A View to A Kill - Underrated?

edited April 2017 in Bond Movies Posts: 352
Got around to re-watching A View to a Kill today. First time in a few years. Paid attention more to the dialogue and plot elements of the film. Despite an aging Roger Moore and some cheesy/cringe worthy moments (i.e. Beach Boys interlude during ski chase, May Day and Zorin wrestling), I thought the film has great merit.

The plot line and Zorin's plan are fresh, along with the assortment of allies and henchmen/women. I also enjoy how Zorin is the target of both MI6 and the KGB, where the plot points intersect, and England thinking KGB would have rejoiced had Zorin's plan come to fruition successfully.

Stacy Sutton is an excellent Bond girl. Her role as a seismic geologist is fully convincing, with excellent delivery of dialogue, and compelling performance. May Day is an excellent henchwoman that generally gives you the creeps. You don't like her. You don't trust her. Until perhaps, the very end.

Roger Moore's performance, while not the best of his tenure, put his 7-movie career to a pleasant end.

Many reviews place AVTAK on Moore's lower end, if not last. Very under-rated, I feel. Thoughts?
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Comments

  • Mendes4LyfeMendes4Lyfe Given the circumstances
    Posts: 7,338
    I love the score.
  • Major_BoothroydMajor_Boothroyd Republic of Isthmus
    edited April 2017 Posts: 2,716
    Good points: the score, title song, villains, Paris section, golden gate fight. In particular the way Walken plays Zorin is different to most other villains. He seems to not rate Bond at all, he's merely a nuisance and Bond can't get under his skin the same way bond can with most other rivals. The film also has a cruel, sinister and uneasy tone because of Zorin and May Day's indiscriminate sadism.

    I think John Glenn is at his least inspired for this entry. The plot drags in this film. The fights are rubbish. The one in Stacey sutton's house is cringe worthy. For an action thriller film it moves glacially not only by modern standards but also by 1985 standards. Moore is simply too old and he seems to be playing himself rather than Bond. A good example is the Macnee scenes where he's bossing him around. Yes, they are playful fun - but it's more The Persuaders than Bond.

    Is it underrated? Not in the Bond cannon for me. I like it because of nostalgia and because it's a bit odd - especially the cruel atmosphere surrounding any scenes with the villains. But as a piece of entertainment it can be an arduous watch. I'd say there are a few films below it in series but this is second to last for me of Roger's films (after MWTGG) and would be in the bottom five of the series.
  • BondAficionadoBondAficionado Former IMDBer
    Posts: 1,834
    Watched it recently and I must say that it has improved quite a bit for me.

    The fist fight in the warehouse, Aubergine's death and many of the quips are terrible (not Moore's fault) but I think it fits perfectly in the time it was made. I believe choosing San Francisco was a great move and I don't mind the fire truck scene - unlike the majority who'd disagree. What do people expect from a movie shot in '85?

    Zorin and May Day are fascinating villains and despite being a little too eccentric I like their uniqueness in the franchise. Very memorable pair of villains.

    Moore's age is definitely a problem during the action scenes but he's still the same charmer from LALD. When watching the film again I found that he and Tanya Roberts played off one another pretty well. She's no Adams when acting next to Moore but I can't complain either. She's very easy on the eyes too...

    In conclusion, is it an underrated Bond entry? Most certainly not. I wouldn't expect it to be above #12 on everyone's rankings even if they enjoyed it immensely. Having said that, I find large chunks of the film to be great. I think many people haven't watched it in decades (because of a first bad experience) but they should give it another try with an open mind.
  • Posts: 137
    Underrated or overrated, it’s difficult to say. Great locations and sets separate the Moore era from the run of the mill B grade films of the times like the Mat Helm series with Dean Martin, or the Flint series with Coburn, or the euro spy grouping of films like Secret Agent Fireball, or Mission Bloody Mary, or Kiss, Kiss, Kill, Kill. Peter Hunt once said in an interview that ‘The Bond films should not become imitators of their imitators’, but the Moore era seems to be just that. While the villains were great, Michael Lonsdale as Hugo Drax, Christopher Walken as Max Zorin, etc., Moore’s Bond lacked flair. Even the one line sexual innuendo was delivered like plain vanilla. Moore never seems to have much enthusiasm for the role, lacking any vigor or as a female friend of mine liked to call it, Dash, (a man needs the have DASH, she always said). For me it’s really the production that carries those films. EON did a great job supporting a very cardboard character in AVTAK.
  • Posts: 1,769
    One of the things I've noticed in recent years on Bond fan pages is this very question of AVTAK being underrated and fans showing new appreciation for it. And I don't get it.

    From somebody who was there opening weekend, it is still at the near bottom for me (Hello, TWINE). AVTAK was why TLD had to happen. Save for Walken and Grace Jones and the title song, everything seemed so stale and by-the-numbers. Somebody mentioned it was expected for a film done in '85, but the thing was the action genre was changing with Indiana Jones setting the pace and Rambo: First Blood II opening the same weekend as AVTAK and make it seem that much more a relic. Moore's age was symbolic for where the series was then as far as that goes.

    Walken is the only real selling point for me. When I bought the UE DVDs, I watched only the scenes with Zorin in them. The fact he was a physical match for Bond and not put on some super henchman was fresh. To have him and May Day should have doubled the tension but it just never worked that way. Even Barry's score is my least favorite, where as many others site TMWTGG, which I'd spin time and again over AVTAK.

    Lastly, the OP mentioned "Tracy" Sutton. Please don't confuse Stacy Sutton with Tracy from OHMSS. They are so on opposite scales of the Bond women spectrum.

    I respect your opinion if you like the film, but just wanted to share my view (see what I did there) on it as a longtime fan who has seen a lot of films in the series shuffle over time on my list. AVTAK is a constant.
  • Posts: 1,052
    It's not as terrible as it's reputation, has some good moments and is easily watchable. I think as mentioned it just has a bit of stale air about it, missing some spark. As a big Rog fan, I can say it is just the natural conclusion to an era, definitely time.
  • Posts: 19,339
    It's at #16 for me on my list of Bond flicks,but I do enjoy watching it on the rare occasions I do.

    As I have said before on here,it you look at it as Bond's last mission before he retires then Roger's age becomes appropriate and you can tolerate it.

    Plus Christopher Walken is awesome as Zorin,one of the best villains in the series.
  • Posts: 4,325
    One of the weakest Bonds. Just above Moonraker out of Moore's films. Great score, great performance from Walken but the rest just falls flat. Moore is too old, the plot and pace drags, usual Roger Moore silliness, unBondian performance, tired and uninspired feel, bad use of back projection in the PTS, however the absolute best bit in the whole film ...

    The Paris taxi driver!
  • GBFGBF
    Posts: 3,164
    I really like it as a guilty pleasure. Great score, great villains, great ally, great climax, great sets and locations. I like the plot. I also feel that the film does not try to be more than it is, like some of the recent Bond films...

    Roger is obviously too old but I like him anyway. Stacy is a bit annoying but the character is actually much more interesting than all the other female agents who add nothing to the plot. There is a nice father-daughter relationship between the two (well at least until the very end). There are a few jokes too many and some lines do not work so very well but overall a very entertaining Bond film...
  • Posts: 4,325
    GBF wrote: »
    I really like it as a guilty pleasure. Great score, great villains, great ally, great climax, great sets and locations. I like the plot. I also feel that the film does not try to be more than it is, like some of the recent Bond films...

    Roger is obviously too old but I like him anyway. Stacy is a bit annoying but the character is actually much more interesting than all the other female agents who add nothing to the plot. There is a nice father-daughter relationship between the two (well at least until the very end). There are a few jokes too many and some lines do not work so very well but overall a very entertaining Bond film...

    It's the father-daughter aspect that bothers me, on my last viewing it just struck me as been so un-Bond like. Would Sean Connery's Bond have tucked her up in bed? It just all felt odd on last viewing.
  • Posts: 11,175
    My problem with AVTAK is that, while it does have a few commendable qualities (Christopher Walken, a strong score and Duran Duran's song), the film seems very stale and by-the-numbers. There's not much enthusiasm in the direction or story-telling. It's more a case of "put-it-together, meet the production deadlines, move on".
  • GBFGBF
    Posts: 3,164
    tanaka123 wrote: »
    GBF wrote: »
    I really like it as a guilty pleasure. Great score, great villains, great ally, great climax, great sets and locations. I like the plot. I also feel that the film does not try to be more than it is, like some of the recent Bond films...

    Roger is obviously too old but I like him anyway. Stacy is a bit annoying but the character is actually much more interesting than all the other female agents who add nothing to the plot. There is a nice father-daughter relationship between the two (well at least until the very end). There are a few jokes too many and some lines do not work so very well but overall a very entertaining Bond film...

    It's the father-daughter aspect that bothers me, on my last viewing it just struck me as been so un-Bond like. Would Sean Connery's Bond have tucked her up in bed? It just all felt odd on last viewing.

    Well if Connery was 57 then probably yes... There is a similar relationship in FYEO where I also find the final love scene a bit out of place. I even find that the relationship between Bond and Tatjana is a bit like that, even thought the age difference was not as big but still Tatjana is rather the young and a bit naive Russian girl whereas Bond really seems to be very mature and focused on his mission. He does not seem to care so very much about her but still intends to protect her....
  • GBFGBF
    Posts: 3,164
    BAIN123 wrote: »
    My problem with AVTAK is that, while it does have a few commendable qualities (Christopher Walken, a strong score and Duran Duran's song), the film seems very stale and by-the-numbers. There's not much enthusiasm in the direction or story-telling. It's more a case of "put-it-together, meet the production deadlines, move on".

    Well this argument can certainly be used easily for every kind of Bond film. But I would even say that AVTAK does stand out more than other Bond films, but not always in a good way :-)

    However, it is certainly not the safe and formulatic Bond film. There have been quite some memorable aspects like the villains, the blimp, some famous land marks and even unique action scenes like the horse chase. Even the title song was very different form the previous ones. And even though the plot reminds us of Goldfinger, I don't find the film's plot too simple and formulatic like YOLT, TB, TSWLM or MR where you more or less can sum up the plot in 30 seconds (which is of course not necessarily a bad thing).
  • Posts: 1,052
    Very lazy editing during the car chase, I'm sure you are all familiar with the terrible stuntman shot when the top of the car is smashed off. A lack of care taken or just no time to sort it out in post production?
  • Posts: 11,175
    GBF wrote: »
    BAIN123 wrote: »
    My problem with AVTAK is that, while it does have a few commendable qualities (Christopher Walken, a strong score and Duran Duran's song), the film seems very stale and by-the-numbers. There's not much enthusiasm in the direction or story-telling. It's more a case of "put-it-together, meet the production deadlines, move on".

    Well this argument can certainly be used easily for every kind of Bond film. But I would even say that AVTAK does stand out more than other Bond films, but not always in a good way :-)

    However, it is certainly not the safe and formulatic Bond film. There have been quite some memorable aspects like the villains, the blimp, some famous land marks and even unique action scenes like the horse chase. Even the title song was very different form the previous ones. And even though the plot reminds us of Goldfinger, I don't find the film's plot too simple and formulatic like YOLT, TB, TSWLM or MR where you more or less can sum up the plot in 30 seconds (which is of course not necessarily a bad thing).

    The thing is I can't help but think that, even in comparison to OP which in itself is often described as bland, AVTAK is somewhat...limp.
  • Last_Rat_StandingLast_Rat_Standing South Florida
    Posts: 3,999
    A good first half until it reaches San Francisco. After that it doesn't feel like much of a Bond film. The whole fire in the city hall plus the fire engine Chase is just odd
  • edited April 2017 Posts: 11,175
    A good first half until it reaches San Francisco. After that it doesn't feel like much of a Bond film. The whole fire in the city hall plus the fire engine Chase is just odd

    I hate that whole sequence. Terrible back projection and unfunny "gags".
  • Last_Rat_StandingLast_Rat_Standing South Florida
    Posts: 3,999
    BAIN123 wrote: »
    A good first half until it reaches San Francisco. After that it doesn't feel like much of a Bond film. The whole fire in the city hall plus the fire engine Chase is just odd

    I hate that whole sequence. Terrible back projection and unfunny "gags".

    That's why when I watch AVTAK I fast forward to the mine scene right after the pump station scene
  • One of the worst Bond movies.
  • edited April 2017 Posts: 352
    A good first half until it reaches San Francisco. After that it doesn't feel like much of a Bond film. The whole fire in the city hall plus the fire engine Chase is just odd

    I find the City Hall scene quite interesting, as the scene is tied to an actual event). In 1978, San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were shot and killed inside their offices at City Hall, by disgruntled former Supervisor Dan White.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscone–Milk_assassinations
  • BennyBenny Classified Administrator, Moderator
    Posts: 12,481
    I always enjoy watching AVTAK, and often think that maybe I'm too harsh on it as far as my ranking goes.
    Currently it sits in 22nd spot. But then I watch a few more Bond films, and realise yes it does belong in 22nd spot. The plot is weak, but not only that it's really a film of two parts. The horse racing first half. And the destroying silicon valley in the second. After Bond arrives in the US, the horse racing plot is completely ignored. It's as if it's there just to beef up the story until Bond has something to do. The leading lady is weak and so implausible its not funny.
    Why is Stacey invited to Zorin's châteaux in the first place?
    Why does Zorin fly her all the way to France for his horse sale? He's not exactly on the best of terms with her as far as his plot at the time. Moreover why does she attend. He's trying to seize her birthright. He's cost her everything she owns. But I will spend the day in Paris.There's no need for it, and it only serves to introduce the leading lady early on, but with nothing to show for it. Other than Bond liking what he see's and trying to get his leg over. Unsuccessfully.
    She then turns up in San Francisco as luck would have it, when Bond starts to unravel Zorin's scheme. Lazy and unlikely storytelling. The less said about the airship that sneaks up on her the better.
    Grace Jones could've been a better henchperson and displays real menace and a threat to Bond. But then inexplicably changes sides.
    The action is some of the weakest and uninspired of the series. The leap off the Eiffel tower is stunning, as is the hanging from the airship. But the rest is very weak. Two car chases, some fisticuffs. The simple fact is that Roger Moore was too old to be playing Bond. I love Sir Rog, and even though he's past it he still gives it his all and is as ever very likable in the role. The only other plus points for me are Christopher Walken and Patrick Macnee. Actually John Barry's score is not bad as well.
    Is A View To A Kill underrated? Sadly I don't think it is.
  • GBFGBF
    Posts: 3,164
    @Benny

    Of course there is a reason why Stacey is invited to the chateau. Don't forget that she is there to take the cheque of 5 Million Dollars. Maybe she was in France anyway so Zorin sent her a helicopter to bring her to his chateau. We don't have more information but we don't need them. I think it is all quite reasonable.

    I also don't think that it is unlikely for Bond to run into her later on in the film. Stacey is a character who is relevant for the plot. Bond investigating Zorin's actions in San Francisco makes it very plausible that Bond meets Stacey again. That the daughter of an oil entrepreneur is working as a geologist is also plausible. As I said her back story makes sense and the way how Bond and her get to know each other throughout the film is actually handled very well. The only problem is that Tanja Roberts is not such a great actor and also probably 10 to 15 years too young to be both a competent geologist and a interested in Old Roger's charmes.
  • edited April 2017 Posts: 3,969
    The horse racing story is to show Zorin's evil side, in the same way that Goldfinger was shown as a cheat at cards and golf. It never struck me as needing it's own completion.

    Zorin invites Stacey to the chateau to persuade her to sell her land and property. She goes as she is thinking of accepting due to her finances. She only later resolves not to when he sends the ultra tough goons to her house.

    She is in San Francisco as that is where she lives and works.
  • BennyBenny Classified Administrator, Moderator
    Posts: 12,481
    Look if all that works for you,then all well and good. Personally it's all a little to convenient for me. I don't buy the Stacey angle. Possibly the chateau at a stretch, but the rest is far too easy. I know its a film, the story has to mesh together. With AVTAK it seems to happen very conveniently.
  • GBFGBF
    Posts: 3,164
    @Benny

    Well we can talk for hours about unlikelyness in Bond films. Just compare the small coincidences in AVTAK with the ones in TB. Bond is just coincidently in the same health spa with SPECTRE and more or less coincidently finds out a big share of their evil plan.

    In OHMSS, Bond is more or less coincidently running into Tracy after his escape from Piz Gloria.

    In AVTAK, Bond is investigating a case that involves Stacey to some degree. Hence, it is rather likely that they meet again. The same applies to the repeating encounters between Bond and Goodhead in Moonraker. Both work on the same mission so it is feasible that they meet each other at different places. Another example is Bond and Melina in FYEO.
  • BondAficionadoBondAficionado Former IMDBer
    Posts: 1,834
    But Melina was looking for Bond since she was under the impression he asked her to meet him there... But Max telling them where the Atak went (only heard it once) is crazy. If he didn't speak, they never would have found it and Kristatos would've gotten away.
  • Posts: 19,339
    But Melina was looking for Bond since she was under the impression he asked her to meet him there... But Max telling them where the Atak went (only heard it once) is crazy. If he didn't speak, they never would have found it and Kristatos would've gotten away.


    That really puts me off the film if im honest...it was going to be a failed mission,which is only saved by a bloody talking parrot !!
  • GBFGBF
    Posts: 3,164
    barryt007 wrote: »
    But Melina was looking for Bond since she was under the impression he asked her to meet him there... But Max telling them where the Atak went (only heard it once) is crazy. If he didn't speak, they never would have found it and Kristatos would've gotten away.


    That really puts me off the film if im honest...it was going to be a failed mission,which is only saved by a bloody talking parrot !!

    Yes this was a stupid idea and actually it was completely unnecessary since as we all know there are far too many St. Cyrals in Greece. So they needed Columbo anyway to find the monestary...... Maybe the parrot which played Max demanded a bigger role and more screentime when he was cast.
  • Posts: 19,339
    GBF wrote: »
    barryt007 wrote: »
    But Melina was looking for Bond since she was under the impression he asked her to meet him there... But Max telling them where the Atak went (only heard it once) is crazy. If he didn't speak, they never would have found it and Kristatos would've gotten away.


    That really puts me off the film if im honest...it was going to be a failed mission,which is only saved by a bloody talking parrot !!

    Yes this was a stupid idea and actually it was completely unnecessary since as we all know there are far too many St. Cyrals in Greece. So they needed Columbo anyway to find the monestary...... Maybe the parrot which played Max demanded a bigger role and more screentime when he was cast.

    Well he got to play the part twice,as he was in TLD as well...

  • BondAficionadoBondAficionado Former IMDBer
    edited April 2017 Posts: 1,834
    barryt007 wrote: »
    GBF wrote: »
    barryt007 wrote: »
    But Melina was looking for Bond since she was under the impression he asked her to meet him there... But Max telling them where the Atak went (only heard it once) is crazy. If he didn't speak, they never would have found it and Kristatos would've gotten away.


    That really puts me off the film if im honest...it was going to be a failed mission,which is only saved by a bloody talking parrot !!

    Yes this was a stupid idea and actually it was completely unnecessary since as we all know there are far too many St. Cyrals in Greece. So they needed Columbo anyway to find the monestary...... Maybe the parrot which played Max demanded a bigger role and more screentime when he was cast.

    Well he got to play the part twice,as he was in TLD as well...

    He gave a much more nuanced portrayal of a parrot in TLD. Must've taken some acting classes in between. :)
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