All Time High: Bond in the 80s
There's something amiss this movie season. Anyone else feel the void? We need a chain-smoking British agent to take down all the world's evil-doers -- while wearing an Armani tuxedo and sipping a vodka martini ... shaken, not stirred.
Say what you like about Pierce Brosnan's turn as Agent 007, but naturally I still yearn for the simpler days of James Bond. Give me a really catchy theme song, an aging action star in the lead role and some cheesy dialog, and I'm ready to run out and tackle Blofeld, Kristatos, Kamal Khan and Max Zorin all on my own.
We'll have to wait until November 2008 to see the latest 007 installment -- "Quantum of Solace" (trailer) -- although I'm not sure I can handle another beating like Daniel Craig took at the end of "Casino Royale." (And I'm betting he can't either.) So until then...
RANKING THE BOND FLICKS OF THE 80s:
6. A VIEW TO A KILL (1985): Aside from the Duran Duran theme song and Christopher Walken as the villain, put the final flick by Roger Moore at the bottom of the list -- perhaps all-time.
5. NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (1983): Sean Connery's comeback is not considered a Bond "franchise" flick, but with Kim Basinger and Max von Sydow, it's very watchable.
4. OCTOPUSSY (1983): Note quite an "All Time High," as Rita Coolidge sings in the opening credits, but Maud Adams has our attention as the jewel-smuggling circus owner and proprietor of a female-only island.
3. LICENSE TO KILL (1989): Bond fans blast Timothy Dalton's two-film turn as 007, but I loved the guy -- surly, unliked by his fellow agents and still years away from torturing us in "Beautician and the Beast." Plus, this one's filmed in Key West and involves the return of American agent "Felix Leiter." Add in Wayne Newton as the hilariously sleazy "Professor Joe Butcher," and it's a contender for the top spot.
2. THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (1987): Dalton's first appearance as Bond takes viewers to Gibraltar, Bratislava, England, Austria, Tangier and Afghanistan. When was the last time a Bond movie took you to so many locales? Then hand over the theme song duties to a-ha and cast future Bond ally Joe Don Baker as the villain. I find it hard to rank this flick as only second-best.
1. FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981): Perhaps a Bond film at its more formulaic, which suits me just fine. A classically haunting theme song by Sheena Easton, the stunningly beautiful Carole Bouquet as "Melina," who seeks to avenge her parents death (then skinny dip with Bond through the closing credits). "Fiddler on the Roof's" Topol as nut-chomping ally "Milos." And, in the clinching casting move in Bond history, "Ice Castle's" Lynn-Holly Johnson as the young ice skating nymphet. She's for your eyes only too (but rest easy -- she was well over 18 when she played the role of "Bibi.")