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Spy Who Loved Me, The
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by MP Bartley

"The One With The Submarines."
5 stars

Roger Moore's first two outings as Bond had been rather small-scale affairs, dealing with a drug dealer and then an assassin. This had been reflected in the quality of the films. 'Live And Let Die' was fun, if unmemorable escapade; whilst 'The Man With The Golden Gun' had been very dull indeed. There was only one thing to do then...make Bond BIG again.

The pre-credits sequence is one of the best, showcasing surely one of the best stunts ever made - the ski-jump off the top of the mountain complete with Union Jack parachute. We then get Carly Simon's ballad, which is sweet but set the trend for dull ballads as the theme tunes.

Bond is assigned to find out what has been happening to British and Russian submarines which have been disappearing whilst on manouveres. His trail takes him from Egypt to Sardinia, to shipping magnate Karl Stromberg (Curt Jurgens). Along for the ride is the Russian agent he's partnered with, Anya Asamova (Barbara Bach, with huge cow eyes).

'The Spy Who Loved Me' saw a return to the directors chair for Lewis Gilbert, who had helmed 'You Only Live Twice'. It's no real surprise he's back, as the plots are virtually identical. Swap submarines for space shuttles, and Blofeld for Stromberg and you're there. What Gilbert brings is an unerring sense of what makes Bond big, and what makes Bond exciting.

After two lesser adventures, the stunts and outlandish plots were back and to great effect. Bond is soon tearing around Egypt beating up henchmen and then doing battle with a helicopter with his weapon-laden Lotus Esprit (a worthy successor to his Aston Martin). It's thrillingly done and good to see a Bond movie giving Roger Moore a chance to stretch his action legs in a film that's actually about global destruction. He also gets a good little bit of acting in as the death of his wife is approached for the first time and he quickly changes the subject.

Gilbert clearly knows his way around an action sequence, as they're the best since 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service' and also makes the most of the exotic locations. The design is also superb with Ken Adam's magnificent sets, from a huge tanker to Stromberg's underwater lair an ideal location for the blazing final battle.

Moore relishes this new confidence and gives his definitive Bond performance. His use of humour could often be too much, but it's just right here and he makes for a lithe hero looking the epitome of cool astride a water-scooter riding to the rescue. Bach is a spiky and spirited Bond girl with an amazing pair of, erm, eyes.

Jurgens phones his performance in however, and is a second-rate villain coming across as a cousin of Emilio Largo from 'Thunderball'. This is made up for however with the first appearance of Jaws (Richard Kiel), probably the best Bond henchman ever. Looming over everyone, with metallic teeth he's the perfect Bond villain - outlandish, brutal, but not silly.

Moore's films were also notable for the series regulars always getting in good screen-time. It's no different here and Lee, Llewelyn and Maxwell are as excellent as always, as is the first appearance of Walter Gotell's General Gogol.

It may not be as gritty as 'From Russia With Love' or as grand as 'Goldfinger' but 'The Spy Who Loved Me' remains the definitive Moore Bond. Cocky, big and thrilling (oo-er!), Bond was back on firm ground and having the time of his life.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1226&reviewer=293
originally posted: 07/26/04 10:52:36
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User Comments

7/05/16 Billy34 Roger Moore rules as Bond. Nobody does it better 5 stars
5/23/12 keith miron Above average bond flick 3 stars
8/29/09 Jeff Wilder The best of the Roger Moore Bond movies. 5 stars
4/12/08 mr.mike Roger proves he's the man 5 stars
1/29/08 Pamela White One of Bond's best, Moore has reat role 5 stars
1/27/08 JV35 One of Moore's finest 5 stars
3/08/07 David Pollastrini Not great not terrible 3 stars
9/16/06 ProSneakyD The best bond film since You Only Live Twice and roger moors finest, who hates this film? 5 stars
1/02/06 Anthony Feor Jaws could not be better and the movie rules 5 stars
1/01/06 Yorkee First class action thriller - maybe THE best. 5 stars
11/19/05 chris brilliant bond film and stromburg rocks as the evil guy 5 stars
10/26/05 Nick Maybe the best Bond since you only live twice 5 stars
5/26/05 tony An way to make up for the one before. Beautiful job. This ones a definate platinum hit! 5 stars
4/29/05 brenda i loved it i am a huge james bond fan and i love sean connery and roger moore both were 5 stars
4/12/05 Indrid Cold Great over the top stuff, the best Moore one. Yes, I like Moore better than Connery! 5 stars
1/07/05 keithers.. A enjoyable bond film... 4 stars
11/17/04 C Vega Classic Scenes But is Really More Comedic to be considered A Classic Bond Movie 3 stars
8/16/04 Herolder Nice, but not one of the best 4 stars
11/29/03 john one of the theree best Bond movies - it's what Bond is all about! 5 stars
10/10/03 JimmyC Awesome! How many movies can say they have a scene where a guy kills a shark with his teeth 5 stars
7/06/03 Paul S. Classic moments: Ski-jump (!!), Jaws, Lotus, super-tanker battle, Stromberg`s marine HQ 5 stars
4/17/03 Andrew Carden Great Score, Moore Is Fantastic...but Film Is Overlong. 4 stars
1/28/03 Charles Tatum Huge, big Bond 5 stars
9/16/02 CVJ Good Bond but not excellent 3 stars
3/18/02 Zargo um... did we forget to put someone in the cast...? fuckwits 4 stars
1/24/02 murat a very fantastic film roger's first great bond film 5 stars
1/26/01 R.W. Welch Probably Moore's best Bond outing, dandy steel toothed villain. 4 stars
4/07/00 Gremlin The BEST of Moore, and one of the best Bond movies overall, very memorable scenes 5 stars
3/12/99 Claude Serralt Great 5 stars
10/26/98 Silent Rob A better Mooore effort, at least they were still trying, at this point 4 stars
10/24/98 Patrick888 Easily Rogers best. All 70's Bond ingredients in just the right proportion 4 stars
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