used a reinvisionsioned Blofeld in 2015’s SPECTRE.

 

We begin with a lot of “007s” replacing the standard gunbarrel, and the song Never Say Never Again by Loni Hall. Instead of the usual imagery of girls and guns, we instead get Bond infiltrating what looks to be a compound in South America. It’s a bit weird to see a fairly romantic song applied to Connery garroting, punching, and shooting people. It’s almost like if “Spy Who Loved Me” was playing “Nobody Does it better” in the background when Bond was fighting Jaws, for instance. Out of this context though, I kind of like the song; it’s not exactly one of the greats, but it’s all right.

Jack Shwartzman BTW was, at the time, the husband of Talia Shire (hence the “Taliafilm” production company label), and the father of actor Jacob Schwartzman. Shire of course was well-known for her role as Adrian in the first five “Rocky” films, and Connie Corleone in her brother’s “Godfather” trilogy.

However, on the production style of things, perhaps the most interesting fact about this film is that it was directed by Irvin Kershner, who of course, is well-known as the director of the second Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back, which many fans and critics believe is the best in the series (and certainly the one that, thematically, changed the course of the series with it’s shocking revelation at the end).

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Back to the film, Bond’s infiltration ends in failure when he’s stabbed by a captive woman who is brainwashed. Funny, that’s kind of how a certain Bond movie plot went…(and this isn’t the only time NSNA anticipates certain future developments in the series, even though it’s a remake).

 

Turns out the whole thing was an elaborate training exercise, that Bond, M and another guy, Elliot, who is sort of the Bill Tanner or Robertson of this film, are watching on videotape. I can’t help but be reminded of this a bit:

 

This M of course isn’t Bernard Lee or Robert Brown, but the Edward Fox (A British actor who has appeared in many war films), who plays it somewhat more as a caricature than a concerned Boss, and then demands he gets in shape at the Shrublands clinic.

We also get our first look at this film’s moneypenny, Pamela Salem, who previously starred with Connery in The Great Train Robbery. While Pamela certainly looks the part, there’s very little of the customary innuendo in either of her scenes. Her first scene is mainly just a joke, when she mistakes M’s order for Bond to get rid of “free radicals” (meaning his “red wine and white bread” that according to M is making him inefficient) as an order to take out some bad guys. Their scene together in “Great Train Robbery” actually seemed a bit more like a typical Bond/Moneypenny moment.

 

As Bond heads to shrublands, much like he did in the original film, we’re given yet another moment similar to the original, with  SPECTRE meeting together. Here we have great actor Max Von Sydow (known from the Exorcist, Seventh Seal and many other roles but most perhaps most recently for roles in Game Of Thrones and The Force Awakens) playing Bond’s arch-nemesis, Blofeld, but like FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and the original THUNDERBALL, he’s mainly the man behind the scenes, although we do see his face this time-and like in the original novel, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, and SPECTRE he’s not bald, although he does have the white persian cat from his other incarnations. He’s also the only Blofeld with a beard, although reportedly YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE was going to have one, but the actor was replaced by Donald Pleasence when he gave off too much of a “Santa” presence.

 

Next we’ve got Maximillion Largo, who is younger, lacks an eyepatch, and gives off more of a cold, calculating charm with moments of psychosis, rather than more “in your face” evil of his predecessor. He comes off as more believable, I think, as someone Kim Basinger’s Domino would fall for.

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Third, we’ve got Fatima Blush, who is pretty much Fiona Volpe, but way more crazy.

 

Fatima, like Fiona Volpe, directly involved in phase one of the plan, which involves the use of a colonel. However, instead of NATO pilot Francois Derval and an overelaborate scheme involving plastic surgery body doubles, their fall guy is air force pilot Jack Patachi, who is going along with the plan due to a mix of bribery, drugs, presumabely Fatima’s feminine wiles, and threats of harm to his sister, Domino. In this case, Jack, who has access to an air force base with nukes-is given a contact lens identical to that of the president’s eyes so he can authorize the nuke stealing. All this is happening, of course, at the same clinic Bond’s staying at.

 

Like in the original film, Bond has a fling with nurse Patricia Fearing (here played by Prunella Glee, who doesn’t quite give as a performance or make an impression as much as Molly Peters did IMO), although he wins her over with a suitcase full of:

“Lentil delight. Dandelion salad.Goat’s cheese.Beluga caviar. Quail’s eggs. Vodka.Foie gras.Strasbourg.”

as opposed to the iffy blackmail of the original film.

Meanwhile Fatima is playing nurse to Jack, who is super-nervous about this whole thing, and is smoking, causing Fatima to royally freak out-with the noise attracting Bond’s attention.

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Jack, BTW, is played by Gavin Herlilhly, who might be a familar face to fans of 80’s cinema, as he was also notably in many films from that time, namely  Superman III and Willow. In Superman III he also lets the bad guys get access to a system they shouldn’t, but this time as Brad, an older, drunker, security guard version of the football jock from the first film.

 

Bond, checking things out and wondering why this weird nurse is hurting this man, getting him to do some kind of eye-test for drugs, accidentally lets the window shade fly up, spoiling his cover, although he’s able to hide-but not well enough from Fatima’s Night-vision goggles.

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Fatima recognizes Bond (although they’ve never met, I guess in this alternate universe he’s had missions similar to the others where he crossed paths with SPECTRE before), and we get a great line-reading by Barbera Carerra here “Oh….yes. Double-O-Seven….” (with a big emphasis on the O)

 

The Walking Dead Season 4 overview: No Sanctuary Part II-Too far gone

Rick’s stable community at the prison has started to fall apart-somebody inside is tempting the Walkers on the outside (a weakening of the fence forces Rick to sacrifice his farm as a result to lure the walkers out), Carol has been exiled, and a new sickness has claimed part of the prison community, spawning walkers when the affected die, and separating others-including newlyweds Glenn and Maggie. Just when the outbreak seems to come under control, an old enemy arrives-this time, after allying himself with the Chambler family (who have no idea of his past, psychosis or true identity), and usurping through murder control of the group of his former lieutenant Caesar Martinez-partially because his group has a tank. Guns might have not broken the prison, but a tank certainly can.

He manages to kidnap Michionne and Hershel-who he still sort of has it in for-and asks that Rick surrender the prison to him, or else. Rick tries to plead to their common humanity, saying that they can come back from the edge; but as the episode’s title states, he’s “too far gone”.

Rick:Look, I fought him before. And after, we took in his old friends. They’ve become leaders in what we have here. Now you put down your weapons, walk through those gates… you’re one of us. We let go of all of it, and nobody dies. Everyone who’s alive right now. Everyone who’s made it this far. We’ve all done the worst kinds of things just to stay alive. But we can still come back. We’re not too far gone. We get to come back. I know… we all can change.

Governor: Liar!

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This doesn’t stop Herschel from having a bit of an “Obi-Wan Kenobi” moment before he’s cut down. He’s proud of Rick. But unlike Luke Skywalker, Rick sort of has a ‘way to fall’.

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Although he certainly gets a “NOOOOOOOO!” moment.

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This of course leads to chaos as the battle begins,  but the somewhat more softened Rick is no match for the governor. Only Michionne is able to bail Rick out at the end, although the injuries he sustains nearly kills him, causing him to pretty much collapse for a few days to recover once he and Carl

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While the group manages to stop the tank eventually thanks to Daryl, it’s far too late for the Prison, which is not only structurally compromised but also not swarming with walkers with the gates destroyed via tank, and the group is pretty much separated, with each group presuming the others are all dead (They aren’t, with the exception of the ill-fated bus which features most of the Governor’s surviving old citizens from Woodbury that weren’t claimed by Carol, supply runs or the Pig flu-pretty much 100% background characters).

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It’s a bit fitting, that one of the Walkers we see walking around the outside of the prison, Clara-is the woman Rick sort of tried to help at the beginning of the season, but she was too far gone (and so dirty and messed up Rick mistook her for a walker at first glance).

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But how far will Rick fall?

Movies that were inspired by Metal Gear-Kong: Skull Island. 

King Kong, of course, was the 1933 film that featured an expedition to an uncharted island that was pretty much ruled by a giant ape, who is brought back-in captivity-to New York City to be displayed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”-only to break out and climb the Empire State Building, where he meets his final fate. The movie was also a sort of modern take on “Beauty and the Beast”, with the Ape smitten with damsel actress Ann Darrow.

 

The film of course was referenced in Metal Gear Solid II, as part of the reason Jack/Raiden and Rosemary started dating (Well, apart from being manipulated by the Patriots).

 

And the King Kong inspired Donkey Kong is of course an nintendo icon, one which Solid Snake went up against in the “Super Smash Bros” series.

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It’s also spun off a small movie franchise over the years, with mixed results-one sequel, Son of Kong, shortly followed the original film; then he starred in a series of Japanese films, one in which he faced off against Godzilla, and the other, where he fought a robotic duplicate, mecha kong. Snake can also sympathize, at least from Metal Gear Solid III’s Sustenance tie-in to Ape Escape (Unfortunately, not included in any HD version).

There were also two remakes, one in 1976 which led to a 1986 sequel, and a 2005 one by Lord of the Ring’s Peter Jackson, both of which had mixed reception. Kong of course has also appeared in various animated series, comics, novels etc.

In 2017 a new Kong film was released, part of Legendary Pictures’s new “Monsterverse”, started by 2014’s “Godzilla”, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. However, what surprised many during the press tour for the film was that Roberts stated he was keen on developing a Metal Gear Solid film, and even consulted with Hideo Kojima about the project (With Kojima no longer in charge of the Metal Gear brand though, I’m wondering how this all works out, though).

Of course, the film has some Metal Gear influence. Kong: Skull Island’s opening credits show us the dawn of the cold war via newspapers and archival footage, as it’s a period piece set in the mid 70’s, via

MGS 3’s opening is pretty similar-at least at first-with several newspapers also setting up the setting, although it later becomes far more “Bondesque”.

A great deal of the games also utilize live-action footage of events to help shape the narrative, including some political and military footage.

However, this could just be a coincidence. Far more likely as a reference are the Sky Devils unit led by Samuel L. Jackson’s Packard, all of which have the callsign FOX.

 

Although curiously, it’s emblem resembles that of another video game icon, the Kingdom of Hyrule, in the Legend of Zelda. (This is intentional on behalf of the director).

 

Also intentional: Marlowe’s WWII plane turned boat, the Grey Fox.

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Grey Fox is named after a Metal Gear character, a FOXHOUND agent who is initially captured by Big Boss, but then later becomes sympathetic to his cause. After a battle with Snake leaving him near-death, he’s revived and experimented on by Patriots member Dr. Clark (Formerly Big Boss’s support and friend, Para-Medic), becoming a Cyborg Ninja that became involved in the Shadow Moses incident.

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Both Grey Foxes are of course converted from their original purpose into something else, but both are vital to saving our heroes.

Possible also a possible reference (although maybe not) is Conrad braving poision gas with a gas mask and cleaving through pteranodon like creatures with a samurai sword, something which brings to mind two Metal Gear characters….

 

Psycho Mantis, from Metal Gear Solid I and 5…(and sort of in 4)

 

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and of course Grey Fox and those with similar attributes in later games…

As for the Metal Gear movie, Kong itself proved to be a  fairly good success so perhaps it’ll eventually get made-and hopefully, is much better than a lot of other video game adaptations have been in the past.

Bond in Review: Live and Let Die Part IV

Bond, Felix, and Quarrel Jr. take the fight back to San Monique to destroy Kananga’s operation and rescue Solitaire. Bond trades his usual PPK for a Smith and wesson magnum revolver, and decides to be a bit stealthy, wearing  an all-black suit. Among it’s many callbacks to other Bond films, Bond’s suit in this movie seems to be reference in the SPECTRE poster (although the outfit he wears in the film is a bit different)

 

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Here, Solitarire is bound and about to be sacrificed to a poisonous snake like Baines earlier in the film, in a scene you’d probably expect to see in a King Kong film, not in a Bond film.

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However, Bond withdraws his shot when the snake ritual abruptly switches to another thing, Baron Semedi, rising from his “grave”. What follows is pretty weird, as Bond opens fire on Samedi and the revelers; killing the snake man and apparently hitting Samedi too, but it turns out to be perhaps a wooden dummy. However, before it collapses, it’s eyes roll up, which is kind of weird.

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After Bond saves Solitare, Semedi (the real one?) emerges from his grave again, and challenges Bond to a machete fight, as Bond has just used up his ammo already.Related image

Quess he didn’t follow his own advice years before…”That’s a smith and wesson, and you’ve had your six.”

 

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Bond manages to knock Semedi into a casket of snakes, where they bite and poison him to death…or do they? and uses the Baron’s grave to gain access to Kananga’s underground base. Kananga seems a bit more genial here, much more upbeat and less angry than his earlier appearances in the film. Here, he takes Bond’s other weapon-a shark gun that shoots compressed air bullets (presumably if Bond needed to swim his way out?) which he then gleefully uses on a couch.

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Kananga says that the explosives which have now destroyed the poppy fields have only damaged part of his operations, and that he can rebuild easily with Bond out of the way. As Felix makes another ironic quote about Bond getting ‘tied up’, Bond in fact does get tied up, over a pool of sharks-and with Kananga cutting his arm so it’ll attract sharks.

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Parodied of course later on in “Austin Powers…”

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But like Austin later on with his floss, Bond’s got a little dues ex machina of his own. Not only does his watch of course function as a magnet-which he uses to get one of the bullets-but the watch also doubles as a small saw!

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Escaping and facing Kananga in a brief stand off, Bond manages to overpower him and they both go into the water, where Bond feeds him the bullet. And we’re given perhaps the most ridiculous (and fairly grainy, for some reason) death in the series, as he pretty much turns into a balloon and bursts (although it’s totally bloodless).

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But, like Diamonds Are Forever and the next film, we’re given a post-villain scene where the henchman tries to get revenge. Bond tries to teach Solitare a game of cards (in this case, Gin rummy).

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But it turns out Tee-Hee has gotten a ride and wants vengeance for his boss, and so we’re given one of those Bond cliches, the train fight. There’s a brief fight here but Bond quickly manages to damage and jam Tee-Hee’s arm, throwing him-and then his mechanical arm-off the train. We get a kind of double joke here-Solitaire saying “That wasn’t very funny!” since she was stuck in her bed for most of the fight (an unintentional joke to Tee-Hee’s constant giggling) and Bond saying “Just being disarming, darling).

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But that’s not it, yet-the final shot of the movie is Baron Semedi on the very front of the train, laughing!

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It’s not ever followed up on, of course, unless you count the Goldeneye 64 mission.

 

Although it’s a bit bizzare in going for the more supernatural than the fantastic, Live and Let Die I feel is a far more polished, good looking, fast-paced and entertaining film than “Diamonds Are Forever”, and easily the strongest of the “Guy Hamilton trilogy” of early 70’s Bond films. Sure, it’s got some silly moments like it’s predecessor, but somehow with Moore it works far better than the usually more serious Connery. It also doesn’t really hit you over the head with it’s location the way “Diamonds” did, and unlike Diamonds-which was mainly stuck in Vegas-feels like more of a globe-trotting adventure, leading perhaps to Bond locations being somewhat more varied in later films (Especially The Spy Who Loved Me, for instance). Although Moore hasn’t quite fit perfectly into the role yet, he comes across far more friendly here than his somewhat more mean-spirited performance in his next film. In addition to the supernatural angle, it also departs in a few other ways from formula, perhaps to distinguish itself more from the Connery films-Bond’s intro for instance quickly getting the briefing out of the way, and in a different setting than M’s office; and of course the total absence of Q.

This kind of ends the “Bond in Review” of the regular Bond films, but at some point I’ll post a review of Connery’s return to the role, in the interesting 1983 Thunderball remake, Never Say Never Again.

 

 

Bond in Review: Live and Let Die Part III

Bond’s trip to New Orleans is unfortunately almost cut short when he ends up in the same cab with Mr. Big’s taxi driver from New York, and is taken back to the airport. It’s here we meet Adam, who has probably the most normal-sounding name of any Bond henchman ever….and this is in a film with henchmen named Tee-Hee, Whisper, and Baron Semedi.

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Adam and the cab driver inform Bond he’s going “skydiving” over the bayou-without a parachute. (although Bond would later do so in Moonraker, pictured below fortunately there was a villain with a parachute nearby and Bond somehow steers with his butt. Still a great stunt though).

 

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However, Solitare quickly improvises a false betrayal of Bond, pretending to hit him with his handbag, allowing a distraction to sucker punch Adam and quickly escape to a nearby plane, where he proceeds to-like the earlier scene with the bus-drive around-and generally damage-the plane while the villains crash trying to keep up with him, with the bewildered Mrs. Bell as his passenger, who just wanted to get a flying lesson. I find it kind of funny that the shot that introduces her, and the shot that closes the scene are exactly the same.

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After Felix handles the complaints of the actual flight instructor, Bond and Felix head to another Filet of soul restaurant, although Bond decides to *not* sit next to the wall this time. Meanwhile, Bond’s other ally Strutter suffers the same fate as the New Orleans agent in the opening sequence, and we get an unintentional joke from Felix: “I hope he isn’t laying down on the job”.

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Here we get a lounge singer singing the title tune, although with a female voice instead of Paul McCartney. It’s one of the few times in the films we hear the film’s song as something other than an instrumental soundtrack, and it helps that the lyrics don’t really have much to do with the film itself. I couldn’t see somebody say, in “Goldfinger” singing the theme song at Goldfinger’s ranch or something like that.

Although Bond doesn’t get flipped through the wall this time, his chair does descend to another of Mr. Big’s hideouts (which I’m sure is pretty much the same set from earlier.) With the recaptured Solitaire, Mr.Big quizzes Bond if whether Bond “messed” with Solitaire, and cost her powers. Bond, being a gentleman, refuses to answer, but if he must he’d rather speak to Kananga. Mr. Big, to the suprise of no one, rips off his fake hair and mask and reveals he was really Kananga the whole time, and we get your Bond villain monologue.  His villainous plot is strictly small potatoes. He’s using the dual identities-and Samedi scaring people away from the fields-as a pipeline to distribute his drugs, giving it away for free so that there will be a monopoly. It’s not exactly starting World War III so people can migrate into underwater cities, or even Goldfinger’s elaborate fort knox plan. Still, it’s in keeping with the more realistic schemes in the novels, and actually is a bit of an improvement on the original novel, where Mr. Big was mainly concerned with Gold pirate coins to help finance the Soviets in the cold war(The name “Kananga” is actually an invention for the film, which I’ll explain shortly). Dalton’s films would also feature somewhat scaled down drug-smuggling plots-and indeed, elements of the “Live and Let Die” novel would make their way into Dalton’s second film as well.

 

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We get a tense scene where Kananga takes Bond’s watch, and asks Solitare to tell him if the numbers he reads are correct-and he’ll have Tee-Hee start snipping Bond’s fingers off with every wrong answer. None of them are right, but he spares Bond for the moment just so he can get really angry at Solitare-and then leaves her to Semedi, who lets out this great laugh as he burns her cards. Then she pretty much vanishes for the next half hour of film.

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Bond is taken to a crocodile farm. In reality, this place was owned by an actual man named Kananga, so that’s where the name in the movie comes from (I’m guessing they scouted out this location before writing the final script). After an ill-fated attempt to use his magnetic watch to escape using a nearby boat, Bond then uses the crocs as stepping stones.

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40 years later, a different Bond would make a similar approach in Skyfall, although with CG Komodo dragons.

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Bond escapes in another boat-this time a speedboat, and we get the film’s famous speedboat chase. Or infamous, since it introduces J.W Pepper.

 

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While “Diamonds are Forever” of course had a “Keystone cop” sequence-and so would Roger Moore’s swan song, View To A Kill-Live and Let Die-Sheriff J.W Pepper is a whole other level, sort of a stereotype “redneck” character. This movie came out a few years before “Smokey and the Bandit”, so it’s not really them taking off another genre with a similar antagonist. The chase itself is pretty good, with a nice number of stunts including this one:

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Bond’s own chase isn’t as related to Pepper, it’s mainly collateral damage, especially when his car-destroyed by one of Kananga’s boats-and later his brother-in law Billy Bob who gets knocked out by Adam.

 

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The chase also gets one of Kananga’s men stuck in a swimming pool, but also ruins a wedding as well. Right at the “If any man…” part via a boat ramming into a wedding cake. oops. Weddings in James Bond films rarely seem to go well-not only for Bond and Felix, but for the bystanders.

 

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Before he left, Bond would again ruin another wedding in “View to a Kill”. Between the cop comedy and this, I’ve got to wonder if these were somewhat deliberate nods to this film.

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Finally, Bond is able to blind Adam, and push him into a nearby open tanker, causing an explosive collision. After all the havoc, we get this pretty funny exchange when Bond pops up to reunite with Felix.

Pepper:What are you?Some kind of doomsday machine, boy?Well, we’ve got a cage strong enough to hold an animal like you here!

Felix:Captain, enlighten the sheriff, please.

Captain:Yes, sir.JW, let me have a word with you. now this fella’s from London, England.

He’s an Englishman workin’ in cooperation with our boys.A sort of secret agent.

Pepper: Secret agent?!On whose side?!

Next: Back to San Monique!

 

Bond in Review: Live and Let Die Part II

Bond-and the audience-arrive in San Monique, and we’re immediately introduced to Baron Semedi, another one of Kananga’s henchmen, “The man who cannot die” and perhaps one of the most supernatural aspects of the film. Here, he’s giving a bizzare stage show while Bond checks into his hotel.

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Samedi-who has a very deep voice and laugh-is played by the late Geoffrey Holder.

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The character is certainly one of the most memorable henchmen in Bond, and got a spot in the “Goldeneye” game:

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and his later look in the film seems to have inspired Bond’s “Day of the Dead” costume in SPECTRE:

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Bond, checking into the hotel, is told that a “Mrs. Bond” has already checked in. Another weird slam on Bond’s OHMSS marriage? Like the Moneypenny thing in the last movie, Bond seems slightly perturbed, but that’s about it.

 

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Here Roger’s cigar makes it’s first appearence (although like his harder edge in the first two films, it didn’t stick around for long) and is used with spectacular effect as he combines it with aftershave to torch a snake.

Oddly enough, this sort of relates to another hobby of mine, Metal Gear-in which Solid Snake improvises a similar attack against Big Boss at the end of Metal Gear II. Big Boss of course, started off as “Snake” himself-the original.

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After this, we quickly meet Rosie, a CIA agent reportedly working with Felix, but who also, of course, was the woman assigned to the ill-fated agent Baines. She’s kind of portrayed as a bit jumpy, especially when she finds a bloody hat with chicken fingers on the bed.

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We do get a funny Moore line here:

It’s just a hat, darling,

belonging to a small-headed man who lost a fight with a chicken.

The next morning, Bond gets a tarot card-an upside down Queen of cups, hinting that Rosie might not be what she seems. It’s never quite made clear who gave him the card, as it’s never really brought up again. Solitare makes the most sense but she’s not quite on Bond’s side yet…

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Here we meet Quarrel Jr., the son of Bond’s ally in Dr. No, and like Quarrel himself in Dr.No we’re initially led to believe he might be one of the bad guys, but just like in Dr.No, he’s one of the good guys, working with Bond and Felix like his father did. This actually is partially due to the fact that while in the book continuity Quarrel Sr. helped Bond during the events of Live and Let Die (and later died in Dr.No) The movies were adapted in a different order, and Quarrel Sr. was killed off in Dr.No, the first film.

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This also briefly recreates part of the dynamic of Dr.No, when you think about it, with Bond, Felix and Quarrel working together. Although this isn’t Jamacia, it was filmed (in real-life) in Jamacia, so it’s a bit of an interesting callback, especially like Dr.No this is the first film for a Bond. While some aspects of Moore tried to stay away from Connery’s portrayal-for instance Moore smokes cigars, while Connery smokes cigarettes-other aspects are pretty much very Conneryish-especially Moore’s initial approach to the role, although in this film he’s considerably ‘nicer’ than his “Man with the Golden Gun” approach.

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….except to Rosie here, who gives Bond confusing directions about where Baines was killed (Plus Kananga pretty much spells it out that she’s a bad guy on the phone in an ajacent seen) After a sexy picnic, Bond has had enough, and wants to know what’s really going on. Rosie however freaks out and is shot by a scarecrow concealing a gun, another one of the film’s somewhat creepy visuals. Say what you will about the ‘safe’ direction of Guy Hamilton, but his films did have some of the more bizarre Bond images here and there, something that would continue into his next-and final Bond film, The Man With the Golden Gun.

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Kananga is mad that Bond’s not dead, and thinks that Solitaire might be up to something. Speaking of bizarre visuals, her costume in this scene is certainly one.

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After Kananga’s gone, Bond himself sneaks onto Kananga’s fortress via hang glider (smoking a cigar at the same time too!) and confronts Solitaire, with the “lovers” card info, and she quickly falls for him.

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Looks like after his somewhat unsuccessful attempts to woo villainous Bond girls in “Thunderball” and “You Only Live Twice”, Bond is able to turn this one over to the good guys, although she’s lost her card-reading powers as a result. However, she’s somewhat more innocent than either Fiona or Helga (Who were both SPECTRE, anyway). As she’s with Bond, she kind of mumbles some strange weirdness, which kind of gets a slight eye roll from Bond, but now that’s she’s with him, she’s quite eager for further ‘lessons’.

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I’ve lost it.

The High Priestess is wife to the Prince no longer of this world.

The spiritual bridge to the secret church.

Bond enlists Solitaire’s help to find out what Rosie was trying to hide in the fields nearby. They are greeted by Samedi, whose flute doubles as a transmitter to tell Kananga that Bond is being nosey.

 

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Bond discovers that the fields guarded by the scarecrows and Samedi is in fact poppy fields for heroin. After nearly being shot down by helicopters, Bond and Solitare board a rusty double decker San Monique bus, and then get chased by Kananga’s police force.

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While this scene might seem a bit like the Space buggy one from Diamonds Are Forever-Bond being able to outmaneuver his pursuers in a clumsy vehicle (and we’ll see more scenes like this in Roger Moore film’s later on-Particularly For Your Eyes Only and View to A kill), it seems to work a lot better-there’s more of a sense of speed, there’s far less goofy music (Here, it’s the instrumental version of the title theme), and despite being old and rusty, the bus doesn’t look half as silly as the buggy. Plus there’s a great bit where the whole second deck is sheared off by a bridge, landing on the pursuing car.

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“Sweet mother of pearl!” as Quarrel Jr. says as Bond quickly makes his escape, boarding the boat-and Bond gets ready to investigate the final agent murder-in New Orleans, where there’s obviously another connection going on.

Of course now Bond’s made Kananga extra angry by taking his woman and his psychic, and Solitaire knows it…..next stop: New Orleans.