Sunday, 8 November 2015

007 - A View to a Kill

Roger Moore's sub-series has settled into a pleasant groove under John Glen. The director organises two hour long action collages that only demand the odd close-up from its nip-and-tucked star. Once A View to a Kill has finished grinding joylessly through a toothless social intrusion, the film switches gears, transforming into a rolling hazard generator.

View's creaky old 007 is pitted against Christopher Walken's test tube Nazi Max Zorin and Grace Jones' steely, feline bodyguard May Day. Zorin is that rare Bond villain, a man who doesn't just see the extermination of human life in abstract terms. Zorin revels in the slaughter, snorting and giggling as he fills loyal, blue-collar workers full of lead. Like Schwarzenegger, he's another automatic Aryan, blazing through bystanders with aspirational Israeli weaponry.

View's first act may flounder but the back half is energised. Bond shuffles through a variety of prefab identities that keep him locked in the firing line while May Day's allegiances flip-flop after Zorin tries to drown her. Glen is game too, manoeuvring around his stiffening star to deliver his garbled take on en vogue cataclysm - armies of emergency vehicles are chewed up and spat out in a destruction derby that recalls John Landis' The Blues Brothers, lit to resemble Walter Hill's The Driver.

Best of all, a finale setpiece on and around San Francisco's immovable Golden Gate Bridge plays out with the same barbaric physics George Miller gave to Mad Max 2. When 007 lashes Zorin's portable dirigible to the invincible monument it doesn't just hang there uselessly, it drifts and buckles. Bond and Zorin's confrontation is given an extra layer of danger by this treacherous, collapsing stage. Glen's film may have the emotional depth of a puddle but the director goes out of his way to find new, terrifying places to strand his stuntmen.

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