A View to a Kill (1985)
Finales: A View to a Kill is the end of Moore’s tenure as Bond. It is the seventh Moore Bond, a number of Bonds unreached by any other actor in the role. A View to a Kill feels like the reason why no other actor has stuck with the part for more than five on the run. Roger Moore was 58 during the filming of this movie and looks every day of it. That is not to say you can’t be an action star in your fifties. Look at Tom Cruise. He was 53 during the filming of 2015’s Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and it never interfered with the enjoyment of the movie. Unfortunately, Roger Moore probably didn’t have the same healthy lifestyle that Cruise has or the high Theton levels, so he comes across as an old man playing a younger man and failing.
Age Again: This is not helped by the casting of Tanya Roberts as his love interest, an actress 28 years younger than him with whom he has minus amounts of chemistry with. Reportedly, it was Moore finding that that he was older than Roberts’ mother that really made him realise his time as Bond was up. Unlike the subtle leaning into the advanced age as Octopussy and For Your Eyes Only had before, A View to a Kill pretends it’s not there and in the end we find ourselves watching a movie that seems to be about a father protecting his daughter, rather than a suave super spy and a beautiful woman.
Compared to Octopussy, which uses its exotic locale for derring-doo and creativity, A View to a Kill spends most of its runtime in 1980’s San Francisco meaning that instead of a thrilling and interesting elephant chase through the jungle we get a car chase through a city, which has been done to death in cinema. The action sequences in this movie aren’t as well put together as other Bonds and other than the finale atop the Golden Gate Bridge there aren’t any real set pieces that stand out.
Jones and Walken: There are bright spots. A movie in which the villains are Grace Jones and Christopher Walken will always have the fact that these two actors will never not be interesting and they are fascinating to watch as they chuck themselves fully into their cartoony characters. If there is something lacking in Octopussy it is compelling villains, which this movie has in spades. Also “A View to a Kill” by Duran Duran is pretty hard to top as a Bond theme no matter how spotty the movie is that the song is attached to.
Overall: If you could take the good from Octopussy and the good from this movie you would have the perfect Moore Bond send off. They are both light-hearted and a little cartoony like, much like Moore’s version of Bond, and they complement each other nicely.
In the end, Moore gets a bad rap for his Bonds as they are tongue in cheek and silly. However, they are also heaps of fun and a nice antidote to super serious spy movies. Also, there are two great Moore Bonds in The Spy who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only, two of the finest of any Bond actor to date.