Movie Review: A View to a Kill

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James Bond attempts to prevent the destruction of Silicon Valley.

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John Glen, 2014

On a mission to a Siberian hideout, James Bond (Roger Moore) retrieves a microchip that is resistant to an electromagnetic pulse. Bond is sent to investigate its creator, businessman Max Zorin (Christopher Walken), at Ascot Racecourse in England. When Zorin’s horse wins in spite of a lack of pedigree, Bond begins to look into the possibility that Zorin’s horses are being doped. His investigation leads him into the middle of an assassination, and he pursues the assassin, Zorin’s sidekick May Day (Grace Jones). He meets geologist Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts), who initially blows him off, making him more interested in her. Pretty soon Bond’s prying tips former KGB agent Zorin off to his real identity, and he races against the clock to prevent Zorin from destroying Silicon Valley and taking over the microchip industry.

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Yeah, I didn’t follow the plot of this movie at all. It was unnecessarily confusing, and not in a cool, twisty spy movie way. I think I knew I was in trouble when Bond awkwardly kicked off his skis and got on a snowmobile at the beginning of the film, but once “California Girls” started playing over the snowy chase scene, things really started to look bad. There was some fun bantering between Bond and MI6 agents Tibbett (Patrick Macnee), and their chemistry is at least better than the chemistry between Roger Moore and the wide-eyed, completely pointless Tanya Roberts. The spy business is all ham-fisted and the action sequences are OTT – I stopped having any interest in them once they essentially became “Tanya Roberts damsels, Bond saves her”, although there’s at least one cool moment in the second last action scene (the point at which I realised there was still 15 minutes left in this interminable film). I wonder if they were trying to engage an American audience more with the Silicon Valley stuff, but it mostly falls flat.

Grace Jones stomps all over this film, stealing focus in every single one of her ridiculous scenes and making you miss her desperately whenever she’s not on screen. Christopher Walken is great as well, milking the psychopathic Zorin for all he’s worth, even if his schemes make zero sense. The two of them are good together, much more fun than the good guys. Roger Moore is old, chasing after women who are much younger than him, and the sex scene between he and May Day is just weird – there’s absolutely no reason why she would go for him like that. While the Duran Duran theme song is not bad, the film’s pacing and aesthetic are all over the place. The humour is almost 100% puns. Ultimately it misses the mark of what a Bond film is all about, I think. There’s no reason to be interested in anything that’s happening, no reason to be invested, and the plot is so convoluted that even trying to follow along gave me a headache. It’s not really fun bad, just bad.

A View to a Kill on IMDb

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