23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Bond
I know this one doesn't usually appear near the top of many critics' Best Bond Movie lists, but it's near the top of mine. Roger Moore was really in his prime in this one, and this was one of his tougher, more physical Bond performances. Moore has always been suave, and he posesses perhaps the best comic timing and delivery of any of the Bond actors, and he uses that...
Published on May 26, 2001
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Time Heals Old Wounds
When I first saw "The Man with the Golden Gun" on its release I had mixed reactions about it. "Live and Let Die" had been such a departure from the James Bond we had been used to seeing, it was good to see some of the old elements return to this film.
The character of James Bond had been revamped in "Live and Let Die" in an attempt, I suppose, to dissociate Roger...
Published on September 28, 2000 by gobirds2
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Bond,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Man With The Golden Gun (Special Edition) (DVD)I know this one doesn't usually appear near the top of many critics' Best Bond Movie lists, but it's near the top of mine. Roger Moore was really in his prime in this one, and this was one of his tougher, more physical Bond performances. Moore has always been suave, and he posesses perhaps the best comic timing and delivery of any of the Bond actors, and he uses that well in Golden Gun. Also, in regards to the melody of the title song, and it's use throughout the movie, this is, IMO, the most effective scoring in the whole Bond series. There are great, exotic locales, exciting stunt sequences, and definitely one of the strongest villains in the whole series. I thought Lee's character of Scaramanga was perhaps a bit more realistic than many Bond villains, as he was more of an intelligent, psychotic loner rather than some megalomaniac set on world domination As a fan of the series, I also appreciated the Bond vs. Scaramanga final showdown as a nice change of pace from the common large scale "good commandos" vs. "evil army" battle that's used in a lot of Bond films. I also find the J.W. Pepper character to be one of the funniest in the series, so his appearance was a plus for me--this Bond movie had just enough humor to enhance the action and make it fun, without it going overboard and getting too cheesy, as they did with some of the later Moore movies. I just found this movie to be incredibly entertaining, and it just had that great Bond "feel" to it. Great picture and sound on the DVD, and a really cool documentary on the stuntmen and stunts from the whole series.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Time Heals Old Wounds,
This review is from: The Man With The Golden Gun (Special Edition) (DVD)When I first saw "The Man with the Golden Gun" on its release I had mixed reactions about it. "Live and Let Die" had been such a departure from the James Bond we had been used to seeing, it was good to see some of the old elements return to this film.
The character of James Bond had been revamped in "Live and Let Die" in an attempt, I suppose, to dissociate Roger Moore's interpretation of Bond from that of Sean Connery's. In "Live and Let Die" gone were the "Martinis shaken not stirred," the Dom Perigone, Bond's virility, worldliness and sardonic wit. Even his wardrobe was over-the-top.
In "Live and Let Die" gone also was John Barry's score, Desmond Lewelin as Q, M's briefing at "Universal Exports" headquarters, the gambling casinos, engagingly futuristic and lavish sets, the sensuous and worldly bevy of Bond women.
"The Man with the Golden Gun" opens with Maurice Binder's gun barrel trademark, accompanied with the "James Bond Theme" this time played on strings, instead of guitar. That was a real innovation by John Barry, which he continued to use for Roger Moore. It was clearly evident Barry was back.
The first camera shot is of a surrealistically exotic locale on a beach where a beautiful girl towels down a tall ark man emerging from the water. The man is Scaramanga, the Man with the Golden Gun. John Barry's familiar background music accentuates the Epicurean surroundings and the film immediately looks like it has returned to more familiar Bondian territory.
As the film unfolded many of the aforementioned elements missing from "Live and Let Die" returned. There also seemed to be a more substantial plot as it initially unfolded. However, there were still undesirable elements that crept into the film as it progressed.
Britt Ekland seemed like she would have been a natural throwback to the sex symbols of the 60s akin to previous Bond Girls such as Ursula Andress, but her vaudevillian interpretation of Mary Goodnight was a fatal flaw. Another flaw was the return of Clifton James as Sheriff J.W. Pepper. Their performances were distractions from the main plot hindering the continuity of the story line.
The film flounders in the middle until it gets back on track when Bond finally travels to Scaramanga's island for a face to face confrontation. The film follows the Bond formula here. The villain gloats as he gives Bond a tour of his lair and technical wizardry he has acquired. They dine over some dialogue on the merits of good vs. evil and in the end come to the final showdown.
I'll admit that I always had a soft spot for this film ever since I first saw it. It returned many familiar elements absent from "Live and Let Die." For instance, we see Bond return to the gambling tables via the Casino de Macao. Many fans greeted the return of these elements in a positive response. Other fans still recognized the questionable elements that were still present in "The Man with the Golden Gun" and found these deplorable and responded accordingly. To older Bond fans the return of Sheriff J.W. Pepper wasn't exactly a welcome sight.
An often-overlooked asset to this film is Maud Adams' performance as Andrea, Scaramanga's beautiful mistress. She brings genuine compassion to the role as the tormented individual who can not escape her master. Only before each killing does Scaramanga exploit her sexually in ritualistic foreplay to increase his aim on the unfortunate individual he has been contracted for. In one scene Scaramanga cruelly rubs the golden barrel of his pistol against her lips in a symbolically phallic gesture in a moment of triumph after a successful killing. You can see the pain on Andrea's face and you feel empathy for her. Even though she appears here in the prerequisite sacrificial lamb role, she stands out as one of the best Bond girls of the series.
Lee's performance as the enigmatic Scaramanga was refreshingly energetic. He gave the assassin an amiable quality on the surface hiding a darker side beneath the skin.
Roger Moore's performance was an improvement over his first interpretation of Bond as a foppish and silly dandy. Moore appeared to give Bond a tougher edge in this one even though the script attempted to undo him. Given Roger Moore's previous performance and his meager screen accomplishments as Bond at that point in the series, the "duel between titans" it was not.
Some of the cinematography was very good. Bond's solo flight through the uprooted rock formations near Phuket, Thailand to Scaramanga's island was impressive. In the pre-title sequence there is an excellent camera shot that follows gangster Hood and Nick Nack through an anteroom. As they enter the parlor the camera continues to dolly forward while the lens zooms back giving the viewer an impression of the expanse and opulence of Scaramanga's domicile, a melding of the man-made with nature's volcanic rock.
Production designer Peter Murton's work on this film has always been underrated. Scaramanga's posh living quarters overlooking his grotto rivaled earlier set designs by Ken Adam. Also very impressive were extraordinary miniatures by Derek Meddings.
One bit of innovation combing location filming, miniatures and set design was the use of the half-submerged Queen Elizabeth, its hull at a 30-degree angle, scorched and rusted at rest in Hong Kong harbor. Hidden in the bowels of the sunken ship is the headquarters for the Hong Kong station of the British Secret Service. "It's the only place in Hong Kong where you can't be bugged" says a naval officer to Bond.
John Barry's scoring gave the film his much-needed familiar sound. Even though it was apparently much loftier, it was still very welcome.
If this were to be the last film in the series it would have been a sad final testament. Luckily greater things were yet to come. One is able to look back and just enjoy it on the beautiful DVD.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good second Bond film for Moore,
This review is from: The Man With the Golden Gun [VHS] (VHS Tape)Roger Moore returns to the role of 007 in this excellent follow up to Live and Let Die. The film is certainly dependant on 007's evil counterpart, the hitman Francisco Scaramanga, played by Christopher Lee. He is the perfect match for Bond, which adds more excitement than any to the film. Bond finds himself racing to recover the Solex Agitator, which converts solar power to energy and has fallen into the hands of Scaramanga. There are very well done fight sequences and boat-car chases in hong kong and thailand. the redneck sherriff J.W. Pepper returns from Live and Let Die, but fails to provide the same humor as before. The film did try a little too hard to be funny like its preceding movie, thus it comes off a little cooky at some points. The Man with the Golden Gun Leads to an awesome climax in Scaramanga's island lair, where he and Bond face off in a "duel between titans", which also includes Scaramanga's servant Nick-Nack, a pint sized character who also tries to fool and beat Scaramanga in his deadly games of cat and mouse. With suspense, some humor, and exciting twists and turns, The Man with the Golden Gun is one Bond you won't want to miss!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Middling Bond: An Average Bond, No More, No Less,
This review is from: The Man With The Golden Gun - 2-Disc Ultimate Edition (DVD)THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN is a bit of an odd entry in the Bond series. Overall, the film feels a bit "cheap" compared to the films that immediately followed it. The sets are not quite elaborate enough and appear flimsy, the locations are not exotic enough, and the villain is no supervillain. Despite these faults, however, I must say that I enjoyed THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN more than its predecessor LIVE AND LET DIE. The film does not feel quite as dated and the filmmakers seemed to have wanted a bit of a harder edge on Moore, now in his second outing. Thus, while THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN certainly fails to make it into the top five of the Bond series, it is no slouch and one of the better Moore films.
After the opening "gun barrel" sequence, we suddenly open up on a beautiful private island beach and get our first glimpse at the film's villain, Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) and his diminutive manservant Nick Nack (Herve Villechaize). Nick Nack plots an assassination attempt against his boss by hiring an assassin to take him out. After a duel throughout Scaramanga's house of mirrors studio, Scaramanga dispatches with the assassin with a single bullet from his trademark golden gun. Apparently, Scaramanga plays such games in order to keep his edge. The scene closes on a life-size replica of Bond himself before fading into the opening titles. The titles are another Maurice Binder treat, featuring the golden gun seamlessly blended with the silhouettes of acrobatic women twirling on its barrel. Despite the artistry, however, the title song is one of the worst in the entire series, with awful lyrics to boot--quite a letdown after the McCartney song in LIVE AND LET DIE.
The plot of THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN is a bit of a twist on the standard Bond plot and, were it not for the ridiculous addition of the Solex Agitator, would have been quite interesting. British intelligence has just acquired a golden bullet with Bond's codename "007" etched onto its surface and believes that Scaramanga, known for his trademark golden bullet, has been hired to assassinate James Bond. Bond fills us in on Scaramanga's backstory--a circus trickshot performer turned KGB assassin. After being overworked by the KGB, Scaramanga went private and charges one million dollars per assignment. Fearing that Bond's mission may be compromised, M relieves Bond of duty and Bond plans to kill Scaramanga first. Thus, everything is set up for what could have been a much better film--two top-level assassins matching wits in the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse. Instead, the screenwriters decided to introduce a plot involving a scientist working on a plan to end the energy crisis by harnessing solar power. Scaramanga lays his hands on a solex agistator, a critical device needed to increase the efficiency of solar power generation. With this device, Scaramanga can sell it to the highest bidder, extort the oil companies to delay its release, or use the device for his own evil plans. Overall, this plot twist is lame and THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN would have been a better film if it had just focused on its title villain.
Despite the plot that falls apart at the end, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN is still a reasonably entertaining Bond film. Roger Moore is more confident in his role and has adopted a bit of a harder edge. Make no mistake, he is still ever ready with a pun. But he looks better here. Christopher Lee's performance as Scaramanga is also quite interesting. I'd have to say that Scaramanga is one of the most interesting Bond villains in that he seems to exemplify the darker sides of Bond's personality. If only the script had allowed for more character development and a true duel, Scaramanga would have been even more memorable. Nick Nack, on the other hand, is nothing short of annoying. Perhaps the AUSTIN POWERS series has had an effect on me, but Nick Nack is not a very good henchman. He is annoying and feeble. Just compare him to Red Grant in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. Enough said. Britt Ekland is beautiful, but boring, as Bond's love interest Mary Goodnight.
THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN has its fair share of exploitation. An extended martial arts sequence seems thrown in for no purpose, the entire solar energy plotline (that should have been cut) seems to be riding on the oil crisis of the 1970s, and the movie even brings back an annoying, but unforgettable, character from LIVE AND LET DIE: Sheriff J.W. Pepper (Clifton James). No one knows why he was included in LIVE AND LET DIE and he is even more out of place in this picture. Once again, he is on the chase (ala SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT), but this time he's riding shotgun with Bond. It's obviously pure comic relief, but it falls pretty flat. The highlight of this sequence is the best stunt in the film--indeed, it is one of the best Bond stunts period up until this point. Driving an AMC Hornet, Bond jumps the car over a river, performing a complete 360 roll. It is a spectacular stunt, but for some stupid reason, the sound effects guys decided to lay a "slide whistle" over it. It is completely ridiculous and an otherwise great stunt is cheapened by it.
After listing all of these defects, I find myself questioning why I defended the film in the first place. I guess it just comes down to the simple fact that it was more enjoyable to watch than LIVE AND LET DIE and the fact that Scaramanga easily creates interest as a villain, until he becomes wrapped up in a solar energy plot. The Ultimate Edition looks and sounds great, as usual, and includes all of the features you would expect, including a "Making of" documentary. All in all, this is one of the better Moore flicks and should be seen, if only for the sake of completeness.
45 of 62 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Bond car is an AMC Hornet!,
This review is from: The Man With The Golden Gun (Special Edition) (DVD)The choice of car is symbolic of this entry -- the weakest of the entire series. The film does have some positives: Christopher Lee is very good as super assassin Francisco Scaramanga; Maud Adams is sexy and very sympathetic as the doomed Andrea Anders and the location photography in Thailand is beautiful. However, there are three very glaring weaknesses to the film that doom it to the bottom rung of Bond films.
First, Hervé Villechaize is absolutely ridiculous as the "super henchman" Nick Nack. Especially after Robert Shaw as Red Grant and Harold Sakata as Oddjob, Villechaize is laughable. He is never menacing or threatening, just irritating. Villechaize grates on the audience's nerves at an increasing rate until the end when Bond neutralizes him by stuffing him in a suitcase as he whines that Bond is "a big bully." Doesn't quite match the punch of Oddjob being electrocuted by Sean Connery, does it?
Britt Ekland, who is VERY sexy in Golden Gun, unfortunately is also the most inept and stupid female in the entire series. While believability has never been a hallmark of the Bond series, Ekland's Mary Goodnight is so dumb and so incompetent it makes the audience wonder why Bond doesn't have her replaced with someone who can find their butt with two hands and a copy of Gray's Anatomy. The Bond films have always been strongest when the heroines' beauty is matched by their brains -- Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore, Diana Rigg as Tracy DiVicenzo, Barbara Bach as Anya Amasova, Carole Bouquet as Melina Havelock, Halle Berry as Jinx, etc. When a Bond heroine is as blindingly idiotic as Ekland's Goodnight, the series earns its reputation for treating females like decoration.
Most damaging to the film, however, is its cartoonish and juvenille sense of humor. This was an unfortunate addition to the Bond series in Diamonds Are Forver which got worse in Live and Let Die and reaches its height (or nadir) in Golden Gun. Every time the film builds some dramatic tension or sets up a great action scene, it squanders the moment with stupid 10 year old level humor. During the chase along the Bangkok canals, for example, we suddenly see Sheriff J.W. Pepper (Clifton James) from Live and Let Die who just happens to be vacationing in Thailand. James is a terrific character actor, but his J.W. Pepper is to the Bond films what Jar Jar Binks was to the Star Wars films. I wish the Bond producers had had Pepper come back for The Spy Who Loved Me so the audience would have the pleasure of seeing Jaws chew him to bits.
Even the film's greatest stunt is just about ruined by this infantile sense of humor. Bond, while pursuing Lee's Scaramanaga in the previously mentioned Hornet, executes a spectacular corkscrew jump over a canal. During the jump, however, the sound effects idiot in charge added a slide whistle sound effect, thereby lowering the level of the action to a Saturday morning cartoon. Time and time again, the audience is subjected to these stupid attempts at humor.
The Man With the Golden Gun could have been so much better. It's too bad that this was Harry Saltzman's swan song as a Bond producer. I love Warner Brothers cartoons, but not when they're masquerading as a James Bond film.
28 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The stangest Bond film of all,
This review is from: The Man With The Golden Gun (Special Edition) (DVD)`The Man with the Golden Gun' is an interesting Bond film that stands out from the rest although not necessarily for good reasons. There is a definite cheapness to the film that becomes apparent right from the opening scene which features a gun battle between Scaramanga and an unremarkable thug. The gunfight is held in Scaramanga's funhouse which looks like the set of a 1960's freak out movie. At one point the gangster is startled by a quintuplet of mechanical wax manikins dressed like prohibition era gangsters including Al Capone. The problem is that when the manikins' fire blanks at the thug Capone CLEARLY blinks... TWICE. Rather than pony up for actual wax manikins or re-shoot the scene they kept it as is. Near the end of the battle Christopher Lee's Scaramanga does some kind of sliding move down an incline in order to quickly retrieve his Golden Gun. The stunt looks ridiculous and that's the problem with the film, lots of parts look cheap and silly. Even the title song seems goofy. The song is sung by `Lulu' and features double entendres like `HE has a powerful weapon' and `he COMES just before the kill'. The pinnacle of silliness has to be the corkscrew jump half way through the film. It's one of the most amazing stunts in film history and the first one ever calculated on a computer. Unfortunately it's ruined by the playing of a cartoon slide whistle as the car soars and spins.
Want to know how cheap the film is? Bond's car is an orange AMC Hornet Hatchback.
Somehow, miraculously Roger Moore and Christopher Lee manage to retain their dignity throughout all the silliness. Christopher Lee's Scaramanga is nothing like the book version but in this case the movie vastly improves on the original character. Scaramanga's henchman, Nick Nack, is like a diminutive Oddjob but he certainly is unforgettable. I also enjoyed Scaramanga's island hideout which resides in a beautiful section of East Asia featuring huge towering rock outcroppings jutting from the sea.
Love it or hate it you won't forget it. `The Man with the Golden Gun' is a polarizing film and I place its quality below average for a Bond film but there is some greatness that still shines through as in the scene where Scaramanga kills boss Hai Fat. Hearing a gunshot one of Hai Fat's men rushes in to find out what happened. Christopher Lee delivers a perfect line. `Mr. Fat has just retired. I'm the new chairman of the board'. As Lee walks outside into the sunlight he shouts back, `He so loved that mausoleum. Put him in it!'.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fix for DVD Problem!,
This review is from: The Man With The Golden Gun (Special Edition) (DVD)Call 1-800-MGM4YOU to find out how to get this DVD replaced if it doesn't work for you. Apparently MGM has had a lot of problems. They just asked for my name and address, emailed me a prepaid UPS shipping label in PDF format, and said that my replacement disk would be here in 4-6 weeks.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GOOD BLU RAY TRANSFER,
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This review is from: The Man with the Golden Gun [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)I have to say I was very impressed with the image transfer on this movie. It feels like watching a new movie all over again. The scenery and detail are stunning. Not the best Bond movie but certainly held my interest whenever I saw Maud Adams.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moore and Lee Keep It Alive,
This review is from: The Man With The Golden Gun (DVD)Aside from the superb title song and the espresso maker gag (punchline delivered with exquisite understatement by Bernard Lee), Live and Let Die was largely a waste of celluloid. Man With the Golden Gun, on the other hand, gave me hope for the franchise. Christopher Lee as a Bond villain was an absolutely perfect casting choice, and it's rather a puzzle to me that it wasn't made much earlier in the series. And Roger Moore, for his part, was bringing the role of Bond into his comfort zone enough so that he could even pull off Bond's ruthless side - which, frankly, was seldom seen to such good effect during the rest of Moore's tenure. Herve Villechaize's Nick Nack struck me as an obvious inversion of Oddjob - but with the intriguing wrinkle of being as much of an adversary to his employer, Bond's nemesis Scaramanga, as to Bond himself, and was certainly unforgettable. These three, as actors and characters, seemed to have a rappore that was very natural and fluid, giving the film a level of easy energy that compensated for some fairly mediocre material.
Some things were cringe inducing, such as the return of the redneck sheriff from the previous film, the swallowing of the golden bullet that killed 002, and the sound effect during the signature car stunt. And there were disappointments such as the underwritten Lt. Hip, which made less than full use of Soon-Tek Oh, Maud Adam's inability to convey any of the depth of her character's motivating conflict, and Britt Ekland's airhead version of Mary Goodnight. And let's face it, staging the car chases using AMC vehicles of the period was not the best way to deliver the visual thrill these scenes deserved.
Even so, this film had some unique touches. For once the main villain confessed to perpetrating his fiendish plot using facilities and technology he didn't really understand, and kept his operation admirably bare bones in terms of personnel. Maud Adams did play her final scenes well - and I'm not begin facetious, the effect she produced was downright eerie. As for Mary Goodnight, it was refreshing that Bond's leading lady was someone he already knew from work, and that as such, instead of being shunted aside and/or killed during the proceedings, actually stayed in the game and landed the big lug. Perhaps the character's ditziness was overcompensation for the previous outing's dour Solitaire, but give credit where credit is due; no Bond girl before or since has ever shown herself so adept at opening locked car trunks.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull, Dry and Kung Fu,
This review is from: The Man With The Golden Gun (Special Edition) (DVD)This film is not as bad as AVTAK and not as silly as Moonraker, but its the Bond film no one cares about (either to love or hate). Its just there. This film is one of the lowest money making films in the Bond series; it only making $98 million and most people never rank it. Maybe because it is hard to follow the film and the film-makers tried to cash in on the Kung Fu craze, which reached its peak around the time of this film.
From what I understand, Franciscio Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) is an assassin who charges one million dollars a hit. He never misses his target and uses bullets made out of pure gold. James Bond is investigating the disappearance of the "Solex Agitator", a new kind of weapon that can harness the power of the sun itself. When M headquarters finds out that Bond is Scaramanga's next target. Bond must now find the connection between the Solex Agitator and Scaramanga, find the assassin himself and stop him.
Scaramanga's right hand man is a midget name Nick Nack, who I consider an annoying pest, not a villain. Mary Goodnight, as played by Britt Ekland, is simply dreadful. Her sole purpose is to lust after Bond while making a mess of his mission and many people believe she lowered the status of Bond girls with her performance. She is simply one of the WORST Bond girls of all times. Then there's the re-introduction of racist Sheriff Pepper who gives the worst cameo, and that's including Christian Slater in Star Trek 6. There is just one clear strength- Christopher Lee. Although Scaramanga as a character is not as interesting as he could and should be, Lee's performance is terrific.
Another sore point for me is the awful theme song, s ung by LuLu. Even she has admitted the song is dreadful at the very least.
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The Man With The Golden Gun (Special Edition) by Guy Hamilton (DVD - 2002)