Food & Adventures

Thursday 8 February 2018

Project Bond: Live and Let Die

"Names is for tombstones, baby! Y'all take this honky out and waste him! Now!"

Sean Connery was out as Bond, the producers needed to find a new leading man and needed someone who could carry the franchise for the next 10+ years. They found that in the raised eyebrow and solid chin of Roger Moore. I'll be honest Roger Moore is not my favourite Bond, In fact he isn't even top 3, I haven't watched any of his Bond films for quite a while as my memories of them are that they became a parody of earlier Bond films.

The film starts with a pretty standard Bond intro, we see UK agents being assassinated at the UN in New York, at a funeral parade in New Orleans and finally via a snakebite at a Voodoo ritual in the Caribbean Island of San Monique.

This leads to the theme tune by Paul McCartney and Wings, personally I prefer the cover version of 'Live and Let Die' by Guns n Roses but the original is still pretty good.

Next we meet the new Bond who is up to his old tricks in bed with a beautiful woman who turns out to be an Italian agent he seduced on his last mission. Bond is woken up with a knock on his door and it's M (played once again by Bernard Lee) who tells Bond of his mission to investigate the assassinations and MI6 believes there is a link to Dr. Kanaga (the "Prime Minister" (really Dictator) of San Monique.

Bond heads to USA and makes contact with his old mate from the CIA Felix Leiter who is already engaged in surveillance of Dr. Kananga. Obviously Kananga gives the CIA the slip but 007 is quick on his trail and follows him to Harlem where Bond meets a Tarot card reader named Solitaire who is helping Kananga and Harlems criminal Kingpin Mr. Big.

Obviously Mr. Big has a henchman who is the Archetypal Bond villain called TeeHee who has a missing arm that has been replaced by a claw, they're not a proper Bond villain unless they have some prothesis.

Not a lot happens in the first half of the film, Bond heads to San Monique and meets his CIA contact called Rosie. There is a lot of walking around looking at stuff but not much action and I found it to be quite slow. However during Bonds rambling around the fields of San Monique he discovers a huge Poppy plantation.

It turns out Kananga and Mr. Big are the same person and he plans to release tonnes of heroin to the black market for free to but his competitors out of business and make millions of new addicts. Bond is taken to a crocodile farm where Kananga is making the heroin where he is to be killed by crocodiles but in that classic scene he escapes by running on the crocodiles back.

There is boat chase which is pretty cool and we meet a Louisiana Sherif called J W Pepper who will also pop up in the next Bond film. The second half of the film is a lot better and is really action packed however once it gets going it seems to be over really quickly. Bond fights another of Kanaga's henchmen, the Voodoo Priest, Baron Samedi. Bond quickly kills him by throwing him into a casket of venomous snakes. The most ridiculous death though is that of Dr. Kanaga who is inflated with a canister of compressed air. I know it was the 70's and SFX weren't that great but this death is truly atrocious.

Bond seemingly victorious heads off with Solitaire on a train but is attacked by TeeHee. Bond manages to get rid of him by chucking him out the window and gets down to business with Solitaire. The film end with the back of the train where we see Baron Samedi is still alive.

Despite it's pacing I really enjoyed this film and it was better than I remembered. However you clearly get the impression that this film was made solely to cash in on the Blaxploitation genre that was big at the time. There are loads of racial stereotypes like the gangsters driving pimpmobiles, the Louisiana police's overt racism and a lot of racial slurs. The bad guy all being black and the good guys all being white was a little uncomfortable and in fact I'm sure at one point Bond refers to Mr. Big and his gang as 'blackies', not cool 007, not cool.

However, with renewed optimism I'm not looking forward to the other Roger Moore film and the next film in the series is my favourite staring Moore.

Here's the trailer.

Project Bond will return with The Man With The Golden Gun.

Well, That's all for now.



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