"The Spy Who Loved Me" is proof that even the most ridiculous of Bond films can sell itself so well that one feels it to be completely legitimate. Thusly, showing us that its not always the content for the film as long as on can sell that content. That's why this tenth film in the franchise is fun, quirky, and sparks with a chemistry viewers have yet to see from the Roger Moore era of Bond.
PLOT: James Bond is partnered with a rival Russian agent, Armanov to team together to find out who would build and steal both British and Russian nuclear submarines. Their journey takes them from Egypt to the bottoms of the ocean (literally) as they become suspicious of a very rich and insane man whom plans to kick start a new era of the human world.
STORYLINE 3/5: So once again its up to Bond to stop a madman from (sigh)...world domination. Of course being as this one is directed by the guy that brought us "You Only Live Twice" (yeesh), this film is going to be so over the top that to even try to believe it might make one clinically insane. The difference here is that, for some odd reason, there is this odd charm and chemistry, where it all works out. When the film hits its most ridiculous (the car chase straight into the ocean for example) its great fun, yet when the film hits its momentary serious points (the discussion of whom killed Armanov's lover) its quite intriguing. Somehow it balances it almost beautifully throughout - which is why this film comes off as so damn charming despite some of its special effect flaws.
BOND 4/5: This is Moore at one of his best moments (perhaps of his entire stint as Bond). He gives a solid performance that balances the cheese with a nice sense of intelligence and a cold streak - just like Bond should have. He can deliver those one liners like no ones business, we've already seen that and he does it well here, but his insane chemistry with Barbara Bach makes Bond seem even more realistic and the ever more charming.
VILLAIN 4/5: Stromberg is one of the strangest villains yet to grace the lovely Bond franchise. Completely and utterly insane similar in style and demeanor to the infamous Dr. No, with his underwater world, massive amounts of cash, nuclear weapons, and men in orange jump suits he fits the villain to a T for a Bond film. Although he's not the most original villain, nor the most evil, he does a fine job for the film. Although the odd detail that he has webbed hands is a little off setting for me (the first time I noticed it was literally on this viewing). He does, though, have one of the most badass henchmen in the history of any kind of henchmen. Jaws, our resident fucking behemoth with the metal studded teeth is both indestructible and completely fun to watch as he battles with Bond over and over again in the film. Our villain gets one bonus point for the henchmen here.
BOND GIRL 5/5: Barbara Bach gets serious points for not only being one of the best Bond girls ever but for being able to tread that line as a spy that is both beautiful and completely deadly. Armanov is truly Bond's counterpart for the film and her chemistry with Moore and the Bond character is engaging enough the whole film could have run on it. She is so much fun to watch on screen that its even easy to over look her sometimes shaky accent.
"The Spy Who Loved Me" might be over the top and ridiculous to the point of absurdity, but its charm and ability to sell itself to its viewers makes this both a fun and intriguing watch. It has some horrible effects (the opening blue screen shots, the random models like when the speed boat shoots out of the tanker) but its overall impressive size and tenacity wins it over.
BONUS RANT: What the hell was with the song at the end of the film? Its like a barber shop quartet for just one measure of the opening song. What the fuck?!
Written By Matt Reifschneider