007 in 23: Assignment #010- The Spy Who Loved Me

ASSIGNMENT #010: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

As British and Soviets submarines suddenly disappear, James Bond 007 is called to investigate, all while he is busy escaping Soviet agents in a ski chase in Austria, killing one, and jumping off a cliff to fly with a Union Jack parachute guiding him to safety. Bond finds out about a submarine tracking system that has hit the black market in Eygpy. Bond goes to investigate when he bumps into Soviet KGB agent Anya Amasova (Barbara, codenamed Triple XXX (and thankfully does not look like Vin Diesel) and must team up thanks to an alliance form by the British and Soviets. As they investigate in Eygpt looking for a microfilm explaining the system, they come across the metal teeth giant assassin named Jaws (Richard Kiel), an henchman of scientist and shipping tycoon Stromberg (Curd Jurgens) who has ties to the theft of the tracking system. Stromberg is obsessed with the ocean to the point that he has a hideout in the middle of it called Atlantis. Bond and Anya start to travel by train, but are attacked by Jaws. Bond, of course, fights Jaws, tosses him out, and earns the heart of Anya. They visit Stromberg’s base to discover his super tanker Liparus, to which Bond and Anya engage in a car chase with Jaws back to seek vengence. The car chase quickly ends when Bond, in his new Lotus Espirit provided by Q (Desmond Llewelyn), takes it off the cliff and into the water to reveal it is also a submarine vehicle. They take advantage of this to further investigate Stromberg’s facilities as they find out the super tanker Stromberg owns has never ported. The mission almost rears its ugly head when Anya finds out Bond killed her lover, the agent from the teaser, in Austria and promises to kill Bond after the mission is officially over.

As the agents go to a makeshift headquarters on a American submarine, they decide to go deeper into Atlantis and find that Stromberg does indeed have the tracking device for his Liparus super tanker to obtain the submarines that have disappeared. He plans to use nuclear missile aboard the subs to attack both Russia and the United States and escalate into a World War III to build an underwater civilization. They leave and Bond saves the captured crew from the submarines captured into a full scale battle against Stromberg’s super tanker workers. As the submarines are taken out to sea by Stromberg, Bond arranges the subs to attack one another instead of the cities, succeeding, and causing the biggest and somehow not as destructive as it should be mushroom cloud. Everyone escapes the Liparus successfully as it sinks to the bottom on in a blaze. Bond heads to Atlantis to kill Stromberg, defeat Jaws by tossing him into a shark pit, saves Anya, and destroy Atlantis once again. They escape in a escape pod (no crap) where Anya pulls a gun on Bond as he prepares the champagne. Anya fires…popping the champagne and forgives Bond as they make sweet music and are seen by their superiors when they are recovered, but close the blinds for privacy. Luckily, Jaws survives to live on swimming towards the sunset to get his revenge on Bond.

This was a fun one and I mean it with the deepest admiration for it. Roger Moore considers this his best and it is not hard to see why. It combines the elements that made the Connery films great from a story standpoint, all the fun and excitement of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and the comedic moments that the first two Roger Moore Bond films tried to introduce and adds it to the mix with better results. Roger Moore is great, ‘nough said. Barbara Bach as Anya is quite good and a fine addition to the series as an agent who is just as smart and brilliant as Bond and the perfect woman to be alongside him. Curd Jurgens as Stromberg is a strong presence with what he is given, seems to know what he wants, will stop at nothing to get it, and might be a favorite of mine. Richard Kiel as Jaws…I love this character, I really do. He may be quiet, he may be a menace  but he might be a gentle giant if you knew him, but will still kill you regardless. The fact that he keeps coming back, kills a shark just by biting him to death, and lives to tell the tale is worth enough praise in himself.

The action is stellar from the car chase ro the opening teaser to the climax battle. It is a step up from the first two Moore film in every way by not being forgettable or destroyed by one character at the helm. The car chase is the true highlight with a thrilling chase by the ocean side as you wait for the car to jump off the cliff and enter the ocean to escape, but are greeted by near misses and gun fights. I loved it. The only complaint of the film is how it drags immediately after the climax for a good ten minutes. Usually this would be minor, but it stops the film completely and it takes you out of it, but once the submarines get out, it becomes all good again.

The theme song ‘Nobody Does It Better’ by Carly Simon is gorgeous and stunning. Carly Simon, one of the greatest voices in existence, doing a Bond song is the equivalent of chocolate and peanut butter. A magnificent love song and beautiful. One of my favorites. The Spy Who Loved Me is the best of Moore’s time and brings back the excitement of Bond that was missing from the past three films with top notch action, great performances, a plot that isn’t overdone, and blending comedic moments without ruining the action.

Assignment Status: 4.5 out of 5

Next time, James Bond heads to space. What more do you need? Possibly a sentence I never thought I would write. This is going to hurt.

Next Mission: Moonraker

 

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