Grounded and reasonable James Bond outing
For Your Eyes Only (1981): 7 out of 10: A semi-remake of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service this Roger Moore outing takes Bond closer to his roots as he investigates the assassination of a salvage expert who was recovering a nuclear MacGuffin.
If you recall, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service would have been one of the best Bond films had it not starred that black hole of charisma George Lazenby. Remaking it with Roger Moore seemed like a good idea. In addition, after Moore’s last outing was Moonraker, bringing the series back to something resembling Earth also seemed wise.
The Good: Leaving aside the pre-credit sequence this is actually a grounded story that seems like an actual mission an agent for British Intelligence would have. They killed one of our guys we think this is the killer so go rattle his tree and find out who hired him. The film also has actual double-crosses and surprises. In addition, neither Bond nor the bad guys have entire armies of people in identical jumpsuits shooting wildly at each other. Bond uses stealth.
The underwater shots in this film are gorgeous. The underwater action is well done. Like male cinematic Lara Croft, Bond has had trouble with underwater levels in the past (The entire Thunderball movie being prosecutor exhibit one) but they really hit this one out of the park.
There is also some quality acting outside of Moore’s usual bit. Topal, in particular, needs his own movie.
The Bad: The film lacks that wow moment. It has some spectacular stunts and bits but none of them are all that memorable. One downside of being grounded I am afraid. You need to have a stunt or set-piece that makes one wonder how did they do that.
The Bond girls are an overall weak sauce in this tome as well. We have an under aged Ice skater, Pierce Brosnan’s actual wife and a French actress that doesn’t speak English. This makes for an overall poor showing. Also, in reality, Roger is looking a bit long in the tooth to be chasing any of these women James Bond or no.
The Ugly: I will not say that the pre-credit sequence was the worst in any Bond film. There really is some stiff competition out there. But this has to be one of the most misguided. In an attempt to tie up loose plot holes, we have Bond laying flowers at the grave of his wife that was killed during On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Then a helicopter, that might have had the words “It’s a Trap” written on its side, shows up and spirits him off to London where Blofeld is controlling it remotely. Now the producers apparently couldn’t afford the star of The Pumaman himself so Blofeld is played from behind by both a bald man that looks nothing like Donald Pleasence and at a time by a dummy that looks just like a shop mannequin from Macy’s tied to a helicopter. It has nothing to do with the rest of the movie and it is awful. I mean not as awful as the Margaret Thatcher impersonator at the end of the film awful but still.
In Conclusion: Forgettable but an overall good time is had in this again grounded and reasonable James Bond outing. I am not sure grounded and reasonable is the reason I watch James Bond but I enjoyed myself nonetheless.