A View to a Kill (1985)
On Shaky Ground
Warning: this review does contain a few vague spoilers.
A View to a Kill is the fourteenth James Bond movie, and stars Roger Moore as 007, Christopher Walken, Grace Jones, Patrick Macnee and Tanya Roberts.
The first half of this movie was a typical good Roger Moore Bond movie with a fantastic theme song, a rich variety of characters, a strong villain, a dark mysterious plot, and great toys. The villains were by far the high-point of the entire movie thanks to their wildly unpredictable attitudes. Of course, Christopher Walken always excels in wild and outlandish roles, so it was like the perfect match.
Continuing on the path of having strong female characters, A View to a Kill's May Day really pushed the limits! The best description I can give is a female Jaws without the memorable grill. Yet, she was still intelligent when she needed to be, which made her feel like she was more than hired muscle. Grace Jones may not be a famous actor, but she did a fantastic job in this role!
There was one massive flaw in the first half of the movie, though; it was completely misleading. Yes, that made the plot twist unpredictable, but it felt like two unfinished stories. Why spend so much time on the horse story only to make it completely irrelevant later on? Did we really need to waste so much time just to figure out why the villain was crazy?
Once the first half was out of the way, the entire movie nosedived. I actually enjoyed the direction the story appeared to be heading toward at the ranch, but the sudden change of logistics and threat felt completely out of place. Or, maybe, a massive chunk of the story was cut out that made the transition feel natural. I don't know what happened, but it wasn't good.
The second half of A View to a Kill was a disaster. It is almost as if they decided to pump up the action so Moore left the franchise in a blaze of glory, but there was nothing glorious about it. The facepalms began as soon they reached City Hall, and continued throughout the chase sequence. It only got worse from there. At times it felt like the writers couldn't figure out how to get the plot to the finish they wanted, so they ignored everything which made Bond special, and threw out any logic in the process. What a painful experience.
To make it worse, even the end fight, which they were seemingly willing to do anything to make happen, didn't look as epic as they obviously hoped it would be. Everything from the camera work to the stunts just felt sloppy. I'm sure it didn't help that 007 needed to protect someone while dealing with the people trying to kill him in such a ridiculous place. Why couldn't they just keep the fighting aboard his floating advertisement?
What an awful way to end the Roger Moore era of Bond movies. I wouldn't be surprised if this movie was the reason his acting career nearly stopped after A View to a Kill. All this movie did was show that he wasn't the action hero material he was when he first slipped into 007's suit.
Do yourself a favour and pretend this movie doesn't exist. It had great potential and fantastic acting, but the lazy writing killed this movie. Maybe the next movie with a new Bond will breathe new life into the franchise again...
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