Bond is back and he’s practically drawing his pension. Roger Moore’s final appearance was the 1984 blockbuster “A View To A Kill” and it’s not one of the best, hardly a fitting send off to the longest running Bond who had become synonymous with the character in the minds of the public. It was Moore himself who decided that this would be his last outing citing age as being the reason for stepping down and to be honest, he was right to do so.
The main protagonist is Max Zorin, played with zeal and wild eyed menace by Christopher Walken, having originally been offered to David Bowie. A product of Nazi experiments during World War II, Zorin is head of an electronics company. He plans to destroy Silicon valley and corner the entire market and to this end has planted bombs in a mine that he owns which when detonated will fracture the San Andreas fault. With the help of May Day, Zorin’s killer henchwoman, Bond manages to thwart the plan and kills Zorin in a thrilling climax set aboard Zorin’s airship.
John Glen came back once more to direct this 1984 movie, though production was disrupted when the 007 stage at Pinewood burned to the ground. Cubby Broccoli had it rebuilt in record time while Glen took his crew out on location in Paris, San Francisco and Ascot in England. Eschewing the use of models, the team took a real airship out on location though Derek Meddings provided it’s fiery destruction.
As May Day, Glen cast singer Grace Jones, who’s lusty performance as the super strong assassin acts as a counterpoint to Tanya Roberts’ unfortunately rather wet and largely unengaging Stacey Sutton. One of the highlights of the movie is May Day’s astonishing escape from Bond by leaping off the Eiffel tower and parachuting to safety, a stunt for which she was doubled by B.J. Worth.
Patrick MacNee, best known as John Steed from the 60s series “The Avengers” played Sir Godfrey Tibbett and Fiona Fullerton was Pola Ivanova, a KGB agent. Despite the strong cast, the film feels as tired as Moore looks and the star was reportedly very unhappy with the finished product, citing it as his least favourite.
As well as Moore, this also marked the final appearance of Lois Maxwell, who had appeared as Miss Moneypenny in every Bond film to date but alas was also growing a little long in the tooth to be a convincing if always unrequited love interest. British band Duran Duran provided the theme song and John Barry did his usual sterling job on the soundtrack.
Walken won plaudits for his borderline psychotic portrayal of Zorin but the general critical reaction was unenthusiastic. Though the climax is spectacular and exciting and the usual set pieces are present and correct, the film has a slow moving first half and only Walken and Grace Jones stand out, both putting 100% into their roles. Tanya Roberts is unfortunately awful, a definite candidate for the most forgettable Bong girl in history and all in all, “View to a kill” is a rather limp finale for Moore who deserved better.