Live and Let Die (1973)
A New Bond to Kill
Warning: this review does contain a few vague spoilers.
Live and Let Die is the 8th Official James Bond film which has James getting into deep voodoo as he searches for the cause of missing agents. It stars Roger Moore as James Bond, Yaphet Kotto, and Jane Seymour.
Welcome to the Roger Moore era of the 007 movies, and with a new official James Bond, we get a whole new look at the future of the franchise. Unlike Lazenby's Bond, Moore's character felt like a new character that was written just for him, and it paid off immensely. James Bond isn't just a normal secret agent, he's the world's hero; a role Roger Moore plays marvellously!
Even the plot took a turn from the standard "take over the world" idea to that of fantasy. I'm won't go into detail about the true plot of the movie, but it is used by a plethora of series and movies, yet none ever reach the realm that Live and Let Die delves into. This story is full of black magic, voodoo, tarot, the living dead, and ritualistic sacrifices. It's insane. The stunts are demented, the characters are crazily foolish (especially those of the local police), the girls are madly in love, and the villains are so completely insane that they make everyone else in the movie seem perfectly normal.
Sure, Bond villains have never been the smartest and understandable bunch, but these swamp-dwellers are underly foolish! Previous villains liked to play with their food (Bond), too, but this movie has 007 in situations that should have meant his death so many times that counting them would be too much work! Worse yet, they have the nasty habit of bringing the invincible hero to places where he can do the most damage as he escapes. Are they high on drugs or something?
Amazingly enough, all this foolishness works. Sure, the believability of this movie is out the window, but all this insanity actually makes Live and Let Die more entertaining than its predecessors. You don't have to think about what is going on, you just have to sit, or lay back, and enjoy the adrenaline-filled ride. That also means that the intelligent mystery elements are gone, but since those themes were never really good in this franchise at that anyway, do we really care?
Plus, Live and Let Die has one of the most iconic and memorable opening sequences of all Bond movies. Paul McCarthy's song with the same name is amazing, and the visuals set the stage for the movie perfectly!
This movie isn't perfect, though. Besides the loss of anything that resembles intelligent thought, we also have to sit through some very sexually degrading themes, some dialogue that is truly groan-worthy, and some escape devices that are unbelievably ridiculous. Yet, surprisingly, these flaws are easily forgettable as the enjoyment of the rest of the movie flows over you.
Obviously, I'm going to recommend this movie. Live and Let Die finally set James Bond apart from all the other secret agent movies, and changed the course of the entire movie franchise. If you chose to avoid the earlier 007 movies, this would be the perfect introduction to this series!
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