Nearly halfway! Again, this is another film I hadn’t seen much of – even though some parts seemed familiar, I can only draw a blank when I think of For Your Eyes Only, perhaps because it’s stuck in between two of the more, how shall I put it, “spectacular” instalments.
Bond lays some flowers on the grave of his late wife Tracy (see OHMSS) and then gets picked up by a helicopter. The chopper gets hijacked by some bald guy with a fluffy white cat using a remote control, eventually Bond manages to get control of the chopper and manages to throw Definitely Not Blofeld down a smokestack. It’s not a good start.
Another Binder sequence, this time it actually features the singer of the title song, Sheena Easton. The song itself is fair enough, it seems kind of familiar as it was a bit of a hit but can’t really be counted as one of the greats.
Bill Conti, perhaps best known for his work on the Rocky series, takes over the sounds and certainly puts his own stamp on it. The last couple of movies already moved beyond the Kenton style, but Conti has really put forth some really out-there material here, for instance there is one sequence that sounds like someone is stabbing a piano to death with a sledgehammer.
The main venues for the action this time around are the snow resort town of Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy (which hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics) and Corfu in Greece, both playing as itself and also pretending to be Spain. All those Mediterranean countries, they can fill in for each other, right?
After Moonraker even the producers decided they couldn’t over any further over the top, so this time around they dialed things down a bit. So instead of crazy megalomanic trying to take over the world, we’re back to a McGuffin plot. A British surveillance vessel pretending to be a Maltese fishing boat, the St Georges, gets blown up by a naval mine (whether it’s deliberate or not, I wasn’t paying attention, I’m afraid) but all hands go down before the ATAC encryption device can be destroyed, so it’s up to Bond to retrieve it before it gets salvaged and sold off to the Russkies.
The Brits asked some guy, Timothy Havelock or whoever, a marine archaeologist to kind of poke around for the wreck of the St George, but he and his wife get shot up on his boat while they’re carrying out the operation. Their daughter Melina (Carole Bouquet) witnesses the killing and is understandably hella pissed off, so she takes matters into her own hands. Along with a crossbow.
Bond gets the tip that the assassin is one Gonzalez, so while he’s doing his initial reconnaisance at the assassin’s pad in “Spain”, Melina shoots the guy before he can spill the beans, although at least Bond gets enough of a look at the person who was about to pay him off, but they’re both spotted, and as someone has activate the anti-theft device on his sweet Lotus, they have to scarper off in her 2CV. The deux chevaux is a bit slow – and crumply – but they managed to get away.
Not all is lost, though, as Bond recalls enough of his paymaster that he can get to Q and use the stupid identikit thingamy based on a Commodore VIC 20 with a dot-matrix printer to work out who the face belonged to.
No, look, we’re not even at that point yet. Be patient, geez.
The Plot Thickens
Anyway, the face belongs to Emile Locque, an assassin in his own right who apparently hangs out in a Ford Cortina – no, the town of Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy (which hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics), so Bond heads there to follow up the lead, since as we know he is fond of a bit of skiing.
There he meets up with his contact Ferrara, who hooks him up with Aristotle Kristatos (Julian Glover), who tells Bond the guy he wants is Columbo. They were old war buddies but Columbo turned to the dark side and now wears a stupid black cybernetic suit with a cape and everything. He even has a codename – The Dove.
Yes, it’s all clear now. Columbo hired Locque who hired Gonzalez. Cool. Bond can shoot Columbo and go home for a shaken not stirred martini … ohh, the ATAC.
Wait, I’m Not Sure What Point You’re Up To
To tell you truth, neither do I.
So Where Were We?
Cortina D’Ampezzo, the town in northern Italy. It hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics. Please pay attention.
Look, I Only Do Subheadings, This Isn’t In My Job Description
The Plot… Is Still Thickening
Bond gets a good eyeball on Locque as he meets with Kristatos, and as it turns out Kristatos has a bit of an entourage, Bibi Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson), an aspiring ice-skater, and her coach. Bibi immediately has the hots for Bond but Bond isn’t that interested because there actually are some fences he won’t jump. However Bibi also has the hots for Erich Kriegler, who is a buff biathlete (skiing and shooting), so she and Bond go and watch the biathlon to watch him ski and shoot.
Yes, Erich Kreigler is a henchman. As it turns out Kreigler and Locque and Young Tywin Lannister and a bunch of others are all in the service of Columbo, and they all want to kill Bond.
Wait, So You’re Saying They’re –
You only do subheadings, OK?
Anyway they have motocross bikes and that Bond leads them on a merry chase down a ski jump, around a bobsleigh run, several chalets, and I assume some downhill courses as well. Since this is Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy (which hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics). Eventually Bond escapes them all, goes to bid farewell to Bibi, and comes back to his car (a new Lotus Esprit Turbo, not a Ford Cortina) and finds his contact Ferrara dead. Oh well.
Does The Plot Keep Thickening?
Yeah, Bond decamps for Korfu again at some casino (always a bloody casino, Bond does not simply walk into an RSL club and play the pokies) where he wins some cash off Jabba the Hutt’s rancor keeper at Uno, then he meets up with Kristatos again, who points out Columbo and his mistress, the Contessa Lisl von Schlaf. The mistress has a fight with Columbo so Bond takes the opportunity to accompany her back to her place, where they root, because Bond.
Shouldn’t That Go In “The Squeeze” Section?
Probably, but we’ll wrap that up a bit later.
In the morning they’re out on a walk on a beach when bloody Locque and his mates ambush the couple in their beach buggies and the Countess gets killed. Then a bunch of new guys ambush everyone else with their harpoons. They all have a dove symbol on their wetsuits, and while Locque buggers off, Bond is captured by *sound of piano being thrown off a cliff and crashing onto the rocks below* Columbo, The Dove.
The Ally… Wait, He’s The Ally?
Yes, it’s your classic red herring. As it turns out it’s Kristatos who wants to pinch the ATAC to sell to the Russkies. You see Milos Columbo, he’s an honourable man, he only smuggles gold, diamonds, cigarettes, that sort of thing, but not heroin. Just watch. He’ll show you Kristatos’ drug warehouse where you can catch up with Locque after he blows it up, and then you can tip Locque’s car over a cliff with the toss of a key. Then you’ll know who to trust. It’s Topol! He played Zarkov in the Flash Gordon movie! Yes, trust Columbo.
So Melina’s An Ally Too
Yeah, of course. And also a squeeze, I guess. Anyway, as I mentioned right at the beginning, Melina’s father was a marine archaeologist, so when they find the wreck of the St Georges, basically she has all the shit they need to get the ATAC out of there. Although it’s a challenge, and Kristatos isn’t far behind, so there’s some underwater shenanigans –
Don’t You Hate Underwater Shenanigans?
Well, in Thunderball it sucked. But this time around they fudged a lot of the underwater scenes with movie magic so it’s not quite so terrible. Anyway, Kristatos sends down his goons to fuck with Melina and Bond, eventually they get the ATAC, but when they re-emerge, Kristatos has taken over the Havelocks’ yacht and grabs the ATAC, and then subjects the two to some keelhauling. Which they manage to escape through some clever forward planning, leaving Kristatos to think they’ve fed the sharks –
I Noticed You’re Not Keen On The Sharks Either
Well, every bloody second Bond movie seems to have a shark in it. I don’t hate them, I just think sharks jumped the shark about the time of The Spy Who Loved Me. Also, please stop interrupting me.
The Plot Congeals
Yeah, so Kristatos has made off with the ATAC, but after Bond and Melina return to their boat, the macaw overheard Kristatos saying they were heading off to St Cyril and repeats it, revealing their next move. Apparently there’s a lot of places named St Cyril in Greece, but Columbo knows which one – it’s an old monastery on top of a rock pillar that can only be accessed by basket or by cliff.
Bond, Melina, Columbo and a few of his men gather at the base. Bond draws the short straw and gets to climb the damned thing, after a few close calls with some minion trying to kick his pegs out, he manages to ascend and let the others in. They infiltrate the base with the assistance of Bibi and her coach who are just tired of the whole thing. At the bitter end Melina really really wants to shoot Kristatos with her crossbow but while Bond starts regaling her with the old “revenge is bad” spiel (yeah, we’ll see about that in a few years), Columbo throws a knife into his old mate’s back.
Old Mate Gogol turns up in a chopper direct from Moskau to collect the merchandise, Bond says with a stupid smirk “you can’t have it, comrade”, and hurls the ATAC into the void.
Bond sticks his fists into the air in triumph, the frame freezes, then Kanye West’s “Power” strikes up and plays over the credits while Bond and Melina rut like wild insatiable beasts on the yacht as the sun sets.
C’mon, That’s Not The Real Ending? The Film Was Made In 1981
Because it’s 1981, the real ending has a Margaret Thatcher impersonator talking to a parrot.
Oh Yeah, I Much Prefer The Kanye Ending
I think Kanye could make a fucking fantastic Bond theme. He’s certainly enough of a megalomaniac to be an ’80s Bond villain.
So What Did You Reckon?
Meh. Mediocre. The action scenes were pretty great, actually, and the performance of the players was adequate, and I get that they had to get back to basics, but the plot was all over the place like a mad dog’s vomit. Basically an excuse for more ski and underwater stunts, with a couple of new locations thrown in. But, brrrpt, it’s not gonna make my Top Ten at the end of all this.
I’m giving it 13 pistachio nuts out of 20. I’m allergic to those things, by the way.