Director John Glen
Stars Roger Moore, Julian Glover, Carole Bouquet & Chaim Topol
- Elements of classic Bond stories
- Moments of real tension underwater and in the clouds
That’s putting it mildly 007
- The ruthless kick off the cliff
Things You Might Not Like
- The constant tedium between set-pieces
- A lack of real threat or danger
- Completely Jaws-less
- Boring villain
- No explanation for the crossbow
All the elements are in place that should make For Your Eyes Only a classic Bond, it just never links them together smoothly enough to entertain more than sporadically.
2 out of 5 Electric Lektors
Luke McGrath will return in Octopussy
Even with the failings of the Moore years, his films are often the most accessible in the series. He’s fun to watch, carries the role naturally and raises an eyebrow just often enough to let you know he’s in on the joke. Merging Sir Roger’s entertaining portrayal with a story centred around Sir Sean’s more believable stories should have created a standout entry. Sadly, the end product is a movie weighed down by seriousness and almost insignificant importance.
After a (moderately) bad guy steals an eighties version of the lektor (see From Russia with Love), Bond is sent to retrieve it before it can be used to order all British ships to fire on each other. It seems like a world-threatening problem but never really amounts to anything more than a low-key hunt for the machine. You always suspect that Q has another device that would stop our Navy from destroying itself, he’s just putting 007 through his paces to test out his new exploding Lotus. The ATAC (see lektor) is a complete MacGuffin, the real story is an unusually slow treatise on revenge: below par Bond girl Carole Bouquet wants revenge for the death of her parents who first recovered the device, Bond finally gets to put Bloefeld’s copyright claims to rest and two old war friends have become smuggling enemies (but one of them is cool because he only smuggles pistachio nuts).
There’s nothing detestable about the story, neither is there anything to love. A brief allusion to Tracey Bond is a nice touch but low key doesn’t work with this Bond, his lack of gadgets isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and he even turns down a young skating girl sitting naked in his hotel room. There’s something wrong with 007 and it can’t be saved by a reboot for another two films. This just isn’t the series we were promised, there’s so little going on and so few reasons to care. The point where a parrot provides exposition seems trivial but could easily have replaced jumping the shark; no idea where the villain’s gone? Ask the parrot.
As an early Bond, For Your Eyes Only would have worked, as a revival piece, it limps along without enough goodwill to skip over the cracks. The On Her Majesty’s Secret Service ski/bobsleigh chase goes on too long, the sub-Red Grant henchmen never threatens and the final assault is tedious. There are moments of strength, particularly where quiet tension builds to snapping point as Bond dangles from a climbing rope and the moment he exacts revenge on a henchman over a cliff, but they’re not tied together by enough excitement for this kind of film. It’s hard to feel any malice towards a film so bereft of involvement, the result being a gentle malaise that mirrors the two hours onscreen.
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