Directed by John Glen
A British agent is found dead clutching a counterfeit Faberge egg. 007 must investigate the agents murder and unravel a plot to launch a nuclear attack on NATO forces.
This was the next to last outing for Roger Moore as 007. He was beginning to show his age but, in my opinion, he hadn’t come to a point of being too old yet. Looking back though Moore probably should have stopped here. Not because the next film in the series was bad in comparison but because stopping here would have kept people from complaining about his age.
Maud Adams returns in a completely different role than before to the James Bond film series. This is her second of three Bond appearances. The first was in The Man with the Golden Gun as Andrea Anders and her final appearance is in an uncredited cameo somewhere in A View To A Kill. The character of Octopussy starts out as a villain but then drifts into reluctant antihero before finally becoming a victim which must be saved. I liked the movie but when you analyze her character arc it does not seem like a natural flow. She was not really there to be a threat to Bond.
Persis Khambatta of Star Trek: The Motion Picture fame was at one point considered for the role of Octopussy, but nothing ever came of it and they eventually went with Ms. Adams…again. Nothing against her because I enjoyed her performance here, but I personally would have liked to see Persis Khambatta get another major franchise role. Her work after TMP was sporadic but she was a very capable actress. I think she would have done a bang-up job. I don’t often say this but it also would’ve been more appropriate casting than using Maud Adams.
Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan) is one of the real villains in all this though strangely he starts out as almost subordinate to Octopussy. Based on the interactions between Khan and Octopussy it’s a little tough to tell who the boss is of who here.
General Orlov (Steven Berkoff) is the main villain or at least the bad guy behind the plot. Calling him a main villain might be a bit of a stretch since Khan and Octopussy get so much more focus. He is a Russian general plotting to frame the Americans for an accidental nuclear detonation in an effort to allow a Soviet invasion which his superiors do not want all the while funding it by selling priceless Russian treasures in the West and replacing them with fakes in the museum he’s looting.
As per usual for the Moore era the villainous henchmen were fantastic. Octopussy runs a female crime syndicate that fronts as an Indian octopus cult. This provides for some hench women that use circus like tricks to get away. Khan has a tall Indian bodyguard named Gobinda (Kabir Bedi) who is all muscle and quite threatening looking. But my favorite is the guy with the yo-yo sawblade. He doesn’t have an actual name but it’s just a cool movie weapon.
The circus element provides an entertaining and oddball plot element. And it works in my opinion very well in the James Bond universe. I really loved it. A circus is a fun and enjoyable place to go but it also has elements that play well in the super spy genre. Here they have Mischka and Grischka (David and Anthony Meyer) as knife throwing twins.
An interesting story element which was a bit unusual for Western movies at the time is that the nuclear detonation plot is not something dreamed up by the Soviet government but rather something dreamed up by a glory seeking rogue Soviet military official. That stood out to me when I first saw it. You were more liable to have it pushed by the Soviets themselves in movies of the time.
This movie lacks a good song. “All Time High” is not bad but it is among the weaker of the entries prior to the reboot of Casino Royale. It is mediocre easy listening and not sexy or exciting as Bond film themes should be.
The action as always is great. The fight scenes are well choreographed and the opening scene before the credits is quintessential James Bond. Only 007 would escape in a miniature jet and then pull up to a gas station.
I enjoy this movie. Then again, I am a sucker for a Roger Moore turn as James Bond. It is a fun film and the assault on Kamal Khan’s compound (try saying that three times fast) at the end is enjoyably over-the-top.
The plot is pretty solid and the story is good despite its flaws. This is an adequate entry into the James Bond film series and while it will not “Wow” you, you will enjoy yourself.