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Man With The Golden Gun, The (1974)

James Bond

Quite the busy poster, but she works!
Quite the busy poster, but she works!

Bond: Roger Moore (Moonraker Octopussy)

Bond Girl: Goodnight  Played By: Britt Ekland (Get Carter (1971) • The Wicker Man (1973))
Bond Villain: Francisco Scaramanga  Played By: Christopher Lee (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy • Count Dracula (1970))
Villain's Goon: Nick Nack  Played By: Hervé Villechaize ("Fantasy Island"Forbidden Zone)

Genre: Action Adventure Thriller (UK) 

Directed By: Guy Hamilton (Diamonds Are ForeverLive and Let Die

Overview: Francisco Scaramanga is one of the world's best assassins. When MI6 receives a gold bullet with Bond's number on it, they have no doubt who it's sender was. Fearing for his life, M reassigns Bond. For his part, James decides to make his next case finding The Man With The Golden Gun before Francisco finds him. Oh! And of course in doing so, foil yet another, bigger, more sinister plot.

 At this point in my Bond study, nine films in and nearly half-way through, I've grown to have some expectations based on what I've known is possible. Thunderball (epic action) is at war with Live and Let Die (oddball characters and great mood) for personal favorite, and knowing that The Man With The Golden Gun doesn't really have either of those things going for it, well that makes it clear to me that this one isn't one of 007's best offerings.

Sure it's fun - it's not all that easy finding a Bond film that isn't - and there are an incredible amount of good things going for it: the energy crisis subplot, poignant and topical for 1974 as much as it is for today, a Bond Girl who actually works for MI6 (can we say trading up from the good old days of Moneypenny?), and a Goon that's definitely top three in my personal Bond favorites, but this humble blogger of yours found the comic relief all too distracting for my liking. And yes, I know it's supposed to be campy, but this degree of yokel dips this film into the schlock department:

1.) Looooziana Shurf Peppah is back spitting his wad of tabakky juice. Yes, the man I somewhat reluctantly accepted in Live and Let Die is back, how convenient that, in the very next Bond film, he would go on vacation to the very same city that James is working in, and what are the odds that he'd actually run into him. Damn, and he brought his fat Looooziana wife.

2.) Not that I haven't mentioned how Bond films make Americans look about as noble as the Pope pinching one off, but the Brits definitely go overboard in The Man With The Golden Gun, even with my non-PC - dare I say even race-humour-loving - ways. Yes, every time a Thai person messes up, ends up soaked in the river, Hell even if they're nearby, Sherrif Pepper needs to tell them that they're backwards countried pointy heads.

You read me right: Pointy Heads. For those of you not entirely certain, yeah that's racist. And he doesn't just do it once. It's a constant.

3.) When 007 needs to engage in a car chase to follow the people who kidnapped the as-yet-unbedded Bond Girl, Pepper absolutely needs to tag along, lending an extra 350 pounds of mass to the AMC Hornet Bond drives to chase her down with. What could have been an exciting car chase that climaxes into an aerial corkscrew across a broken bridge ends up being absolutely molested when the stunning slow motion stunt is accompanied by the glorious and engaging sound effect of a slide whistle.

Jesus God Damn.

Herve Villechaize: Goon... distiguished Cordon Bleu Chef... short
Herve Villechaize: Goon... distinguished Cordon Bleu Chef... short

Performance: 8 Cinematography: 8 Script: 7 Plot: 8 Mood: 7

Overall Rating: 76% (A Touch Too Brassy)

Personal bodycount: 1

Foiled Assassinations: 4

Near Misses: 1

Dames Bedded: 2

Martinis Drank: 0

What's all this?

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