So the second Roger Moore movie, and I’d say we’re still off to a pretty good start. In fact, I think I like this one more than Live and Let Die. It’s also definitely much sillier in a lot of places, but there’s enough cool stuff in there to balance it out. First and foremost, the villain is none other than the late, great Christopher Lee, who everybody knows as Saruman but who will always be Dracula to me. He plays an assassin called Scaramanga, also known as the titular man with the golden gun. He has a third nipple, and because of his deformity was raised in a circus, where he became an expert at trick shooting. He was later recruited by some top government agency because of his marksman abilities, and spent a few years in the intelligence circuit before going private. He charges a million dollars per victim, and only ever uses a golden gun, hence the title, that fires a pure gold bullet specially designed to explode on impact, a guaranteed one hit kill. He has this weird kind of shooting gallery maze, where he kills his victims. Basically they get a gun with 6 bullets, and Scaramanga gets his golden gun with one bullet, and the try to find and shoot each other in this maze. But there’s all these mirrors and animatronic guys who pop out with guns and stuff. It’s a little hard to describe, but it’s super cool looking. It reminds me of something out of an early Tim Burton movie, or Arcade’s Murderworld from the 80’s X-Men comics, if that’s a reference anyone gets. Anyway, I really think this is one of the series’ best villains, not only because of his colourful backstory, but because Chris Lee is just so goddamn fun to watch. Oh, and also, he’s got a french midget butler named MicMac. Yep, here it is folks, the origin of the Mini Me joke. They’re old circus buddies I guess, and they have a standing deal that when Scaramanga eventually dies, something bound to happen soon do to his risky method of killing people, MicMac will inherent his entire fortune and his island full of ridiculous sci-fi stuff. The basic plot of the movie is that Bond finds out that he’s Scaramanga’s next target, and he’s relieved of his current mission to try to get the jump on him first. We eventually find out that the hit on Bond was just to get him moved off the mission he was on, something to do with a device that could solve the energy crisis. There’s two girls this time, one who works for the bad guy and is trying to get Bond to kill him because she thinks he’s the only one who can do it, and another who’s a fellow British agent by sent to assist Bond, but who is basically just a ditzy blonde idiot the whole time for comic effect. It’s a pretty offensive female character looking back, but it was the 70s, what are you gonna do. Also her name is Goodnight, which is just silly. Speaking of silly names, this movie also features the return of Sheriff J.W. goddamn Pepper. This time he’s on vacation in Thailand and ends up involved in the action when he runs into Bond. He tags along like some kind of bumbling sidekick for an entire car chase sequence and it’s definitely the low point of the movie. I mean it was one thing in the last one, at least they were actually in the American South, at least he was in context, but why bring him back here in such a random way? Did they really think the fat southern sheriff jokes were that funny? They’re not. Anyway, so basically the whole movie boils down to the final showdown on Scaramanga’s private island. He’s got these giant solar panels, and has discovered some way of channeling sunlight into a beam of purple light that makes theremin sounds, which is capable of powering his whole island and also a giant laser. Turns out the energy crisis solving device was actually part of his machine, which is why he faked the hit on Bond to get him off the case. Anyway, so they fight in the death maze, and it’s legitimately a really tense sequence. Even though you know Bond is going to win, there are moments that make you forget. Ultimately he does kill Scaramanga, and then he has to diffuse the sun laser machine while avoiding the beam before the island blows up. Then Bond and Goodnight get on a boat and sail away to spend the obligatory several days fucking in an enclosed area end of movie ritual, when suddenly MicMac jumps out trying to kill them. Yep, we end the movie with a good ol’ midget fight. And if you thought the scene from Austin Powers: Goldmember was ridiculous, let me tell you, it’s not even that much of an exaggeration. He literally defeats him by trapping him in a suitcase. Overall, this movie is about 40% camp value, and definitely doesn’t stack up against any of the classic Connery movies, but overall it’s not bad at all, and it’s really fun in all the right places.
Overall Rating: Dumb but watchable/10