Sunday, November 8, 2020

Live And Let Die

Man, if I could pull off that Baron Samedi look I would.

Roger Moore's first outing as 007 is a pretty good one in my eyes, now you might be thinking how does Bond and a somewhat blatant Blaxploitation format mix? You'd think it would be an oil and water situation and fail miserably, but it turns out to be a pretty good movie. Bond is quickly assigned a new case after three agents have died, and investigates the prime minister of the fictional country San Monique, where he quickly discovers a heroin organization, voodoo cults, and a woman able to tell the future through tarot cards. It quickly sets the tone for Roger's tenure, able to have a bit of fun and joke while still being a credible spy movie and while I'm all for a serious spy thriller, the James Bond series has always been a bit bonkers since the beginning. The cast is one of the best we've had so far, Roger Moore though not being the Bond of my childhood grew on me very quickly and I love his performance more so than Connery and Lazenby. He has a cool, almost laidback personality, always with a witty retort or quip to ease the tension and to show his character, he can be serious when he needs to be but it's definitely a different interpretation of this character. Jane Seymour does well as Solitaire and I will admit her character is one of the most interesting in Bond history without even counting the foresight she has, she's a sheltered woman under the thumb of a cruel villain and is very conflicted when she meets James, she's a good character. I absolutely love Yaphet Kotto as Dr. Kananga, he's menacing, intelligent, charming, and even a bit fun but he never loses the edge throughout the film, he does damn fine work and I appreciate his hard work to make Kananga something different. In fact all the villains are class with every last one of them memorable and fun, Whisper though not used much is unsettling, Tee Hee poses a physical threat while still being very fun, and the master of the dead himself Baron Samedi played to honest to God perfection by Geoffrey Holder is a marvel to behold, he doesn't do much and is yet another criminally underused villain but the impact he leaves is undeniable. I fully believe he is an undead fiend, they straight up kill him twice and he still is around, the perfect mix of downright creepy and incredible fun I can almost recommend the movie on just him alone. The action isn't half bad either, with the highlight being the speedboat chase in the bayou's of Louisiana and while some say it's like proto-Smokey And The Bandit with some pretty good stunts, an emphasis on comedy, and the inclusion of fan revered or fan reviled Sherrif J.W. Pepper, I enjoy it nevertheless and it's great to watch but this movie came out first about 4 years before Smokey And The Bandit so I like to think it might have inspired something. I know this is one of the devisive entries in the series, some people love it and some people don'tgo for it, but I lean more toward loving it and do recommend seeing it. 3 stars, 7/10, a fine beginning for Mr. Moore. Next time though we get even more divisive so join me next time when we pay a visit to The Man With The Golden Gun.

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