In a fast chase high atop the Eiffel Tower, James Bond, in 1985's
A VIEW TO A KILL, climbs the stairs in pursuit of the killer known as
May Day. Just when he's about to capture her, she takes a flying leap
to escape. With a striped parachute to break her fall, she glides
easily to the ground.
The killer, played by the strikingly tall and ultra-macho Grace
Jones, has jet-black hair shaped like "Winged Victory." With Jones's
rippling muscles and her sinister and sexy scowl, her acting is best
when left to the physical. When she speaks, her limitations as an
actress become immediately obvious.
Roger Moore, still at the peak of his Bond form, shows no sign of
tiring of the role. (Okay so he's not and never was Connery's equal.)
But this is Moore's last outing as the world's greatest secret agent.
Christopher Walken plays a rich Swiss industrialist named Max
Zorin, a mean blonde with a big head of hair, who lives in a palace
that the French kings would have envied. Even with all his riches, he
scams to fix horse races so that an inferior bred horse can win.
Zorin's biggest scheme includes the ending of "the domination of
Silicon Valley." So how is he going to wipe out the heartland of
American chipdom? Well, just remember it's in California. You can
figure out the basic idea.
Walken is surprisingly underutilized and restrained in the film.
Why director John Glen didn't let Walken cut loose remains a mystery?
One particularly imaginative sequence in the picture has Bond
about to be drowned in a sinking car. He stays alive by sucking the
air from one of the tires until the bad guys leave the shore, figuring
he must have died.
Bond films delight through their travel views of luscious locales
as well as their action. In this episode, in addition to Paris, we
have a magnificently sunny San Francisco, albeit mainly the touristy
Fisherman's Wharf area. Dozens of San Francisco police
black-and-whites bite the dust when they chase a hijacked fire truck
with Bond and his female companion, played by Tanya Roberts, going
across the city's hills and bridges.
With a strong cast of supporting characters, including Walken,
Jones, and Patrick Macnee from "The Avengers" and with Moore in fine
form, the movie, nevertheless, is often a snoozer. The action
sequences from steeple chases to fast inflating dirigibles are
imaginative, but the story never establishes any rhythm or builds much
sustained energy. The net result is a story that has us yearning for
those much older Bond films that never lost your attention.
A VIEW TO A KILL runs 2:06. It is rated PG for comic violence and
sexual innuendo and would be fine for kids around nine and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 9, gave it **, saying it was too hard to
follow. His favorite part was Q's little robot.
Copyright © 1998 Steve Rhodes