(1983, 2:35, John Glen)

*= Moments of Interest

Not the “all time high” the tagline of the poster, or the title song crooned by Rita Coolidge, promises.  The atmosphere is manufactured, the script is paper thin, the editing compress almost every scene into a series of malnourished set-ups, and director John Glen’s indifferent attitude towards the material reinforces the by-the-numbers feel.  (Dave Kehr astutely commented that Glen’s naturalistic tendencies are at odds with the cartoon elements of the script, and Glen can’t serve up the tongue-in-cheek elements of the Bond films like Lewis Gilbert.) Still, there are a few moments and elements that keeps this entry alive: the interplay between Roger Moore and villain Louis Jourdan during a high stakes backgammon game; an extended action sequence that shifts from a car chase to a fight on top of a moving train; and then there’s Moore himself. While his face manifests the exhaustion that was coming on to the whole series, Moore still has enough sparkle, wit and intensity –who else could get away with James Bond trying to disarm a nuclear bomb while dressed up in a clown suite?– to make the film’s two hour plus running time almost bearable.


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