Tag Archives: Roger Moore

The Bond Films – “Moonraker” (1979)


I’ll be reviewing the Movie not the Beer
– Vic


“James Bond investigates the mid-air theft of a space shuttle and discovers a plot to commit global genocide.”

Reviewed by Victor

Directed by Lewis Gilbert

7 out of 10

“Any higher Mr Bond and my ears will pop.”

Poor Poor Roger Moore. Well, kind of. I gotta admit he looked like he had fun making this movie but many Bond fans the world over consider his turn as James Bond in “Moonraker” to be one of the most laughable and over the top entries in the 007 canon. As a die hard James Bond fan I, by default, like to find things to like in all of the movies. But no where like I do in Moonraker. I do hold a special place in my heart for Moonraker since it was the first film I saw in the movie theaters here in Rochester, NY. I must confess coming off of the high that was Star Wars and even Disney’s The Black Hole, Moonraker was a fun watch for me. Perhaps it was because I had still to witness the glory days of how Bond was before Moore with the Connery entries. That was to come much later after I had moved back to NYC and my Uncle and Grandfather insisted I watch “Dr. No” and the rest.

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It’s a pretty simple and decent story about a kind of demented “Noah’s Ark” for the space age which involves the uber-rich Mr Hugo Drax, played with cheeky severance by Actor Micheal Lonsdale. Lonsdale also starred in the fabulous action film “Ronin” from director John Frankenheimer. Here, Drax is the problematic megalo-maniac that has a grand scheme to take over the world and make it his own. Sorta like the aquatic dude in The Spy Who Loved Me. In Moonraker,  Drax  is smooth, menacing and very calculating. He wants to steal all the Moonrakers, or space shuttles for us layman, from around the world and start his own race of super-humans on the earth after he’s purged the current occupants off the face of the planet. That means us, people. This doesn’t hold well with her Majesty’s Secret Service and the ever ready for action, James Bond. Here Moore is very comfortable in his own skin as Bond and he has definitely brought his own charm and grace to 007. Yep, there are the near misses, one liners and the ever present copulations with agents of the female persuasion. By now though it is a bit routine and not very endearing. Lois Chile is very cute, stern and capable as Dr. Goodhead but she’s just well…boring. Her chemistry with Moore really just lasts about 10 minutes then it becomes frosty and by the numbers.

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Of course M (Bernard Lee), Q (Llewelyn) and even Moneypenny ( Lois Maxwell) are fun to watch as they each separately engage 007 in order to ready him for his mission. Moore gets a chance to globe hop of course. Rio being one place where we watch him and Jaws get into fisticuffs during on an aborted skytram ride. Pretty funny stuff as we get to watch Jaws bite in a huge cable with his metal teeth. He runs afoul of Bond a few times one being very comical, the waterfall sequence, and the other quite silly, the parachute scene at the beginning. (Jaws actually flaps his arms like wings…ha,  but it doesn’t work, duh. ) The powerboat chase is very cool and some action pieces come across nicely done but when it gets to outer space it turns into a silly bit of hokum which is appealing to Star Wars lovers like myself but will have more die hard Bond fans scratching their heads. One scene of brilliance I need to mention has to be the Close Encounters of the 3rd kind musical cue pop up as a secret code entry for a lab that has been manufacturing the deadly Drax gas that will descimate the earth’s population. A great reference that is one of many.

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Many think Moonraker is under-rated, fast, freshly paced and full of camp and adventure. I sort of agree. It is under-rated in the spy scheme of things and it does feature Moore actually trying to figure out things that are happening and it does occasionally make for a decent spy picture but nowhere on the level of For Your Eyes Only or even The Man with the Golden Gun. Moonraker, though, is fun and it somewhat tongue in cheek. I do hold it in high regard and I will never forget how much fun I had watching it for the first 5-6 times. After that though, I must give in to the slightly warped universe that is this movie which many fans think is Moore’s best. While I do not, I still think it’s a hell of a lot of fun. If anything watch it for Jaws falling in love and becoming 007’s best friend by the end. Kinda like Godzilla having Jet Jaguar as a pal.

NOTE : “Moonraker” is part of the new Bond 50 Boxed Blu Ray Set – Here is the link to the Blu Ray Review of “Moonraker”


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The Bond Films – “Live and Let Die” (1973)

007 is sent to stop a diabolically brilliant heroin magnate armed with a complex organization and a reliable psychic tarot card reader.

Directed by Guy Hamilton

Reviewed by Victor

7 out of 10

“What are you? Some kinda doomsday machine, boy?”  – Sherriff J.W. Pepper

“Let and Let Die” is Roger Moore’s debut film as the iconic spy James Bond. It is actually the 8th Bond over all with Lazenby and Connery having hung up their gadgets. It’s directed by Guy Hamilton who brought us the classic Connery entry Goldfinger and Remo Williams. I really don’t know what happened but the gears changed somewhat and Hamilton (maybe not solely) not only introduces us to the capable Roger Moore but incorporates a comedic and rather campy approach to the Bond movies. The film is based on the Fleming novel of the same name and was written by Tom Mankiewicz (Superman,  Ladyhawke). Unfortunately upon it’s release america was being subjected to films starring mostly African American actors and actresses. Mostly “Blaxploitation” movies. The filmmakers, I feel, in including stereotypes and ethnic cliches doom the film to some mediocrity and causes the movie to feel dated. But the film being dated is not the only thing that makes LALD a “just ok” Bond movie.

It isn’t really Roger Moore’s fault. The culprit is the story, cheesy acting and campy dialog that would cause me to cringe a bit.  “Just being dis-arming, darling” 25 years ago while having some beers with my cousin, we would have a blast at the film’s expense. We loved it. Only back then though. Now? Well, I don’t think I love it as much. Not after some other much tighter, interesting and diverse entries, even by Moore himself. So how does Moore fare, here? Is he great? No. Does he suck? No, not really. Moore is nowhere as rougish or appealing as Connery in his heydey. Moore’s approach is sauve, slippery and sarcastic. At times somewhat being a parody. In his defense though, Connery’s Diamonds are Forever can be blamed for being a bit off the wall, too.When Moore really wants to, though, he can show us that Bond is in his blood. In LALD it happens infrequently though.

Moore’s intro is quite amusing and well done. He is interrupted by none other than “M” played by the incredibly talented Bernard Lee and Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxell) at his home of all places. He tries his best to hide a girl he’s been fooling with but Moneypenny being the curious woman she is catches the young girl scantily dressed and feeling ashamed. I thought as an intro it was unique and gives us a clear cut picture of Moore’s Bond being just as flirtatious as Connery’s once was. A playboy who just happens to be a spy.

Bond (Moore) is sent to investigate the deaths of three of his colleagues (during a parade in New Orleans is one) and is sent to NYC to find out the connection between their deaths and an underworld mob boss called Kananga AKA Mr Big played  by the always awesome Yaphet Kotto. While in NYC Bond is thrust into another world of secret clubs, (There’s a revolving restaurant table, even!) VooDoo and drugs. Seem like Mr Big wants to move some of the happy H around for free to put other rival gangs out of business. He also runs a fictional island called San Monique where the heroin is farmed.  It is while investigating in NYC that he runs into Felix Leiter after having his driver shot and almost getting killed in a crash. Bond then moves on to the previously mentioned restaurant named Fillet of Soul. It’s here that Bond meets the beautiful Tarot Card reader Solitaire. (The beautiful Jane Seymour) She works for Mr Big but is not his concubine. She needs to be a virgin in order for her to “see” using the tarot cards. Or something like that. I just know Mr Big freaks out after he finds out that Bond eventually sleeps with her.

I want to keep the rest spoiler free or this review will turn into a long recap of the movie. By now many have seen it anyway and those who have not could be surprised and entertained while watching the movie. Suffice it to say the film then follows the typical formula of most Bond films. Or just refer to any of the Austin Powers movies and there you go.

Bond continues his globetrotting and in San Monique he hooks up with Rosie Carver,  a very nervous CIA agent played by Gloria Hendry. While there Moore’s act beefs up a bit when he discovers that Kananga is farming Heroin. Moore looks very damn cool in that slick glider of his. So, what follows all of this that works? We get Tee Hee played by Julius Harris who is a deadly foe with a pincer for a hand. He a bit charming too. He is quite menacing especially during some close calls with Bond. The climatic ending with Harris is great! Harris remains above the material though and gives the production some class. Seymour is impressive as Solitaire here as well. She is very pretty, capable and alluring. She plays very well off Moore and handles the material without a hitch. Kotto works here too. He is bad ass, hip, educated and deadly. He knows how to dispatch secret agents and when he resorts to the tried and true method of using sharks (It’s always sharks isn’t it?) he gets this twinkle in his eye that is a gem. The 7-Up dude, Geoffrey Holder as Baron Semedi, the VooDoo priest that is controlled by Kananga is creepy and has that killer laugh that chills to the bone. He hangs out with the bad dudes but he seems like he just doesn’t care what side he’s on. The actors and the performances for the most part bode well in this 007 production.

Now, when we get back to Louisiana, the movie takes a funky turn. It becomes some weird “Smokey and the Bandit” meets “James Bond” hybrid. We get the incredible and inflated Clifton James (Superman 2) as Sherriff JW Pepper. Pepper is loud, boozy looking, rude and is the redneck stereotype in this movie. I have no idea, other than to supply comedy like a hammer to the head, why the Louisiana boat chase with Pepper was done like it was. The action is breezy and well staged with the boat stunts being exciting and dangerous. Clifton James is lovingly over the top and plays the stereotype with laser precision. He even says that they have themselves some “Black Russians” and I don’t mean the drink! I don’t know what to make of it all. I mean it is a Bond movie, no? Not an episode of Dukes of Hazzard. Funny though, these scenes are truly funny and insane to watch if you just let the movie take you for a ride. It’s good for a giggle but in the end it really serves to make LALD a farcical type of film. Hamilton’s direction is curiously tight here though with great cinematography by Ted Moore (Goldfinger). The art direction by Oscar winner Peter Lamont (Titanic) is slick and servicable. The movie is clean and great to look at.

To sum it all up the film is still fun but a bit dated in parts. It is in no way a serious Bond picture and it will take a few more Moore entries to get that. Moore is likable and very believable even though at times he doesn’t sell being in any real trouble very well.  He transitions neatly I must say in his defense. I even love those huge cigars 007 sucks on too. It takes me back to some really fun times watching it with my cousins in NYC on a late Saturday night. LALD is appealing but none too smart and that’s ok just sit back and let Paul McCartney’s killer tunage reel you in. Enjoy.


When a serious menace threatens MI6, James Bond is on the case — putting aside his own life and personal issues to hunt and obliterate the perpetrators. Meanwhile, secrets arise from M’s past that strain Bond’s loyalty to his longtime boss.

Rating: 10 out of 10

If I sound vague sometimes in the review, it’s only to keep it spoiler free.

It’s a great time to be a fan of James Bond.  Not only has the character evolved over the last 50 years of films, but they have also grown stronger and attracted a higher and higher level of talent both in front of and behind the camera.

Skyfall is a mixture of everything that makes James Bond special and yet reinvents the formula to create a compelling mixture of action and humanity within the Bond universe.  So much of what makes Skyfall stand out is the technical prowess behind the camera from both Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) and Cinematographer Roger Deakins (Shawshank Redemption, No Country For Old Men).  This is the prettiest Bond film to look at of all time. All of the locales each have their own distinct visual styles: Gold and natural light in Asia, deep blues and darkness in Britain, and deep washed out browns in Turkey.  But, you don’t want to hear about the visuals do you?  You want to know whether it has a good story?  Good characters?  Is Daniel Craig his usual ass kicking self?  Yes to all of the above.  Craig has brought so much more to the role than just being a martini sipping quip machine.  He has a past that is explored here including his loyalties to his M, where he comes from, who his parents were, and why he became an orphan.  It adds a humanity to his character that draws you in and Craig’s performance suits this modern Bond so well that I can’t see anyone else in the role.  Supporting work all around is also excellent.  Judi Dench is giving a lot more screen time in this one and she’s typically outstanding, newcomer to the series Naomie Harris is appealing and likable, Ralph Fiennes is great, and Javier Bardem is the best Bond villain ever.  You heard me right….ever.  Why?  The most interesting villains are the ones that aren’t completely single-minded.  He has a damn good reason for wanting revenge against the MI6 agency that Bond works for.  His methods are evil but his reasons are legitimate.  All of it is delivered in a captivating way by Oscar-winner Bardem, who’s ability to play fantastic villains may end up being what he’s best remembered for.

I could go on about all of the action scenes, the terrific dialogue, or the plot progression and pacing, but I’ll close the review with this:  Skyfall is the finest Bond film ever made. There goes our Top 5 Bond Films.

Top 5 Bond Films of All Time


Wth the release of the much-anticipated “Sky Fall” this weekend, we thought it would be the perfect time to break down our list of the Top 5 Bond movies of all time. It wasn’t easy, with so many styles, actors and quoteable lines that stretch generations… but here goes.

5.  License to Kill
Timothy Dalton only acted in two Bond films, but this was certainly his best effort.  This was the polar opposite of the quirky Roger Moore films like “Moonraker” and “A View To a Kill.” This rings truer to the spirit of the Ian Fleming novels.
4.  Goldeneye:
The first and strongest film featuring Pierce Brosnan in the title role.  The climatic ending with baddie Sean Bean 500 feet up in the air is fantastic and the one liners throughout are great.  One of the most fun entries in the series.
3.  For Your Eyes Only:
In my opinion, this is by far the best of the Roger Moore James Bond films.  All of the action throughout is excellent and the plot has some actual teeth to it as the cold war action permeates throughout leading to a cliffhanger at a mountaintop monastery.
2.  Goldfinger:
My favorite entry starring Sean Connery.  It contains the most iconic villain in the history of the 50 year series and was the first to tighten up the action scenes after the first two films, Dr. No and From Russia With Love, contained far more dialogue and superfluous scenes.  It turned Sean Connery into a household name and set the entire series up for its long and storied run.
1.  Casino Royale:
The quintessential Bond film in every way.  It has a terrific plot, fantastic supporting characters, non-stop action, and the best actor to ever play the iconic lead character.  It also has something that almost all of the Bonds film don’t…a heart.  the chemistry between Eva Green and Daniel Craig is palpable and there are emotional consequences for violent actions.  I never thought I’d see either in a Bond film and for it to work so well.