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Octopussy (1983)

Bond
James Bond

All time so-so
All time so-so

Bond: Roger Moore (MoonrakerLive And Let Die)

Bond Girl: Octopussy  Played By: Maud Adams (The Man With the Golden GunRollerball)
Bond Villain: Kamal Khan  Played By: Louis Jourdan (Letter from an Unknown Woman • Gigi)
Bond Villain: General Orlovby  Played By: Steven Berkoff (Barry LyndonRambo: First Blood Part II)
Villain's Goon: Gobinda  Played By: Kabir Bedi (The Beast of War)
Villain's Goon: The Knife Juggling Twins  Played By: David and Tony Meyer
Villain's Goon: Thug with Yo-yo  Played By: William Derrick


Genre: Action Adventure Thriller (UK, USA)

Directed By: John Glen (Licence To Kill • The Living Daylights)

Overview: With the death of Agent 009 and the fake Fabergé egg he clutched in his cold dead clown hand, Bond is sent to investigate a circus-fronted smuggling ring. A more sinister plot? But of course! A rogue Russian General plans to make a political point with the detonation of a nuclear bomb.

 

From awesome intro to crappy credits that show us exactly what's wrong with the 80s and straight back to awesome with a clown being chased by knife-throwing juggler twins, Octopussy explodes in a quirky mix of Double-You-Tee-Eff!

Let us begin with a little overview [see Overview]. Now that that's done, let's get into the criticism. Octopussy is certainly a roller coaster of mixed emotion. As one who strongly recalls the 80s from childhood, I'm still, to this day, surprised at moments where the 80s streak was ever so ripe. Shows like "Miami Vice" and "Battle of The Planets" give me those gut-wrenching "but I remember it being so awesome! What is wrong with me?!" moments that usually blend great memories with bad clothes, huge hair, gaudy make-up and atrocious synth music. Ah yes, does Octopussy ever twist the worst-music-ever knife, but don't take my word for it, read the lyrics for yourself. No the song isn't called 'Octopussy', which right there would have spawned a great song; rather it's called 'All Time High', as performed by this 80s maniac freak, Rita Coolidge.

Oh Rita, why?

All I wanted was a sweet distraction for an hour or two.
Had no intention to do the things we've done.
Funny how it always goes with love, when you don't look, you find.
But then we're two of a kind, we move as one.

We're an all time high,
We'll change all that's gone before.
Doing so much more than falling in love.
On an all time high,
We'll take on the world and wait.
So hold on tight, let the flight begin.

I don't want to waste a waking moment; I don't want to sleep.
I'm in so strong and so deep, and so are you.
In my time I've said these words before, but now I realize
My heart was telling me lies, for you they're true.

And you know, if Bond's about anything, it's falling in love and having deep philosophical moments about finding love. Definitely not a good start. Might I add the opening credits had a laser light show playing on the silhouetted bodies of the credit girls, and no it wasn't cool, it was Miami Vice fruitcake.

Luckily, the terror ends there, and we rocket back up to a high point because from that point on, the plot is thick with villains: Octopussy the smuggler is in league with Kamal Khan. Kamal Khan is in league with Orlov, a Russian General with a megalomaniacal streak. But no, Octopussy doesn't make the mistake of Spiderman 3: Bucket Full of Villains; Octopussy actually develops these characters enough to keep us entertained. And the scores of worthy goons is a welcome addition. From knife throwing circus performers to a eunuch-strengthed guard, to a man with a steel saw yo-yo weapon worthy of any ninja action flick. What I found most enjoyable is how James Bond whips out some of the doucheyest behaviour of any film yet: with an obvious hate on for Kamal, Bond not only forces the man to pay extra for a Fabergé egg up for auction, but he plays a game of backgammon with him, cheating him at his own loaded-dice game all the while so elegantly thumbing his nose at him. You just know Kamal's death will be glorious, just as the 'getting even' assassination attempts will be.

But wait, there's still more crap to sift through! We also find, for the first time, a Bond-bedded lady with serious health issues, namely 'Is she hot, skinny like that, or am I seeing distinct signs of anorexia-induced malnutrition?' Strange hands, thin hair, sunken features, and facial muscle movements that cry anything but sex appeal. Oh James, take her to treatment!

But you can't forget such awesome parts that include whole scenes that take place on circus trains and circus tents complete with clowns and human cannonballs, not to mention a siege full of agile circus performers flipping and knifing as Bond runs around to get 'er done.

In short, although there are a few atmosphere-rattling moments in this production, mostly attributable to the 1980s it was spawned from, we have in Octopussy enough twists to still make it a top-class Bond film, and no I'm not referring to her tentacles. 

Bond Gadgets:
A one-man jet with collapsible wings
A miniature microphone/homing device put in a Fabergé Egg with a receiver in an acid spewing pen
A watch with a tracking device

Performance: 9 Cinematography: 8 Script: 8 Plot: 9 Mood: 8

Overall Rating: 84% (Grabs Ya!)
SuperSpyStats

Personal bodycount: 15

Foiled Assassinations: 4

Near Misses: 0

Dames Bedded: 2

Martinis Drank: 0

What's all this?

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Wow, 84% that's generous.  I would say this one ranks among the worst Bond films ever!  But that's the unique thing about this series everyone has their own tastes and favorites no matter how strange they may be.  I think the only thing I liked about this film was probably the poster!


I sometimes surprise myself with my ratings, but the acting was consisten and so was that outrageous plot. I just really like how everything played out. I found it simple to compartmentalize the bits I didn't like, like tertiary characters and bad music.

Let's see what comes from Grace Jones tonight...

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