The Man With The Golden Gun is a return to form for the Bond Films. After going a bit haywire with their last few offerings, the series comes back on track with this delightful little adventure which set up Roger Moore as the new face of James Bond 007 for me. Pitted against an equally foxy and dangerous rival in Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) who is the most expensive assassin for hire in the world, the film takes off straightaway. The opening sequence introduces us to Scaramanga who is not only believed to be the best assassin in the world but also considers himself to be so. He makes his adjutant, a midget going by the name of Nick Nack (Hervé Villechaize) bring in other top assassins to play a deadly game of cat and mouse in his own abode where he fights them to the death. However his dream project still remains to be a one to one with James Bond (Roger Moore)
As the story move son, Bond is led to believe that he is targeted by Scramanga when the MI6 receives a golden bullet which Scaramanga I s known to use with Bond’s name on it. So he is ordered off the assignment that he was a part of by MI6 thinking that Scaramanga’s threat may jeopardize his mission. Bond now goes after the leads of Scaramanga that he has at his disposal as he realizes that until he is able to capture him, he won’t be able to undertake any mission of importance as Scaramanga’s threat will loom large on his missions. As he gets closer and closer to Scaramanga, he uncovers a plot involving sensitive solar cell technology that is being sold to the highest bidder. In his mission he is not so ably aided by Goodnight (Britt Ekland) who poses as much threat to him from her stupidity as she is hell bent on helping him.
The film works primarily for the reason that it is an astute thriller. A large chunk of the film remains unsolved till post interval and that is where it sustains the interest of the people. Also, Bond is seriously challenged by Scaramanga who is not only an able foe but remains ahead of Bond for most of the part. Having said that the film is still light on the mind and anyone above the age of 10 will be able to decipher the tale effectively and enjoy it for what it is. The performances never go over the top as was the case in the previous installment. The characters have a seriousness to them which makes the thrill real and more believable. This is also one of those first films that really embraced on the extraordinary gadgets. A car flying off after fitting in some additional appendages was the most shocking watch if the gadgets in this film are to be considered.
The next plus for the film is its ensemble cast. Moore has his own take on the Bond character and his interpretation of the super spy is utterly likeable. He not only fights with style but carries every sequence with élan. He has an able foil in Christopher Lee who not only looks the part but also threatens Bond for every inch of the territory. Thus the duel heats up, much to the liking of the audience. Maud Adams plays the ill-fated love interest of Scaramanga who is later murdered by Scaramanga himself. This was to be her first appearance in a Bond film and will be later seen in Octopussy as the titular character. She is breathtakingly beautiful and every sequence that she is a part of, she is bound to hold on to your attention. Her essay is also in strong keeping with her mental state as she feels alone and disrespected by Scaramanga. Hervé Villechaize as Nick Nack is perfectly hateable.
In terms of technicalities and scale, The Man With The Golden Gun is right up there with the very best. The film boasts of some beautiful locales. My personal favorite of the lot is Scaramanga’s abode which reminds me of the floating mountains of Pandora seen years later in James Cameron’s Avatar. The arial shots of the island are truly breathtaking. The editing of the film is another high point. The manners in which some of the sequences are cut, contribute heavily to increase the effect of those sequences. To me this was the first Roger Moore Bond film which made an impact. The film for me is sort of a new beginning for the Bond era wherein I finally outgrew the hallucinatory effects of Sean Connery, who till date remains my favorite Bond and embraced the crazy gadgets that would go on to be a part and parcel of the Bond films in years to come. The Man With The Golden Gun is one of the better Bond films of our times. It is pure entertainment and that too of high order.