Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Live and Let Die


Summary: His name is Bond. James Bond. (Moore. Roger Moore.) After three MI6 are killed in New Orleans and the Caribbean, Bond is sent to America to work with the CIA and investigate. There, he gets entangled in a drug scheme run by the mysterious Mr. Big involving a Caribbean island nation run by Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto) who uses superstition to keep his citizens in line. In his investigation, he comes across a fortune teller named Solitaire (Jane Seymour) who has some insight into the tangled criminal web that stretches up the East Coast. With gadgets, seduction, and plenty of action, Bond has to dismantle the nefarious scheme, save the world, and get the girl.

Review: Live and Let Die is so mind-numbingly stupid that it actually hurt my head to watch. The synopsys above was gleaned mostly from Wikipedia because for the life of me, I could barely follow the plot as I watched. Ask me on the street what this movie was about and I couldn’t for the life of me tell you. Not helping is Moore’s underwhelming performance as James Bond, lacking any of the suave charm that made Connery, Brosnan, or even Craig so memorable in the role.

Part of what makes this hard to get through is the rather… ahhh… antiquated portrayal of black people. See, this movie was capitalizing off of Hollywood’s blaxploitation trends of the time and features a lot of African-American characterizations that have not aged well with time. They all speak in jive talk and over-inflected tones like stereotypes and caricatures. That said, I can’t blame a movie for being a product of its time as racial sensitivity wasn’t where it is today. I can, however, take points off for the movie trying to ape off a trend rather than standing on its own, which dates the movie and makes it rather uncomfortable to watch.

But, you say, amazing action can compensate for a weak plot and characterization. I would reply that, even if that were true, you’ll find none of that in here. Bond has had some impressive action set pieces in his movies, like the hearse chase in Goldfinger or the final battle of Skyfall. But running over a bridge of alligators to get out of a death trap? Remote controlled straw tribal statues with guns inside? A boat chase where Bond and his pursuers crash through a wedding and ruin the cake? These things would be more at home in an episode of Scooby-Doo than a Bond film, and yet here they are.

This leads me to my biggest headache from the movie. During the boat chase scene that stops the movie dead, we are introduced to Sheriff J.W. Pepper (Clifton James) out of nowhere. Oh… how to describe Sheriff Pepper? Imagine Yosemite Sam. Now imagine him a little more racist, throwing around names like “boy.” Now imagine he had zero impact in a chase scene between Bugs and Daffy, only being there for the chase to break his stuff and make him tear his hair out. Now take him out of the cartoon and put him in a James Bond movie. Now curl up in your bed and weep for cinema.

It would be very unfair of me not to praise the award winning song by Paul McCartney, especially since quite a few people put it on their top Bond songs list. I also have to praise the henchman with the metal arm (Julius Harris), as he had a classic Bond henchman feel of having his disability be a deadly weapon. Other than that, this movie was a chore to get through and it might be the worst James Bond film I’ve ever seen (I’m still deciding how it compares to Die Another Day). It’s dated, confusing, and just dumb, seeming more like a James Bond parody than an actual movie. I guess if you’re in the mood for mindblowing insanity, you could give this movie a look, but honestly, Kung Fury is shorter, more entertaining, and intentionally funny

Fun Tidbit: Yaphet Kotto, at 33, is the youngest actor to play a Bond villain at the time of this review. Kinda weird how you usually don’t realize that James tends to clash with people that are older than him.

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