Bonding with Bond, Day 10: The Man with the Golden Gun

Community Manager Ryan Fujitani is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

Roger Moore made a very good Bond debut with Live and Let Die, so today's film, The Man with the Golden Gun, would show me how well his portrayal would hold up.


The Man with the Golden Gun

One thing I've noticed about the two Roger Moore films I've seen so far is that, yes, while they are more playful and light in tone, they seem to have ramped up the action and stunts. In other words, they are closer to what a blockbuster film as we know it today might be, and perhaps they were, in fact, the trendsetters for the big action pieces we regularly see at the theaters. Having said that, I thought The Man with the Golden Gun started off promisingly, but quickly became a bit dull and ended up disappointing me overall. I had a better experience with Live and Let Die, but I'm also already comfortable with the sort of Bond that Roger Moore will be.

As I mentioned, the beginning scenes gave me high hopes for the remainder of the film. The first thing that set my heart aflutter was the appearance of Nick Nack (better known to me as Tattoo from the TV show Fantasy Island), dressed in a butler's outfit and carrying a tray of champagne to an attractive woman sunbathing on a beach. So far so good. As he approaches the woman, no less than Christopher Lee steps out of the surf to join them. Finally, as if Tattoo, a beautiful woman in a swimsuit, and Christopher Lee weren't enough, we soon get a close-up of Lee's chest, which reveals the curious presence of a third nipple! Throw in a shootout amongst carnival games and funhouse attractions, and I'm not sure I could have conceived a better intro if I was on acid.

Now, I won't go so far as to say it was all downhill from there, but the movie certainly failed to maintain the same kind of entertainment value for its duration. The plot focuses on an assassin-for-hire, Francisco Scaramanga (Lee), who takes over a Chinese businessman's shady enterprises to take control of some form of advanced solar cell, but the movie often loses sight of its plot and spends too much time on Bond-centered vignettes. The martial arts school scene, the boat chase immediately following, and the car chase, impressive as it was, are all examples of this. Pure action for the sake of action, which I suppose is not always a bad thing, especially when you have muscle cars doing barrel rolls over rivers and transforming into auto-planes.

I also thought the reappearance of Sheriff Pepper from Live and Let Die was completely unnecessary. I didn't find his comic relief to be all that relieving in the first Moore film, and I didn't find him any more endearing or enjoyable here. His role also smacked of a bit of racism, what with his calling all the Asians he encountered "pointy-heads," but in a film where a Chinese tycoon lives in Thailand and displays statues of Japanese sumo wrestlers in his garden, I suppose that's to be expected.

All the usual Bond conventions are present as well. There are cutesy names like Mary Goodnight and Chew Me; Bond conspires with his enemy's (Scaramanga's) mistress, Andrea Anders (played by Maud Adams), to defeat him; Scaramanga treats Bond to first class service, including a full tour and explanation of his evil toys; and his enemy's henchman (Nick Nack, in this case) reappears in the final minutes after his boss has been defeated, only to be easily handled by Bond. These are not criticisms by any means; in fact, they are more like a warm blanket and a hot cup of tea, reminding me I'm at home in familiar territory.

The Man with the Golden Gun wasn't terrible, but I didn't think it was one of the stronger Bond films either. The action, superfluous as it was, actually managed to wow me on a couple of occasions, and Christopher Lee is probably one of the most capable actors to be featured in any installment thus far. Bond himself also showed a bit of his "old" self, manhandling an uncooperative Anders a bit and playing "bad cop" for the first half of the film before settling back into his charming ways. I thought the movie could have done without Sheriff Pepper, as I mentioned, and the final duel between Bond and Scaramanga was so poorly shot and edited, in my opinion, that I wasn't really able to follow along, making it rather less exciting than it should have been. It seems a good number of people enjoyed The Spy Who Loved Me, so hopefully that will yield a better viewing for me.

My favorite line: Tossup between "I've never killed a midget before, but there can always be a first time," and "He must have found me quite titillating," the latter being spoken after Bond applies a prosthetic third nipple to fool someone into thinking he's Scaramanga.

My favorite moment: This has to be when Scaramanga escapes the car chase by attaching giant wings to the top of his car and flying off. Bond stares up at the sky with a look on his face that almost made me think he was going to say, "Where does he get those wonderful toys?"

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Comments

Jen Yamato

Jen Yamato

OMG Best. Screengrab. Ever.

Oct 30 - 04:53 PM

Shawndorman

Shawn Eastridge

I think the 3rd nipple is what makes the movie. Already not being a fan of Roger Moore, this film did not do anything to help improve his status in my eyes. However, the Spy who Loved Me really is one of the best and definitely Moore's finest moment as Bond. Sheriff Pepper is the Jar Jar Binks of Live and Let Die and the Man with the Golden Gun. You'll be thrilled to know that he does not make another appearance in the series again.

Oct 30 - 05:13 PM

BatsInTheBelfry

Derek Meadors

Spy Who Loved me is good (and has my favorite Bond song of all). But after that you get Moonraker, which is not so good. Golden Gun is one of many Bond films to get a first rate actor as the villain and stick him in a mediocre movie, like Christopher Walken in A View to a Kill. Have fun, keep up the write-ups, I find them quite enjoyable.

Oct 30 - 05:43 PM

Almost.Famous

adam ramberg

I had almost the same reaction to the this one. Got very dull and boring and times. But not bad. Poor woman when she saw the third nipple xD. Looking forward to the spy that loved me tomorrow. Definitley one of my favorite bond movies.

Oct 30 - 05:48 PM

inactive user

Jared King

I hear this one of the,(nipple) if not THEE, weakest Bond movie. You're description only adds to what I've (nipple) heard. I might see (nipple) it but it's that shot Christopher Lee's third nipple that makes me iffy. VERY IFFY! Thanks for the nighmares.

Oct 30 - 05:55 PM

blattman

Mike Greenblatt

The Spy who Loved Me is next, cool. I liked that one a lot more then the next couple. It even has a great theme song.

Oct 30 - 05:59 PM

inactive user

Jared King

NIPPLE! GET OUT OF MY MIND! AAAAAAAAAAA! OH WHY WHY WHY! DISGUSTING YUCK GROSS! GET IT OUT OF MY MIND!

Oct 30 - 06:00 PM

KingSigy

Numna Stingdoo

This isn't the weakest ledawg, let me promise you that, lol. I always thought this movie was idiotic, but its a lesser of Moore's films, which is surprisingly sad. Good luck with the rest of Moore, though, you're going to need (on another note, keep up these wonderful write ups).

Oct 30 - 06:11 PM

kaitune

Punyaruk Baingern

I am Thai and I found watching this film to be unintentionally very funny (my family had a hard time trying to watch it without cracking up every ten minutes or so). I have expected the film to be stereotyping Asians as well as some racist jokes to be thrown in, so I wasn't so offend by that. However, I was greatly annoyed by the sheriff too. I was slightly pissed by his appearance and his not-so-funny redneck's jokes in Live and Let Die. I wonder why the producer put him in two Bond's films in row. Was his character popular when Live and Let Die just came out?

I haven't watch The Spy Who Loved Me yet, looking forward to see you reviewing it!

Oct 30 - 06:19 PM

Boyo

Raymond Hopkin

Yeah, spot on with the write up, enjoyable but not the greatest. I remember watching the car turn into a plane the first time and loving it, I think Moores films did bring in a younger audience into becoming Bond fans (not such a bad thing).

You didn't mention the golden gun! Amazing! I loved the way he put it together!

Oct 30 - 06:23 PM

martinscorsese25

christopher cantos

Spy who loved me is Moore's best... second is For your eyes only... but FYEO had few disgusting things, especially when moore flirts with women. he's like a grandpa there... And there is the young athlete girl there who is beautiful and is attracted to Moore which is very hard, and i mean very hard to believe...

Oct 30 - 06:25 PM

Boyo

Raymond Hopkin

Hey kaitune, yes, he was very, very popular. Think about it, this is the era of Burt Reynolds and Smokey and the bandit!

Oct 30 - 06:28 PM

sunsaz

Chris Moore

The car chase was awesome while the Bond girl was more worthless than a martini in a dry county. Moore's 3rd worst Bond outing.

Oct 30 - 06:51 PM

inactive user

Jared King

OH GOD THE NIPPLE STILL HAUNYS ME!

Oct 30 - 07:50 PM

inactive user

Jared King

HAUNTS ME! WITH A "T" NOT A "Y"!

Oct 30 - 08:17 PM

indiefilmfan2

Brandon R

I always thought Man with the Golden Gun to be one of the more underrated Bonds. Granted, it's not in the same league as the top tier of Bonds and there are certainly at least a couple of Moore Bonds that are better but it's not as dull as it's made out to be. On a side note, the Bond song for this is awful and very close to bottom.

The Spy Who Loved Me is the film that really defines the Moore era more than any other.

Oct 30 - 08:18 PM

ck100

Chris Kubat

I think Moore and co. were still finding their rhythm with this movie. I find TMWTGG to be one of the weakest Moore movies, but it's still not bad. It's worth a watch. It seems the plot here was kind of second fiddle toward the action and such like RT-Ryan said. Still, Lee is probably Moore's best Bond villain and the girls look nice. Well now we're getting to the movie where Moore and co. finally found their rhythm and shook off Connery's shadow. That, of course, is "The Spy Who Loved Me". Looking forward to the review!

Oct 30 - 08:33 PM

Comment

Craig Smith

I thought Sherrif Pepper randomly rocking up was well done, gave me a laugh. I'm sure you will enjoy The Spy Who Loved Me, namely because of the best henchman.

Oct 30 - 09:47 PM

golrush007

Matt Raubenheimer

The Man With The Golden Gun is a film with plenty of potential which sadly fails to deliver. As you said, the opening is promising, and I happen to be one of the minority who likes Lulu's title song. I find Nick Nack to be an amusing character, and Christopher Lee to be a great Scaramanga. The trouble is the execution is not all it should be, I think the filmed was rushed to get it out quickly and capitalise on the success of Live And Let Die. Also, it has some ludicrous moments - why does Hip drive off and abandon Bond as they leave the karate school, for instance?? I think the barrel roll stunt, with its idiotic sound effect, is a metaphor for the movie as a whole - great idea, but messed up in the execution.

Oct 30 - 10:25 PM

markbart0305

Mark Bartoszek

The Spy Who Loved Me is a terrific Bond film, and Moore's best outing. However, the one that comes after, Moonraker, is arguably the worst Bond film in the series. For me, it's a toss-up between Die Another Day and Moonraker.

I haven't seen The Man with the Golden Gun in a while, but I do agree that it's not as exciting as its premise would lead you to believe. I mean, Bond going after an assassin with a golden gun played by Christopher Lee? That should make for an awesome movie, but alas, it was anything but. The final duel between them was awfully disappointing.

Oct 30 - 10:55 PM

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