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Overall Rating
3.84

Awesome: 32.14%
Worth A Look35.71%
Just Average: 19.64%
Pretty Crappy: 8.93%
Sucks: 3.57%

2 reviews, 44 user ratings


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Live and Let Die
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by MP Bartley

"The One With The Voodoo."
4 stars

After 'Diamonds Are Forever' put the Bond series back on track (in the view of the general public), Eon could heave a sigh of relief. 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' had been not well received, despite being just about the best Bond yet, simply because it hadn't starred Sean Connery. 'Diamonds Are Forever' brought him back to everyone's happiness but there was one niggling flaw - it was crap, quite frankly being the worst yet in the series. 'Live and Let Die' then, again saw the introduction of a new Bond but without the risks of 'OHMSS'. Bond wouldn't get married, then his wife murdered and break down in tears as the credits roll. Instead we get Bond in more familiar ground, for an undemanding, if fun, romp.

In the intriguing pre-credit sequence (Bond doesn't feature) we see 3 murders happening within 24 hours. One at the UN, one in New Orleans and one on the Caribbean island of San Monique.

Paul McCartney and Wings provide the stonking title track (probably the best yet) and we get introduced to our new Bond (Roger Moore) at his flat, about to be paid a visit by M. The murdered victims are all MI6 agents and all have connections to San Monique, which would seem to be an inconsequential island, governed by Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), who is always accompanied by his tarot-reading beauty, Solitaire (Jane Seymour).

Bond is therefore assigned to find out just what Kananga has to do with the killings and why San Monique is so important and secretive. If there was ever a sign of the changing times and the influences on Bond, then 'Live and Let Die' represents these changing times best. Heavily influenced by blaxploitation flicks car chases, fights and visits to seedy clubs are all scored by jazzy funk and wah-wah guitars, whilst words like 'nig', 'pimp car' and 'honky' are flung about to try and gain Bond some streetwise cred. Retrospectively, this is all hilarious and unfortunately means that this is one of the few Bond films that has really dated.

It's not a completely ruined experience however. Guy Hamilton's second return to the series was thankfully a return to form for him, after the turgid 'Diamonds Are Forever'. His action sensibilities are fully back in place from a motorboat chase across swamplands to a brutal punch up in a train. If these elements are essentially stolen from 'From Russia With Love' at least they're stolen with panache.

'Live and Let Die' also has a rare atmosphere that's missing from most Bonds. The voodoo backdrop isn't there to simply frame the action, it adds a mysterious and foreboding quality to the film which helps to prop up the thin plot. It's one of the very few Bond films that's actually scary in places. This departure means that the series gets a breath of fresh air (no SPECTRE villain here for the first time since 'Goldfinger') which helps to settle Moore into the role.

And how does he do? Well he's certainly comfortable and assured in the role, looking more relaxed and at ease than Lazenby did. But this comfort is total and is at the expense of the film. Gone is the hard edge that Connery and Lazenby both had and the sense that Bond is a ruthless killer. Moore breezes through like he could charm the birds out of the trees, but he lacks a killer touch. He's too lightweight and essentially he looks like he couldn't really take anyone down in a fight. He's easy to watch but Bond should never be too 'easy' to empathise with.

He does have an instant rapport with Lee and Maxwell as M and Money penny (Q is strangely absent) and has the lovely and affecting Seymour to hang off his arm. He also has the benefit of the best Felix since Jack Lord, David Hedison in this instance.

So with a flimsy Bond and a lightweight plot (no bombs, lasers, or nuclear threats here) we do get a trio of great villians to add some dramatic weight to the film and give Moore a real problem to deal with. Geoffrey Holder gives the film a spooky shiver as the voodoo priest Baron Samedi (great cackling laugh by the way) and Julius W Harris is great as the pincer-handed Tee-Hee who wants to happily feed Bond to the crocodiles. If there's one thing Moore always had as Bond, it was great henchmen to go up against. And Kotto as Kananga is one of the best villains. A terrific performance, he gives Kananga a real sense of barely contained lunacy, egotism and crucially intelligence. It shows again, that the best Bond villains are always the best actors.

Ultimately then, Bond was back and thanks to Moore's assured performance he was going to be back for a while. But again thanks to Moore and the direction that his films took, Bond was never going to the same again. Gone was his very real sense of ruthlessness and intelligence instead was zany plots, bigger stunts and gadgets. Lots of gadgets. Although Moore's later films developed into too much spoofery and silliness, 'Live and Let Die' is proof that at best, his Bond films were always watchable and decent entry's. But shouldn't the best of Bond be better than 'watchable' and 'decent'?

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1222&reviewer=293
originally posted: 07/23/04 06:43:37
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User Comments

4/29/16 Anne don't know what to say-the funeral procession in the beginning was awesome, esp. the jazz 2 stars
1/19/15 michael conneely The bus scenes are an underated plus. 4 stars
8/31/12 roscoe GOOD, LOVE THE VOODOO, BUT KIND OF BORING AND DEFINATELY LIFELESS 3 stars
5/23/12 keith miron This is probilly my favorite Bond movie. 4 stars
2/24/09 PAUL SHORTT RACIST AND STEREOTYPICAL 1 stars
12/12/08 Ravenwest Live and Let Die is probably a bit too dated and inconsistent for the casual viewer, but of 2 stars
10/23/08 tim is a fool great bond,breat action and humor 5 stars
3/18/08 Tim Everything, except the theme song, is pretty bad. 2 stars
1/27/08 JV35 Improvements and Letdowns 2 stars
3/08/07 David Pollastrini McCartneys song is the best thing about this film 3 stars
3/03/07 ACTION MOVIE FAN GREAT ACTION,SETS AND HUMOR MAKE THIS ONE OF MOORE,S BEST BOND PORTRAYALS 5 stars
9/24/06 ProSneakyD Moore settles in very well in this entertaining & intriguing film but the storys thin. 3 stars
5/20/06 mr.mike always liked moore as bond , connery was overrated. 4 stars
1/02/06 Anthony Feor A good movie 4 stars
11/20/05 chris good bond movie 4 stars
10/26/05 Nick This is one of the best with Roger Moore 4 stars
7/20/05 Jethro This film proves that the real 007 drinks bourbon,not shaken or stired! 5 stars
5/26/05 tony Not as good as other films.it has a lot of good moments. Action packed scenes. 4 stars
4/12/05 Indrid Cold When Bond was in a bizarre 70s phase, but probably the best of those. 4 stars
1/07/05 keithers.. not a bad entry...poor plot but a good bond romp 3 stars
11/17/04 C Vega Another New Bond But Unlike Lazenby Moore Is Good As 007 The Movie Is Great 5 stars
8/25/04 danny Bond is cool 4 stars
8/16/04 Herolder Best Bond movie with Roger Moore 5 stars
11/29/03 john fun and introduces a new Bond very sucessfully 4 stars
9/05/03 Dimitri Aubert A very good Bond movie, full of action and fun. 5 stars
7/06/03 Paul S. Magic moments: Solitaire`s guess, the lovers, Kananga`s inflated ego (!),croc jump,boats 5 stars
5/15/03 Andrew Carden Moore Is Good, but It's Basically 70's Blaxploitation At It's Prime. 4 stars
3/08/03 Jack Sommersby Falt direction and lethargic pacing sink this Bond entry. 2 stars
10/27/02 Matt Neopalitano Hello, Jim! What's happenin' baby? The best Bond, hands down. World class boat chase. 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Bland Bond, embarassingly dated 3 stars
9/16/02 CVJ Roger moore brings a good portrayal of Bond but is noone compared to Sean Connery 3 stars
3/18/02 Zargo decent bond, roger is good, and he's not an old guy in this one 4 stars
3/10/02 R.W. Welch Basic Bond, saved by some rather decent writing. 4 stars
2/15/02 murat an average bond film but not very good 3 stars
1/24/02 murat the first difficult risk to the bond films holder and the short car scene is not enough 1 stars
10/31/01 Scott Bastien Roger Moore is a pervert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/06/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) A blaxploitation 007 flick. Weird but cool. 3 stars
11/02/00 tony geoffrey holder rocks 5 stars
4/07/00 Gremlin hot pschic, recycled train battle, and Moore's debut,...bring a flashlight 4 stars
9/05/99 the Grinch Moore is just as good a Bond as Connery, just different. More reliance on wits than gadgets 5 stars
6/24/99 David Keech Outside of the boat chase, there's not too much here that is very good. Routine Bond flick 3 stars
3/12/99 Claude Derralt Great film, Great Bond, Just Plain Great! 5 stars
10/26/98 Silent Rob Yep, it's James Bond. Yep, it's silly. Yep, it might have better with Connery. 3 stars
10/24/98 Patrick888 Roger's debut is an OK Bond film. Boat chase is a classic 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Jul-1973 (PG)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Feb-1974 (PG)


Directed by
  Guy Hamilton

Written by
  Tom Mankiewicz

Cast
  Roger Moore
  Yaphet Kotto
  Jane Seymour
  Geoffrey Holder
  Lois Maxwell



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