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For Your Eyes Only

(5/10)

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Current Rating 8/10 | 14 Votes

For Your Eyes only takes a different turn from the standard Bond formula. There are no colorful villains, intimidating henchmen, frequent romances or hi-tech gadgets. To get the point across, “Wet Nellie” is killed off in an early scene. It is just Bond, without the usual Bond. In another turn rare in the Bond series, past continuities are raised and resolved in the pre-opening sequence: Bond’s visit to the grave of his beloved wife – whom he married in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; and his final showdown with a SPECTRE-less quadriplegic Blofeld. After which, it is plain Bond, without the usual 007 formula, working with members of the underworld against their competition.

Bond’s mission is to prevent a top secret British technology from falling into the hands of two rival smuggling operators: Kristatos (Julian Glover) and Columbo (Topol). At the same time, he has to deal with a vengeful belle Melina (Carole Bouquet) who is out to avenge her parents’ deaths. Aside from the two smugglers attempting to play Bond against each other, there is little else that is intriguing. Bond does have an opportunity to make out with Countess Lisl (Cassandra Harris), but shuns the amorous advances of ice skater Bibi Dahl (Lynn-Holly Johnson).

For Your Eyes Only is the first Bond film without M, due to the passing of Bernard Lee. Another first is Sheena Easton shown in full flesh performing the title song. Returning as General Anatol Gogol is Walter Gotell. This time, Gogol is the hand that Bond is trying to prevent the top secret British technology from falling into. Q (Desmond Llewelyn) and Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell) are also back. However, the usual Martini stops here. A different concoction is brewed thereafter, with tasteless results. With the very limited romances, Moore is stifled. His wit fades in the midst of the down-to-earth, realistic criminal elements devoid of the typical adventurous bravado. Bouquet is sultry but is subdued, being kept from heating up on the screen. Her role as a Bond girl is utilized only in the closing few minutes, why she was not written in to make out with Bond is a mystery. Glover is decent, but Topol looks out-of-shape. His movements in the action sequences are sluggish. Johnson is clearly out of place. Her performance affirms that Bibi is infatuated with Bond in script only.

If not for the mention of “James Bond”, this License to Thrill would appear to be another nameless action flick that happens to feature Roger Moore. The action sequences are plentiful and exciting, of which a few stand out: the comedic car chase on a Volkswagon Beetle, the elaborate ski chase involving dirt bikes and rifles, Bond and Melina bound and dragged along the waters by a motorboat, and the mano-a-mano encounter a few hundred feet high up on a mountain. Oh yes, the Prime Minister makes a cameo, with playing the “Iron Lady”.

Even without a fully-armed car, nifty gadgets or colorful villains, Bond can still shine with a good screenplay. Unfortunately, without the standard shaken-not-stirred formula, nothing in this License To Kill stands out in any interesting way. The action sequences are entertaining, and sadly are the only good points.

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