After 009 is found dead in a clown costume holding a fake Faberge egg, James Bond (Roger Moore) is put on the case in an effort to discover the killer and what 009 had discovered. What he finds is a rouge Soviet general attempting to start World War III, a jewellery thief and a cult of circus performers led by the beautiful, yet deadly, Octopussy (Maud Adams).
If FYEO was the more serious return to form, then Octopussy is a step backwards towards the more silly nature of Moonraker. The plot of this film is all over the place in terms of narrative, making it harder to hold onto what Bond’s overall goal is. We are given the death of a 00, a smuggling ring, a cult of women, a woman with links to Bond’s past, an exiled Afghan prince turned jewel thief/collector, a tiger hunt, a Soviet plot, a circus attack on a stronghold and an aerial battle. A lot of this is all happening at the same time and it takes some thinking to actually figure out who’s doing what and why. I’m going to blame the fact that this film is inspired by several short stories by Fleming rather than a full novel.
Moore is getting tired in this one. He’s looking older and just less interesting in the role. All of his puns seem forced this time around. He had been making rumblings of leaving the series since Moonraker but returned for this one after Never Say Never Again was green lit and it was known that Connery would be returning as Bond. Producers wanted a known actor in the EON series Bond to compete against Connery.
Maud Adams returns, after previously playing Francisco Scaramanga’s mistress Andreas Anders in TMWTGG, to play the role of Octopussy. Adams works a lot better than the previous installments girls because she is more age appropriate for Moore. Octopussy as a character is ok but again doesn’t seem that needed.
Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan) is probably the best thing about this film. He is a proper Bond villain right down to his vague threats and his almost mute henchman Gobinda (Kabir Bedi). Everything he does denotes how slimy and evil he is and you’ve just got to love that. Both his and Gobinda’s death are really weak however. We’ve had this giant threatening Indian man crushing die and glaring at Bond the entire film. We expect a big Oddjob style brawl with a cool final kill but what we get is an aerial to the face knocking him off an in flight plane. Weak. The Living Daylights will have a similar situation but a much more satisfying outcome.
A lot of people decry the gorilla suit, the clown costume, the fake crocodile and the Tarzan swinging scene and i’d be lying if I said I didn’t think they were stupid. It makes it seem more like a pink panther film than a Bond one.
Like OHMSS i will give it it’s dues however and point out some of it’s better attributes after all the bad. As stated the villains are both good, Bond’s ally Vinjay (Vinjay Amritraj) is funny, Bond’s fight with the knife thrower in the woods works well, the Tuk Tuk chase through the Indian market is entertaining (and some what similar to the Indiana Jones films) and Q (Desmond Llewelyn) gets a bigger part to play this time around allowing for more interactions with Bond (which are always a pleasure to watch).
I would say this is my least favourite of Roger Moore’s Bond movies. View to a Kill is definitely a worst film but it is a more entertaining to watch. 1/5