Russian and British submarines with nuclear missiles on board both vanish from sight without a trace. England and Russia both blame each other as James Bond tries to solve the riddle of the disappearing ships. But the KGB also has an agent on the case.
Great Globe-Trotting, Spectacular Locations, thrilling action and fun vibe Roger Moore did more official James Bond films as secret agent 007 than any other actor. He started the role when he was almost 45 years-old and ended his 7-film stint at 57. His third Bond film was “The Spy Who Loved Me” released in 1977 and it’s one of the most entertaining movies in the series. The plot revolves around 007 teaming up with female Russian agent XXX (yeah right) to prevent world-hating Karl Stromberg (Curd Jürgens) from starting World War III by stealing nuclear subs. Stromberg doesn't care if the world kills itself because he lives as a mad recluse on a crab-like submersible dream home called "Atlantis." The giant steel-toothed Jaws assists Stromberg along with the beautiful raven-haired Naomi. The top item I demand in any Bond flick is exciting globe-trotting and, consequently, great locations. “The Spy Who Loved Me” delivers on this front in spades. Right out of the gate there’s a rousing ski chase that culminates in a spectacular jump from Baffin Island's Mt. Asgard (Canada), substituting for the Austrian Alps. It’s an incredible stunt and easily one of the best openings in the franchise. From there we get the Sahara desert, Cairo, the Nile River and the great pyramids of Giza, as well as the Italian Mediterranean island of Sardinia, Scotland (Royal Naval base) and the waters of the Bahamas. These are all fabulous locations to say the least. Richard Kiel as the 7’2” Jaws is both intimidating and amusing. The on-going joke is that NOTHING can stop or kill him. Barbara Bach is good as Agent XXX and certainly possesses an exotic beauty, similar to Britt Ekland from the previous movie, but watch her get blown out of the water by the stunning Caroline Munro when she’s introduced as Naomi. Many cite Ursula Andress' coming out of the water in a white bikini in “Dr. No” (1962) as the ultimate ‘Bond girl’ moment but Caroline's introduction here is a serious rival; it's, at least, the second best one. The only problem is that Caroline's role is too brief. Check her out in “The Golden Voyage of Sinbad” (1974) to see her in a more prominent part. Some editions of the DVD include an over 40-minute documentary that includes an interview with Ms. Munro. She was still beautiful over 25 years after the movie was released. Another great aspect of “The Spy Who Loved Me” is that the fun, adventurous vibe and globe-trotting sequences give it an undeniable Indiana Jones feel, even though it was made four years before the first Indiana Jones flick. WATCH OUT for the great sequence where Bond's car morphs into a submarine as he attempts to flee Naomi in a helicopter. Many compositions in Bond films are relatively timeless, like “For Your Eyes Only” from 1981, but the disco elements in the score for “The Spy Who Loved Me” are horribly dated. This doesn't bug me that much. I can live with it; others can't. As for Roger Moore's take on Bond, I guess you either like him or you don't. I do. Regardless of his age Moore always looked great and was perfectly convincing as 007 throughout his run. IMHO Moore's seven films are the most consistently entertaining. Yes, Sean Connery is great and his stint is generally more serious (albeit with the typical Bond cheese), but who can deny the color and vibrancy of the Moore films? All of his pictures are very entertaining and were hugely successful at the box office. Even the heavily maligned “Moonraker” (1979) and “A View to a Kill” (1985) are great. They may have more goofy or amusing elements, which are actually funny by the way, but they remain essentially serious stories; they rarely go overboard into the rut of parody or camp. Seriously, I weary of hearing all the complaints about Moore's stint in the series. All of his films are quality Bond adventures. There's not a dud in the bunch. The movie runs 2 hours, 5 minutes. GRADE: A-