Bond, James Bond – Live and Let Die

(Crossposted from Blurred Productions)

Year: 1973

Bond Actor:  Roger Moore (Age: 46)

Bond Country of Origin: England

Women Slept With: 3

Villain’s Evil Scheme:  To dump 2 tons of free uncut heroin on the streets of America, bankrupting the competition and drastically increasing addiction rates, before drastically increasing prices

Let me just start by saying that this film is the best Bond film made with Roger Moore as Bond.  This is extremely faint praise, because this movie is pretty lame.  Any camp or silliness you might have been irritated with in the Connery films has been ramped up to 11 here.  This is personified by a character that the creative minds behind the series decided was worth making a reoccurring character.  J. W. Goddamnit Pepper, red faced, redneck overweight Southern sherrif from the bayou of Louisiana.  This mother fucker is a bane and so painfully over-the-top and unfunny that even the infantile antics of Moore seem well written and clever.

Get used to this guy

You like your Bond with sexism?  This one has it in spades.  The CIA agent that Bond is paired with in San Monique is not only terrified of every noise and out of place item on the planet, she’s also frail, helpless, ditzy and (of course) a traitor.  Once she’s thoroughly sexed and killed, Bond is able to set his sights on the main Bond Girl, Jane Seymour!  Dr. Quinn Medicine woman is a tarot card reader in the employ of the villain!  But oh no! She’s only useful to anyone when she’s a virgin, and no one gets to be a virgin long once James Bond is on the scene!  Once he’s tricked her with a rigged deck of cards (wimminz is so stupid!) she’s apparently powerless and fairly worthless overall.

I sure hope nobody puts in a token effort to sleep with me!

You like your Bond with stupid?  This one has stupid too!  Starting with the CIA needing a British agent to deal with a drug lord in Harlem and New Orleans.  And what does the slick, brilliant Secret Agent do to find out what the villain’s plan when he does get to Harlem?  He walks straight into a bar in the middle of the drug lord’s territory in a suit and orders a scotch.  What a surprise when the only white man in Harlem is immediately captured and sent to be killed.  Bond continues to stumble around acting calm while getting himself captured and put into death traps until he’s finally managed to bring down the villain, mostly through luck and the eternal idiocy of the common henchman.

I almost don’t even need to mention how racist the film is.  Apparently black people are all united against America, secretly plotting to destroy it using hard drubs and weird slang.  Only a square jawed well spoken white man can stop them, even if it means stealing away their beautiful white women girlfriends and teaming up with racist local police officers.  I should also note that the only images of black culture presented in the film are hoodlum inner city gangsters , dirt poor creole gator farmers with jutting lower jaws, and primitive voodoo tribesmen who tie white people to poles and dance around bonfires.

Terrifying

Despite all this, there is some enjoyment to be had from the film.  I think most of it stems from Yaphet Koddo, who is totally awesome.  He takes a role that draws from every stereotype of powerful black men and turns it into a chilling, competent character who makes James Bond look like a clown.  His plan is horrific, certainly the most realistic of the Bond villain’s plots, and he is so cunning in carrying it out despite the various buffoons who work for him that you end up feeling a bit disappointed when he doesn’t succeed.  Certainly he’s more suave and sophisticated than James Bond.  And however you may feel about the deathless Baron Samedi, he’s so creepy that I think it’s worth any silly plotline.  Also Jane Seymour looks really good in this movie, if that’s your sort of thing.

Damn, I look good when I’m saving this movie!

If I had my way, I would skip the entire Roger Moore series of films, but if I have to watch any of them, it would probably be this one.  If the racism and camp isn’t your sort of thing, then by all means, stay away.

Bond Rating: BadasSPE out of BadsssssSPECTRE

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