Roger Moore returns in his second film as the illustrious James Bond and he's definitely bringing the camp right along with him. Although "The Man With The Golden Gun" smacks of a fun time, when one tries to look at it in any kind of a serious film manner, it quickly crumbles like the sand on Scaramanga's hidden island. But that's okay, since you know, its not supposed to be taken seriously.
PLOT: James Bond is dragged into a stand off with the world's greatest assassin, Scaramanga. Of course the case he is taken off of to be allowed to find and beat Scaramanga to the punch (one that includes finding a converter for solar energy) is tied into his duel with the man with the golden gun. Of course to hunt down this notorious assassin, whom kills his contracts with a patented golden gun and golden bullets, it takes Bond through the Asian world (again) and off to find and dispose of this menace once and for all.
STORYLINE 1.5/5: What is the biggest flaw of this film and its rather ridiculous plot is that at its core, it could have been one of the best James Bond films out there. The idea that Bond has finally met his match in a man that has the prowess to kill as he does. And the fact that they will go toe to toe in a final stand off is intriguing. Unfortunately, it gets massively bogged down in the ideology of what 'James Bond' films should be at this point - that being its going to be over the top with lots of locales and lots of pointless plot tangents. Thusly we get this overaching other plot about a solar converter that Scaramanga uses political intrigue and assassinating his partner Hai Fat to get so that he can...sigh...build a fucking laser and power his hidden island. Seriously? A fucking laser? Where the hell did this come from? So the plot goes from this cool ideal stand off between cold killers to world domination again?! And to top off its utter ridiculousness of setting and over complicated/useless plot the final stand off between our two nemesis' is rather lackluster. You fucked with the only good plot line you bastards!
BOND 2/5: So Moore returns as Bond and although his take on the hero is rather campy and cheesy, he fits the overall scheme of the story and take on character. Not my favorite way to see Bond, but fitting for the most part. Although I do have to admit that our initial moment with Bond in M's office is absolutely horrid. Why does he know so much about Scaramanga? Why does he give that creepy smile when Me 'okays' that he find the assassin? Yipes. It's just an odd way to introduce him for the film.
VILLAIN 4/5: This is the only redeeming quality about "The Man With The Golden Gun" and perhaps the reason I watch this film as much as I do. Despite having one of the most gimmicky henchmen, Christopher Lee is the perfect casting as the notorious Scaramanga and the character itself is menacing and fascinating. The speech he gives to Bond at the island about artists creating masterpieces is memorable and quite awesome (especially cause he doesn't blink!) and he makes this film watchable. Even though his final conflict with Bond kind of sucks.
BOND GIRL 0/5: I fucking hate, and I say hate with every inch of my soul, Ms. Goodnight. She might in fact, be the worst Bond girl to date (when I get further into the films I might say that again) with her complete lack of brains and any depth of character. Her only goal seems to be getting Bond into bed....what?!....and her use in the film is so lackluster and pointless (I guess she did get locked in a trunk to lead Bond to the island) that she might as well have never been on screen. Good riddance to Goodnight. She needed to leave.
BONUS RANT: Why the hell would you EVER, EVER, EVER bring back J.W. Pepper from "Live And Let Die"? It's completely POINTLESS to the plot. He was annoying in the previous film and he's annoying here. Why the hell is a Louisiana Cop in Bangkok? The writers should be shamed of this. The humor he brings is wasteful of a good car chase (which is also ruined by the use of a kazoo) and his general lack of relevance to the plot makes him the worst element that was thrown into this film.
"The Man With The Golden Gun" may not be the worst Bond film out there (we're getting there folks) but its damn close. It's ridiculous plot points and annoying characters bungle a rather interesting chemistry between hero and villain and the overall lack of brains included in the film make this one hard to get through. Luckily Christopher Lee is in this or it might be a total waste of time.
Written by: Matt Reifschneider