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, agent James Bond (Roger Moore, The Sea Wolves) returns to England to discover that the microchip might be the first step towards some nefarious enterprise. Clues lead Bond to super-rich 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 Moore’s 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).

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. Moore complained about the mayhem, but producer Albert Broccoli simply ignored him. That’s the main reason Moore has always said that this is his least favorite Bond movie — he had no stomach for acts of cruelty.

 View to a Kill is invigorated by a supporting cast composed of interesting actors. Christopher Walken plays the main villain as a cross between Lex Luthor and Hannibal Lecter. Walken has a strange but compelling chemistry with pop star Grace Jones (Conan The Destroyer), who plays a truly scary henchwoman. Jones has more charisma than talent, but I liked her a lot. A self-professed diva (on and off the screen), she provides the story with color (no pun intended) and 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.

Tanya Roberts is the weakest link here. She’s not bad; she’s simply not very interesting. I don’t want to be too hard on her because I liked her on the TV show Charlie’s Angels, and she was perfect in Sheena (1984), a guilty pleasure, but she doesn’t have any chemistry with Moore. Roberts also spends most of the movie screaming and whining!

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 all well 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. A View to a Kill does have a few things going for it. The plot revolves around the computer industry, which makes the movie more relevant now than ever before. Director John Glen never allows the pace to slag at all. The main complaint is that Moore was too old, but in a youth-obsessed culture I kinda find it refreshing to see a mature actor at the helm of one of cinema’s biggest franchises. Warts and all, it’s a fun movie that gets the job done. 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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