Octopussy represents a series in creative free fall. Director John Glen could excel if he was given brisk, ninety minute tales that learned heavily on stunts. Unfortunately, he's steering something much more ungainly, a series piled high with expectations, choking on formula. Cubby Broccoli and pals squeezed up in the back seat, barking out directions and demanding diversions. Two and a quarter hours or bust.
So instead of an airtight plot to install Bond in a circus that smuggles priceless jewels and nuclear bombs on the side, a squad of screenwriters serve up another mind-numbing travelogue. India is the target of their worldliness, the country sketched with all the authority of a half-remembered RKO potboiler. Moore matches this tone with a 007 enjoying his second adolescence. Women are not merely bedded, they are ogled and spied upon. Moore permanently seconded in some bush getting his grot on.
Eventually Bond finds himself on the fission bomb express leaping from carriage to carriage, Octopussy finally playing to Glen's strengths. For the climax 007 plants himself on a departing Twin Beech aeroplane then inches around the exterior, fighting off assassins and sabotaging the engines. John Glen and his stunt team lock horns with Steven Spielberg and Vic Armstrong's genre-defining work on Raiders of the Lost Ark, Glen leaning on length and intensity were Spielberg opted for stuttering verisimilitude.