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A View to a Kill

April 20, 2013

A View to a Kill (1985)
Director: John Glen
Actors: Roger Moore, Christopher Walken, Tanya Roberts

A View to a Kill

Synopsis: James Bond (Roger Moore) investigates Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) – head of a manufacturing firm suspected of sharing secret British microchip data with the Soviets. Bond’s investigations take him to Zorin’s suspicious stud farm in France, then on to California where he unearths an even more sinister Zorin conspiracy.

Review: A View to a Kill trumps even the cartoonish nonsense of Moonraker and Die Another Day to claim the crown as perhaps the worst entry of all to the Bond series. Where those movies at least had a kitsch, ‘so bad they’re good’ quality, A View to a Kill is not only silly but it also commits the ultimate cardinal sin for any Bond movie – it’s boring.

Maybe I speak from personal fatigue at bearing witness to yet another arbitrary, prototypical Bond narrative of megalomaniac crazy guy with an outlandish conspiracy – but A View to a Kill itself even seems slightly apathetic about its own ‘by the book’ machinations. Highly surprisingly given the casting gold-dust of Christopher Walken as the villainous Max Zorin, it’s actually one of the least interesting antagonist performances of the entire Bond series, and thumbs down to the screenwriters for revealing Zorin’s villainy far too early in the narrative. Much like in Moonraker, there’s almost a laziness in the way that Bond’s first investigation takes him to a master industrialist, who – wouldn’t you just know it – is the story’s ultimate malevolent figure.

Roger Moore was the major con to A View to a Kill though. He must have been 57 years old at the time of filming, but worse even than his evident physical creakiness, is that Moore has such a naff, old-fashioned persona anyway. His voice is so far from the deep and authoritative tone needed for the part; it’s more of a plummy, puny timbre. And not that I know a huge amount about acting, but I was always told that truth and gravitas come from the lower registers of the voice, so Moore inadvertently proves that maxim here. (April 2013)

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