License to Review #15: A View to a Kill (1985)

James Bond will return to cinemas this November with his twenty-fifth adventure, No Time to Die. In preparation, David Alkhed will take a look at all the previous entries in the franchise and see which ones are deserving of praise (shaken) and which ones aren’t (stirred).

I’ve gone into many of the James Bond films, especially the Roger Moore ones, with very low expectations. Some were surprisingly entertaining, like The Man with the Golden Gun or For Your Eyes Only, and some managed to plummet my already low expectations to even lower depths (i.e. Moonraker), but the one I’ve been dreading the most is A View to a Kill. Many reviews for it I’ve seen from friends and critics have been scathing at best, and the idea of a nearly sixty-year-old Roger Moore playing James Bond wasn’t exactly helpful. But, to my surprise, I didn’t hate it and don’t consider it nearly the worst James Bond film. Doesn’t mean it’s great though, hell I can’t even say it’s good, but I was dreading the absolute fucking worst, but I wasn’t too-pissed off.

After retrieving a microchip from Siberia (and some lovemaking of course) James Bond is ordered to investigate Max Zorin (Christopher Walken), who has psychotic plans to destroy Silicon Valley (if this was made today people would be applauding him) and all the people living there (that part wouldn’t be applauded however) so he can create a monopoly in the microchip market for himself.

Like I said earlier, there was stuff in the movie I liked that prevents me from calling it the worst James Bond film, so let’s start there. First things first, the title song co-written and performed by Duran Duran is a real banger and by far one of the best theme songs to the entire franchise and it holds up really well and it’s a joy to listen to. The opening credits that accompany it however aren’t terribly exciting and innovative unlike the earlier films, but hey it could be worse. The song is so good that it elevates a lot of the movie for me. It’s also perhaps the one Bond theme of the films from the 80s that really feel proper 80s, with the synth-pop vibes to it and the lyrics feeling very much of the period without ever dating it.

Alright, time to delve into the bad stuff, and boy is there a lot. Firstly, Roger Moore, again at 57, is way too old to play James Bond and should’ve left the franchise several films ago, and in fact Roger would’ve agreed with me, reportedly stating he was four hundred years too old for the part. And watching an elderly Moore in love scenes with women half his age are uncomfortable to say the least. On the subject of the Bond girls, Grace Jones is an interesting henchwoman to Christopher Walken’s Zoran and works as an interesting twist on the typical henchman the Bond villains usually have. Unfortunately she’s given little screen time and not a whole lot to do, which is disappointing to say the least because whenever she is on screen she is charismatic and watchable. The same cannot be said about Tanya Roberts, who frankly couldn’t act her way out of a paper bag in a convincing way. Her line deliveries are awful, but many times in a hilarious way so they’re not a total chore to sit through.

So, is A View to a Kill shaken or is it stirred? I mean, I didn’t hate it and there are aspects of it I liked, and the Duran Duran song is nothing short of amazing, but there is a lot of wasted potential here and Moore is too old for the part, so I’ll say it is stirred.

James Bond will return in The Living Daylights, with Timmy Dalton stepping into the shoes of 007.


Published by davidalkhed

Co-creator, critic and columnist for A Fistful of Film.

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