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Film Review: A View to a Kill

Updated on December 28, 2016

Background

In 1985, John Glen released A View to a Kill, based on the title of the 1960 short story "From a View to a Kill" by Ian Fleming, as the 14th entry into the series. Starring Starring Roger Moore, Tanya Roberts, Grace Jones, Patrick Macnee, and Christopher Walken, the film grossed $152.4 million at the box office.

Synopsis

When a Zorin Industries computer chip is found in Siberia, Bond must investigate the company at a horse show. There, he finds is a plan to destroy Silicon Valley so Zorin, a rogue KGB agent and product of Nazi experiments, can have a monopoly over microchip manufacture.

Review

A View to a Kill is an awful film with the only good aspect it has going for it being Zorin as a villain. One of the most psychopathic and insane villains Bond has ever faced, he shares some striking similarities to Drax, though he's better written and characterized. Instead of coming off as devoid of anything save for the will to be evil and the desire to murder the entire planet due to a God Complex, Zorin was made to be so as a result of multitude of eugenics experiments carried out by Nazis, the efforts of which were a rousing success. Yet, no matter how psychotic he can be, Zorin isn't stupid, shown in his waiting until he had enough success to cheat his handlers after they had provided him with enough power to have a chance at global financial domination. Along the way, his insanity is manifested through multiple avenues, including gunning down his minions while laughing, abandoning May Day for no reason other than he wants to do so and attacking Bond with an axe on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. He even goes so far as to betray the KGB after they set him up as a millionaire industrialist, a move culminating in the organization giving Bond the Order of Lenin for eventually killing him. Zorin is worse than Drax as a person, but is a better villain because his whole character makes sense.

Apart from Zorin, nothing else makes sense about this film. Stacey, the female lead of the film, is just plain useless. She does very little to help Bond and is so much of a burden she fails to notice a zeppelin sneaking up behind her. Further, most other Bond girls would try to get themselves out of tight situations, such as being stuck in a burning elevator shaft. Rather, Stacey is content to just stay in the shaft and continue to yell for Bond. Additionally she's introduced wielding a shotgun full of rock salt, believing it to be a good deterrent for intruders. Stacey does have her moments, despite them being very brief, by allowing Bond to show his softer side, like making her dinner and fixing her phone lines.

However, what really hurts this film is almost another clone, this time of Goldfinger, only updating gold with microchips and Fort Knox with Silicon Valley to fit with the times. One of the most blatant moments is where Zorin is illustrating his plan to his investors, only to have one back out. Zorin responds by instructing May Day to kill him and the only difference between the films is this investor is thrown out of a zeppelin and not compacted in a junk yard.

The film's opening sequence is atrocious and arguably the worst in the series, too. The Duran Duran song may be great, and the only Bond song to make #1 on the charts, yet it feels like the producers and title creator stumbled onto a computer for the first time and decided to throw in everything they could possibly think characterized the 1980s. It ages horribly and seems incredibly out of place next to other less garish opening sequences found in the series. This one is only memorable on account of its such a disaster.

2 stars for A View to a Kill

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

Bambi Awards

  • Film - International

Golden Screen Awards

  • Golden Screen

Nominated for

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Original Song - Motion Picture ("A View to a Kill")

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Science Fiction Film
  • Best Supporting Actress (Grace Jones)

Razzie Awards

  • Worst Actress (Tanya Roberts)

Golden Satellite Awards

  • Best Classic DVD Release (For "The James Bond DVD Collection," volumes 2 & 3)

Comments

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    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 2 years ago from The Garden State

      This is far from the best Bond film but for some silly reason I've always enjoyed it in spite of its flaws. Christopher Walken is a great villain, Grace Jones scares me, and Tanya Roberts can't act worth a spit but gosh, can she fill out a satin bathrobe....and dammit I hate to admit it but I LOVE the theme song by Duran Duran.

      Roger Moore knew he was way too old to be playing 007 by this point. In his autobiography he says that he finally made the decision to leave the Bond role during the filming of this movie, when Tanya Roberts' mother visited the set one day and Roger realized that even SHE was younger than him. Yikes. Betcha that made the kissy kissy scenes with Tanya a trifle awkward.