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007: Worst Of Moore – A View To A Kill

James Bond - Worst Of Roger Moore - A View To A Kill

To honour the forthcoming release of Spectre, myself and fellow Movie Moron contributor DalmatianJaws are jumping head first off a cliff with just a union jack parachute to bring you a deep look at the most critically acclaimed and derided movie of each Bond actor. This time around we’re covering Roger Moore’s final doddery effort, A View To A Kill. Here’s the original trailer:

Dalmatian Jaws: Alright. Now. Let’s tackle one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a while, and easily the worst Bond movie I’ve seen, A VIEW … *dramatic pause* … TO A KILL. (I had to say it the way Christopher Walken says it in the movie.)

DNWilliams: It’s the only way. So I’m to understand your general impression of this movie is not a good one?

DJ: Well here’s the deal. I loved every nonsensical moment of it because it made me laugh. If you view it as a comedy, it’s quite a good movie. But wow does it take a big ol’ crap on the franchise.

DNW: You’re probably going to be confused as hell by how I feel about this film.

DJ: Oh wow. Tell me. I can take it.

DNW: Well…I sort of liked it. Or at least, I found a lot to like about it. Not in a guilty pleasure way either.

DJ: *stunned silence*
*puts gun to head*

DNW: I’m sorry too. Okay, so let’s get into the movie proper and I can be more specific. It starts with a snow chase, naturally.

DJ: Like ya do in crappy Bond films.

DNW: I wasn’t sure what to make of the snow chase at first, it seemed to just kind of be there. Inoffensive. Maybe even trying to be legitimately thrilling. And then they play a pop song over it and which point my eyes began to roll all by themselves. Automatically. California Girls. Not even the Beach Boys original.

DJ: Yep. Cause he starts snowboarding which looks a little like surfing…and they do that in California.

DNW: It kind of seems less random once you realize the film does indeed revolve around California and Silicon Valley specifically. But face value it’s as random as it gets because mountaintops and Beach Boy covers just do not go together. And as we’ve previously established, I’m not a fan of pop music being used like this for Bond, it just feels wrong. Change the score, and it’s not a bad scene. It’s Bond recovering a microchip from a frozen body and evading capture/death. With the song it’s typical Moore Bond craziness.

DJ: Yeah, again, good on paper. That ends in a camouflaged submersible f*ck palace.

DNW: Yeah, now this is just an onslaught of pure Moore Bond nuttiness. First the pop song and then a sub that’s disguised as an iceberg which he hops into and seduces a lady spy inside instantly. None of this is cool. I was ready to hate every frame of this film. And then…a beautiful calm washed over me.

DJ: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. See, I reached this point with Diamonds Are Forever. Welcome to the club.

DNW: I was so full of rage an then I zenned-out just in time for Duran Duran.

DJ: Duran Duran writing a TOTALLY different sort of theme song, then remembering the title of the movie and shoe-horning it in…so it’s three minutes of the repeated lyric “Dance into the Fire!!!” followed by an awkward pause and then…”With a view to a kill!!!!” I laughed SO hard when they forced the title in.

DNW: I kind of know what you mean there, but they do include the title in the verse at the beginning as well as the hook. And it’s just an awesome song. I’m listening to it right now, it’s so awesome it just overrides how out of place it should feel. It’s infectious and really cool. It’s like something right out of Miami Vice. Combined with the freaking amazing neon titles, it’s the most 80s thing in the world. They try to put little Bond-like horn bursts in there, but they’re just swamped out by synths and drum machines.

DJ: Yep.

DNW: I’m kind of sad it’s wasted on Roger Moore.

DJ: And after a mega dose of the 80s we get what is seriously the worst murder scene ever. Death by butterfly fishing.

DNW: We’re snapped back to reality sooner than that. We get the obligatory Moneypenny scene, with Moneypenny dressed like the queen. Seriously, she looks so old and frumpy it’s insane.

James Bond - Worst Of Roger Moore - A View To A Kill
DJ: Yeah, they both do.

DNW: And then its off to the races.

DJ: Oh yes, and they ALL go to the races. M, Money Penny, Q – all “undercover” together. WTF?!

DNW: You know, I didn’t even question that. But yes, it is quite peculiar that an undercover mission closely resembles a family outing. Dammit, you’ve ruined the scene for me now. Actually, you didn’t need to, Moneypenny ruined it with her direct quote of My Fair Lady.

DJ: Haha.

DNW: Not as bad as the nod to Lawrence of Arabia in The Spy Who Loved Me, but it had me worried they were heading in that direction. The scene at the races offers us our first look at the villain of the movie – Christopher Walken as Zorin, accompanied by Grace Jones as May Day.

James Bond - Worst Of Roger Moore - A View To A Kill
DJ: What a weird-lookin’ duo. And horrible acting from both.

DNW: You think? They’re the saving grace of this movie for me. Their oddball look makes a big impression right away. You get the scene with Grace Jones restraining the horse, which sells her as the unconventional muscle and right hand man. They’re bizarre but cool.

DJ: I love their look and the bad acting. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every moment of this movie, but because it’s all just so awful. It’s uniformly insane across the board.

DNW: Maybe I have a Walken blind spot, because I do not consider him to have given a poor performance here at all. But the initial impression of him is a relatively distant one anyway. Bond is joined at the races by Steed from The Avengers, who is kind of comic relief later on, which is weird because he was basically Bond in his own show.

DJ: Yeah, I didn’t know that guy was from The Avengers.

DNW: Oh really? Brit Avengers, not Marvel Avengers.

DJ: Haha, I know which Avengers…starring Uma Thurman and Voldemort.


DJ: HAHAHA. I love that Bond just eats up getting to boss him around though.

DNW: Yeah, Bond does enjoy the fact that he gets to treat him like a slave later, but as far as attempts at comedy go in these movies I am more than willing to enjoy a little slapstick and some jokes at the expense of a character like that. Dammit, what’s happened to me?

DJ: They’re getting to you. I think you and I feel the same way about this movie, we just express it differently. Okay. Can we talk about the RIDICULOUS horse jumping scene?

DNW: Butterfly killing.

DJ: Oh yeah. That first. Did you like the butterfly killing?

DNW: Not at all. The first thing I noticed during that scene was that Roger Moore didn’t look cool in his tux. Which is a prerequisite for being Bond. I don’t know if it’s partially due to mid-eighties fashion, but it does not look well-tailored. He looks like a leathery crumpled mess.

James Bond - Worst Of Roger Moore - A View To A Kill
DNW:And then we get the butterfly killing. It’s actually really typical Bond, it’s an elaborate killing.

DJ: Yeah, the elaborate nature is one thing, the presentation is another. Butterfly. Fishing pole. WTF. And yes, Bond looks like a tool in a tux.

DNW: I can get past a guy being killed with a puppet butterfly on a fishing rod, it’s Bond wrestling with the fishing rod afterwards on the stairs that bummed me out. He chases the assassin, which is Grace Jones, and then fumbles around after getting caught in the fishing line. It’s followed by a REALLY cool moment, which is him jumping onto the roof of a moving elevator to pursue her after she’s parachuted off, but then THAT is followed by him falling on a wedding cake. Compare that to the train jump and cufflinks adjustment we see in Skyfall. People are really kidding themselves if they think Moore was that cool. Like I said, I find a lot to like I this film, but Moore is consistently the worst thing about it. I never warm to his portrayal.

DJ: Cause it’s not a portrayal, it’s a pudgy old guy waddling around pretending women will sleep with him. So yes, the wedding cake gag is symptomatic of the entire Moore run. Lots of buffoonery.

DNW: Yeah. Needless to say, with a guy like that on her tail, Grace Jones gets away and cackles on her speedboat escape with Zorin like a madwoman.

James Bond - Worst Of Roger Moore - A View To A Kill
DJ: And again, we have a major villain doing the getaway driving, just like On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I love when the big baddies take ridiculous risks doing things they could hire someone to do. Oh yes.

DNW: Next thing you know, Bond is going undercover at Zorin’s place and there’s a scene where they check for bugs. I always like a good bug-checking scene. It’s unique to the genre and it’s executed fairly nicely here, in my opinion. They play up the facade of Bond talking down to his manservant before going out onto the balcony to have a real conversation. I much, much prefer stuff like that to watches that print messages and submarine cars, even if it a bit bog-standard and they try to jazz it up by having the tracer be in a razor. And then the Bond girl entrance is a pretty big deal, if you had thoughts on that.

DJ: I don’t remember the girl in this one. I remember she’s standing alone at the party and he talks to her … that’s all.

DNW: She had an entrance I thought was pretty great, she enters the estate via helicopter, all dressed in white with these sunglasses on, and then she takes them off and she’s got these PIERCING blue eyes. It’s a great entrance. The cheesy score kills it a little, but it’s still good.

DJ: I have no memory of the helicopter, but I do remember her eyes.

DNW: Well the bit you do remember is at the party where Bond introduces himself to her and prior to that Zorin himself. It’s another of our friendly-villain conversations Bond is prone to.

DJ: Oh that’s right. Is that before or after Zorin looks him up on the computer and knows who he is? I think it’s before.

DNW: Way before. He’s still completely buying into the alias. Again, you fault the performance here, but I just think you cannot go wrong with Christopher Walken. He’s so much cooler than Bond it’s insane. If this movie had a young Timothy Dalton and dialled back the slapstick I’d probably like it a lot. As is stands it isn’t as mind-numbing as The Spy Who Loved Me at least, I’ve been entertained up to and including this point.

Part 2 (Of 2) >

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  • Sheridan Passell said
    Sheridan Passell

    There’s no getting past the age factor in this one, Moore was far too old and it affected the plausibility of too many events. A better movie would have been –

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  • ad4m22 said

    I’m still trying to get my head around the fact that ‘A View to a Kill’ is hated more than ‘Moonraker’, ‘Octopussy’ and ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. Those films were truly hideous. Scaramanga flew a car with wings. A CAR WITH WINGS.

    Having said that, I always thought ‘Live and Let Die’ and ‘For Your Eyes Only’ were Moore’s best Bonds. Both were cracking stories with brilliant set pieces. Indeed, FYEO nails the Bond formula perfectly, managing to fit in skiing, underwater exploration and a scene in a gorgeous hot country in one go.

    Completely agree that Walken steals this film. He might as well take a big bite out of the scenery as he acts, but damn he’s fun to watch.

    Surprised you guys didn’t go into details about the firetruck chase. There’s a great bit where, for reasons unknown, Walken refrains from shooting Bond and Stacey and locks them in a lift while he sets fire to the building. That’s good. But then Bond and Stacey escape and give chase in a firetruck, with Bond hanging off the back of the ladder.

    Still, there’s a much better Bond coming up next. The best Bond, in fact.

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  • gd smith said

    Moonraker is the worst Moore Bond. He was a bit old here but come on it’s just a fun movie. And nowhere near as silly as the Dark Night, a film about a multi-millionaire dressed like a bat beating up a clown.

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    • dnwilliams said

      It’s not the premise that makes something silly, it’s the execution. And although silly isn’t necessarily bad, it’s only fun if you enjoy it, and I definitely had more fun watching The Dark Knight!

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    • dnwilliams said

      That said, this movie is more enjoyable than it had any right to be, and I wouldn’t consider it Moore’s worst personally, we deferred to the dubious science of Rotten Tomatoes for a critical consensus. A View To A Kill is at 36% (down from 39% when I last checked) and Moonraker is at 62%.

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  • Mike said

    Who ever wrote this orignina aritical is a complete doosh! Roger Moore was a Stud in this movie! No one had even heard of snow boarding when this movie came out, so this was ground breaking, but I guess this is lost on idiots like you.

    I might add that to this day Mr. Walkin has been the best bond villian we have ever seen! “More!…More power!” was frigin brilliant! All you view to a kill haters can go blowfeld yourselves!

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    • dnwilliams said

      Aw, don’t be like that Mike! I do agree with you about Walken, he stole the show in this movie.

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