Directed by Guy Hamilton
James Bond (Roger Moore) goes up against Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) while trying to recover solar technology to combat the energy crisis. Really not much else to it than that.
Not my favorite of the James Bond movies but Christopher Lee was always good to watch so that helps to make things better. He was a great villain actor who was able to elevate his material to something better than it was. He is not so much menacing here as he is a villain having fun. Scaramanga is always looking for a worthy opponent, someone who will give him sport and he sees that in 007.
Roger Moore is back as Bond in his second outing and is good as he always was. Sadly, he was stuck in one of his weaker outings. The plot itself was timely but the execution and the supporting characters were just not up to snuff.
Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland) is just too stupid. She is the one Bond Girl that pisses me off. Absolutely terrible. Her character is so bad that she is bordering on incompetent. It is not logical that she would be allowed out in the field unless this were a comedy film and it is not. Admittedly the Roger Moore Bond films were lighter in tone than those of Sean Connery but not to the point of what her agent does. She is just one incompetent bungle after another.
Maud Adams makes her first of three Bond film appearances here. I’m counting the accidental cameo. She’s serviceable enough as Scaramanga’s girlfriend.
Hervé Villechaize as Nick Nack was good. He was definitely among the more unique ones. Nick Nack is in line with the unusual yet lethal henchmen that Bond villains tend to have.
They shoehorned in Sheriff J.W. Pepper (Clifton James) for one last appearance. He was too much comic relief in an action film that’s not supposed to be an overt comedy. And his character was more ill-fitting here than he was in Live and Let Die. Guy Hamilton reportedly liked the character and asked that he be written in. For the love of God why? He was a one-off joke character. This is the film equivalent of repeating a joke until it is not funny and it is not funny here.
They throw in a lot involving the then timely topic of the energy crisis to raise the stakes and make it more in line with other Bond films but it never really connects to everything overall. The stakes tend to be high in James Bond movies with the world or whole economy threatened but here the part about the solar cell just feels like an afterthought.
A lot of what happens in the film unfortunately feels like padding. It is like they were trying to stretch it out into a two-hour movie. Personally, I think they should have rejected the solar cell subplot and kept it to Bond versus Scaramanga. The character of Andrea Anders (Maud Adams) could have remained in but the reveal that she was the one that sent the bullet to trick Bond into going after Scaramanga was a bit of who cares? It felt forgettable.
It is not a bad James Bond movie, but it is one of the weaker ones for certain. There really is not much in the way of content in the film. You will not hate it but unless you are a hard-core James Bond fan you can skip this.