Friday, 25 March 2016

Octopussy (1983)

"You must be joking! 007 on an island populated exclusively by women? We won't see him till dawn...!"

Now that's more like it. Exotic locations, high stakes, great set pieces... the Bond franchise has got its mojo back. Well, unless you happen to be a coulrophobe, that is. Then you'd have problems.

It's the early '80s, the Raj is all the rage and Bond hasn't done India yet, so Octopussy gets a fantastic setting with Delhi, the Taj Mahal, and even a massive hunt riding elephants during which Bond meets a tiger. For a baddie we have Kamal Khan, an exiled Afghan prince who, for some reason, is working with the Soviets, his natural enemies or so one would have thought, but it makes for a good film. The real baddie has a Cold War flavour for once in the shape of Steven Berkoff's nuke-happy Russian general, Orlov, although our old friend Gogol is around to stop things going too far. 1983 is a somewhat appropriate year to raise the spectre of nuclear annihilation, of course...

Roger Moore is 55 and looks it, but he just about gets away with it: his charisma and acting chops are as impressive as ever. Maud Adams is an ok Bond hgirl too, although for once the set pieces tend to outshine both the sex and the baddies.

This film is absolutely the least like the source material of any so far (the Fleming short story is actually about an octopus), but how can you dislike a film where Q turns up in a hot air balloon? After two duds, Bond is back on track.

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