L The List
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- 1Best Chase Sequence: Bond movies are known for their amazing chase sequences, but none have topped the one where Bond races through the streets of actual Las Vegas! This was one of the very few times that the traffic on Las Vegas Blvd's "Casino Strip" district was ever shut down completely. It also features Bond driving the very popular Ford Mustang which also helped to make it a hit with American audiences. Many Bond films feature the threat of nuclear war, but this one does one the best jobs of featuring the nuclear arms race. It also has one of the most fun Bond gadgets: a device that controls slot machines so that you can win whenever you want.
- 2Worst Theme Music: Oh man, is this song awful. It's about all I can remember from this movie. It's singer, Sheena Easton, might be easy enough on the eyes to be the only singer to appear in the famous music video-like title sequences, but the song is among the worst examples of 80's sappy love songs. It does have the wonderful actor Julian Glover in it as the Villain Kristatos and a possibly world record for most inexplicably recurring villain appearance (we're bordering on comic book level stuff at this point) by the third guy to play Blofeld, John Hollis. Q's radio wristwatch gets props as well for being one of those almost prescient sci fi gadgets to predict the invention of the hand-held cell phone. Heck, I saw a real, working radio watch at a CES convention a couple years ago.
- 3Worst Bond Spoof to Actually Use a Name From the Novels: I usually hate spoofs of Bond films (Johnny English being the lone exception) and this one is one of the worst. It is almost as disgusting, lewd, loud and obnoxious as the Austin Powers films. The only reason to see it on DVD is if you can find the version that has the bonus track with the CBS TV version of Casino Royale on it.
- 4The Time Warp Bond Film: Bond films don't actually feature time travel and alternate universes, but this film is about as close as we fans have gotten to experiencing one in the franchise. Based on the first Flemming novel, this kinda-sorta-but-not-really-reboot, reintroduces us to James Bond, MI6 Special Agent before he gets his 00 status. It also reintroduces Judi Dench as M as though she'd been his boss all along (actually M had previously been played by a string of excellent male actors prior to Dench, so this was a bit of a shock). It also felt so alternate universy because of the strange brew of retro Bond movie elements and ultra high tech gagetry. They kept the gadgets to a minimum this time in a nod to the simpler times of Dr. No though. The convoluted bad guy situation in this film puts one in mind more of Mission Impossible in some ways. It's irritating that they change the gambling game from Baccarat to the more pedestrian Poker (in a nod to the World Series of Poker TV phenom no doubt). Also, strangely, Felix Leiter and Mathis are back from the dead but are totally different than they were in their first appearances. I almost expected Blofeld to be behind everything again :)
- 5Most Iconic Bond Film: While Dr. No got the ball rolling for the Eon Productions franchise, this film is possibly even more seminal in the minds of Bond fans with the introduction of Desmond Lewellen as Q (possibly the best supporting role in an action movie ever) and his amazing Aston Martin gadget car, Odd Job (possibly best movie villain henchman ever), the girl coated in gold paint etc.
- 6Best Gunfights in a Bond Movie: This film stars Christopher Lee (today's moviegoers know him best as Lord of the Rings' Suraman or Star Wars' Count Dukoo, but he's been in movies for decades) as the marksman villain Scaramanga and Herve Villechaize (Fantasy Island's Tattoo) as his henchman Nick Nack even more so than it does Roger Moore as Bond. This duo steals the show every time they are on screen. The film's main highlight is when Bond has a duel with Scaramanga.