Pretty much every Bond movie has at least something to recommend it, either a cool bit of business, a nice action scene, a good line or character, etc. But for me, these five are the dregs of the series. In ascending order, then, here are my least favorite Bond films:
5) Diamonds Are Forever
It's great to have Connery back in his signature role, and he's easily the best thing about this very episodic and rather unglamorous Bond film. While there are some nice moments (Bond's fight with Franks in the elevator, for instance), overall this is a shaggy dog Bond, and once again, a mostly US-based setting detracts from the exotic nature that characterizes a proper Bond film in my eyes. The not-so-ambiguously gay duo Wynt and Kidd are OK henchmen at best, Jill St. John looks scrumptious but comes off as a complete bimbo and it seems clear that the budget's run out for the final “big” action setpiece, which is limp and cringe-inducing in equal measure.
4) Licence to Kill
First off, let me say one thing: taken strictly as an action film, Licence To Kill is just fine, with some really spectacular stunts, a decent plot and good acting. It's just not a Bond film. Instead, we get what basically amounts to a grandiose episode of Miami Vice, with a pedestrian drug dealer main baddie and very little in the way of glamor or style. Timothy Dalton is a fine actor but seems pinched and uncomfortable as 007, trying to imbue the proceedings with a Shakespearean seriousness that just doesn't jibe well with the movie incarnation of the character.
3) Die Another Day
An argument can be made for the inclusion of Tomorrow Never Dies in this bottom list, with its rather pedestrian script and villain, but Die Another Day is by far the more egregious offender. In a way, it's a shame, as DAD starts out really fun, with a formula-breaking opening with Bond imprisoned and tortured by the North Koreans, his eventual release and priceless entrance into a swank Hong Kong hotel looking like a homeless wastrel, then a colorful little expedition to Cuba and his triumphant return to Britain. You can clearly mark the precise moment when the film goes off the rails: right after the terrific sword fight between Bond and Toby Stephens (the less said about the frightful Madonna appearance, the better, though). Everything goes spectacularly downhill from there, what with the ridiculous ice palace, the invisible car and the sight of Bond parasailing away chased by laser beams. Just stupid, stupid, stupid. DAD hits much higher highs than Tomorrow Never Dies, but nothing in the latter film is nearly as bad as the last half of this one.
2) Quantum of Solace
Awesome poster, bad movie. After the triumph of the reboot that was Casino Royale, Daniel Craig's second outing as 007 falls flat on its face. For the first time, the series tries a direct sequel, as an avenging Bond is on the warpath for those responsible for Vesper Lynd's predicament and eventual death. It's a good idea in theory, but the execution is botched, with perhaps the limpest excuse for a Bond villain in the series long history. But what really does the film in is Marc Forster's inexperience with directing action. He apparently turned all of the action scenes over to the 2nd unit, who obviously did a stellar job, but their work is ruined by ridiculously choppy editing. This kind of editing worked well in the Bourne films, but it's all wrong for Bond. Quantum of Solace ends up a real drab disappointment. Craig is still aces, though.
1) A View to a Kill
It's easy to pick on Roger Moore's final outing as 007. The actor looks damn good for his age by regular people standards, but at 58 is just to old to be convincing in the part. It doesn't help that he's stuck with the most vapid of Bond girls in the gorgeous but vacuous Tanya Roberts. Add yet another predominantly U.S.-set adventure, uninteresting villains (an OTT Christopher Walken and an alarmingly masculine Grace Jones) and a general air of tiredness to go along with its aging star, and A View to a Kill adds up to an anemic outing.
We also see the nadir of the Moore-era goofy comic touches, with the shuddersome moment right in the middle of an otherwise well-mounted pre-credits snow-boarding sequence, when the Beach Boys “California Girls” kicks in. Embarrassing. That said, there are still a few good points: Patrick Macnee makes for a charming companion for Moore's Bond, there's a nice car chase in Paris and a cool parachute stunt off the Eiffel Tower. Also, Duran Duran's theme song is one of the best.
What do you folks consider the least of the Bonds? Let me know in the comments.
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