A View to a Kill (1985)

Ian Fleming’s A View to a Kill (1985)

Synopsis:

After completing a secret mission to retrieve a microchip, British spy James Bond (Roger Moore, The Man who Haunted Himself) returns to England to discover that the microchip might be the first step towards some nefarious enterprise. Clues lead Bond to multi-millionaire Max Zorin (Christopher Walken, The Deer Hunter), the head of an organization responsible for manufacturing the microchip. Later, Bond learns that Zorin plans to monopolize the tech market by destroying California’s Silicon Valley.

Reaction & Thoughts:

“On a mission, I am expected to sacrifice myself!”

The end of an era. The franchise’s 14th entry, and Roger Moore’s seventh and last Bond movie. Since there are small references to Sean Connery’s movies in Moore’s outings, you can easily argue that this is also the last chapter of a story that began with Dr. No (1962). Energetically directed by Bond veteran John Glen, A View to a Kill tries its very best to end Moore’s reign on a high note, and for the most part, the film succeeds.

A View to a Kill is nobody’s favorite Bond movie, but I liked it a bit more than its predecessor, the fun but goofy Octopussy. I’ve long suspected that modern viewers have simply become too jaded for Moore’s droll personality. I myself miss the days when Bond was cruising along the spy world with his tongue firmly planted in cheek. Those days are long over, never to return; this is indeed the end in more ways than one.

Ironically, despite Moore’s reputation as a “lightweight,” A View to a Kill is one of the most violent movies in the series — people are constantly killed in brutal ways. Although I didn’t think the violence was gratuitous, Moore wasn’t amused and protested, but his grievances fell on dead ears. That’s the main reason Moore has always said that this is his least favorite Bond movie — he apparently had no stomach for acts of cruelty.

Anyway, View to a Kill is invigorated by a supporting cast composed of interesting actors. Christopher Walken is scary as the psychotic Zorin. Walken has a strange but compelling chemistry with charismatic pop star Grace Jones (Conan The Destroyer), who is surprisingly good as Walken’s deadly henchwoman May Day. A self-professed diva (on and off the screen), Miss Jones provides the story with vitality.

Patrick Macnee (TV’s The Avengers), who plays Bond’s sidekick, adds a touch of class to the movie. Alison Doody (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) and Fiona Fullerton (Nicholas and Alexandra) are gorgeous “Bond girls.” Dolph Lundgren (The Expendables) makes his film debut as a KGB henchman named Venz. Desmond Llewelyn and Walter Gotell return as M16’s “Q” and KGB’s General Gogol respectively. Lois Maxwell makes her 14th and final appearance as Miss Moneypenny.

The beautiful Tanya Roberts (The Beastmaster and Sheena) is overshadowed by scene-stealers Walken and Jones. It isn’t entirely Tanya’s fault — her character isn’t very interesting (Roberts also spends most of the movie screaming and whining). In addition, Roberts doesn’t have any chemistry with Moore.

The title song, performed by Duran Duran, doesn’t get much respect nowadays. There is something not quite right about men singing a Bond song. That being said, I like the band and I really enjoyed the melody — it’s enjoyable and catchy. Finally, I really love Maurice Binder’s title sequence — it’s flashy, bouncy and gorgeous.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

I first watched A View to a Kill during its initial theatrical run. We were aware that this was the end of something and a feeling of bittersweet elation was in the air. That’s probably why I still have a soft spot for the movie. Plus, the film’s plot revolves around the computer industry, making A View to a Kill more relevant now than ever before. Warts and all, it’s is a fun movie. Color, 131 minutes, Rated PG.

James Bond will return
in
The Living Daylights (1987)

6 responses to “A View to a Kill (1985)

  1. An interesting account — thanks! As I think we’ve concluded before, we differ on Moore’s abilities as Bond.

    Out of interest, why have you called it “Ian Fleming’s”? Was this used on the posters, perhaps? As far as I understand it, its only connection to anything of Fleming’s (aside from the series characters, of course) was the title, based on the title of a short story he wrote, whose plot has no connection with the movie’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • At first, the full screen title includes Fleming’s name. The original theatrical art work also includes the author’s name. They eventually changed it to Fleming’s James Bond. I don’t know why (legal issues?). For the sake of consistency, I decided to keep the full title. 🙂

      Like

  2. With “A View to a Kill” Roger Moore goes out with neither a bang nor a whimper. He goes out somewhere between the two: an ageing gentleman, working hard to save the day with a wink and a one-liner. Though not all elements in the film are able to support his impish heroism, Moore, as always, was in fine form.

    Liked by 1 person

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