#102 The Spy Who Loved Me
After British and Soviet nuclear submarines are both abducted, MI6 and their Russian counterparts decide to team up super spies James Bond (Roger Moore) and Agent Triple X (Barbara Bach). Can these two get along long enough to track down the vessels or will old missions come back to complicate matters?
This is arguably the high point of Moore’s tenure as Bond and my personal favourite of his. Everything about this film just seemed to come together in the right way to make a truly enjoyable spy thriller. Moore is comical yet still really physical in the role and a little dark in places (example knocking the bald guy from holding his tie to his death). On top of this, Moore’s chemistry with Bach is probably the best of any Bond/Bond girl in the series.
Bach is beautiful and charming while at the same time can also be ruthless and cold. She’s every bit the Russian 007, Bond’s equal in every way, and as such makes for a much better dynamic between the pair.
The stunts/gadgets in this film are fantastic as well. It has one of the best pre-title sections of any of the Bond films and then ending with the union Jack parachute is just the icing on the cake. It could have been really tacky but somehow it just works. The battle on board the tanker is also really good. It’s the first real big scale action scene we’ve seen where Bond has had some back up since You Only Live Twice (who’s director also directed this film).
Then there’s the Lotus Espirt, the submersible car. No other car outside the original Aston Martin DB5, is more closely associated with the Bond franchise. As a kid this was the greatest thing in the world. Adding the wings to a car in The Man with the Golden Gun was just silly but turning it into a submarine was just a stoke of genius on someones part. I’m still proud to this day that when I was younger that I got to touch the actual car at a Bond memorabilia exhibit (even though you weren’t supposed to, little rebel that I was).
The main villain of this piece, Karl Stromberg (Curd Jurgens), is menacing enough but lacks the charisma to make him a really great Bond villain. His henchman Jaws (Richard Kiel), on the other hand, is the most iconic from the entire film series. He appears in the next film Moonraker as well but it is here that we grow to love him. He’s a giant mute with metal teeth that he uses to kill people. Bond takes him out like 5 times over the course of the 2 films and he just keeps coming back for more. Like the car, as a kid, he was the coolest thing on the planet and as an adult…he’s still pretty damn cool.
The only real thing that brings this film down for me is that the music is all heavily mixed with disco music because it was popular at the time. It really dates the film considerably just by its inclusion. Not a deal breaker but lamentable all the same.
Great film and probably the one i’d be most likely just to pick up and watch if I wasn’t working my way through the series. 4.5/5