As far as the obligatory James Bond theme song goes, the one
here, by Paul McCartney and Wings (not the dreaded four-times-a-
day-on-USA sitcom), is by far the best. (Don't tell me those Swedish
meatballs a-ha even come close with "The Living Daylights.") Also,
LIVE AND LET DIE brags the accomplishment of having more black
people than the other seventeen Bond movies combined.
It's kind of sad, actually, to have to hear James Bond being
referred to as "honkey" and "cue ball" while in Harlem. (You wouldn't
think a white guy would get that kind of treatment in Harlem, but oh
how the times have changed.) This dramatic shift in focus is most
likely the result of Louis Farrakhan replacing David Duke as executive
producer of the Bond series.
That's not the only replacement we see in LIVE AND LET
DIE. Roger Moore replaces Sean Connery as 007, beginning a seven-
movie run extending through 1985's A VIEW TO A KILL. Moore,
naturally, doesn't completely capture the smooth, debonair feel
Connery put forth in his six outings as the secret agent, but he does
assume the role surprisingly well. He'd almost be on the same level as
Connery if not for the fact that he reminds me so much of Adam West,
TV's Batman. Or is it just my imagination running away with me?
The plot mixes the typical drug lord scenario with voodoo,
shifting from Harlem to San Monique to New Orleans in pursuit of
Mr. Big. Solitaire, Bond's third girl of the movie, is a Tarot card
reader. Bond stacks a deck of cards with "The Lovers" in an attempt to
poke her. (Get it? Cards. Poker.) He takes her virginity away, which in
turn takes away her magical ability to read the future. (She should
have seen it coming, I say.) So was it worth it, Mr. Bond? Huh? Just so
she could be your 863rd conquest?
LIVE AND LET DIE is entertaining in two ways. First, it
works as a straight action movie almost the entire time. The only lapse
is an overlong boat chase in which bumbling redneck Sheriff Pepper
(whose brother is a Sergeant) is introduced as some kind of comic
relief, trying to capture Bond and his pursuers. Second, LIVE AND
LET DIE is more dated than most other Bond movies, especially with
its introduction of jive talkin', bushy-sideburned blaxploitation
villains, giving it an unintended camp hilarity.
Copyright © 1996 Andrew Hicks