Plot: What’s it about?
When a high tech microchip is discovered in Russian hands, the British government becomes concerned, as that technology belongs to them. This is no normal microchip by any means, as it can withstand the effects of a nuclear blast. The man they believe is responsible for leaking the information to the Russians is Max Zorin (Christopher Walken). Zorin is a powerful force in the realm of industrial technology, but why would he provide the Russians with details on this advanced creation? In an effort to find out the truth, the British government sends in a special agent to crack the case. This man is of course Agent 007, James Bond (Roger Moore) and if anyone can figure out this mess, it has to be him. As soon as Bond hits the scene, he begins to compile information and soon enough, a large portion of the picture has been uncovered. It seems as though Zorin has been stockpiling microchips for some reason and is also involved in some type of project in Silicon Valley, California. Before you can say “Oh, James,” Bond has it all figured out and he knows if he can’t stop Zorin soon, the power monger will be able to control the microchip market worldwide.
In the realm of Bond movies, A View To A Kill would be toward the bottom of the food chain, at least according to most series fans I know. And while I can see where they’re coming from, I still think this is a solid entry in the series and equal to several others in terms of entertainment value. The action sequences do fall short of the usual Bond standards, but a couple of them are awesome and the final piece is outstanding. The sequence involving the Golden Gate Bridge kicks serious ass and even the most ardent haters have to admit that much. This was Moore’s final run as Bond and I think he was given a nice farewell, with a strong supporting cast and a fun overall movie. I mean come one, Moore gets to square off with Christopher Walken before he says good-bye, how cool is that? Walken is excellent and plays the power hungry Zorin to perfection, giving Moore a more than worthy final foe. Grace Jones, Tayna Roberts, and Patrick Macnee also provide nice turns, which gives the film a nice depth in terms of talent. If you’re a Bond fan, then this is a must have and if you’re a doubter, then give this one another chance and try to just have fun with it.
This film marked the end of Roger Moore’s run as James Bond and though not everyone liked his tenure in the role, I found his humor and relaxed nature to be terrific. By this time Moore is a little too old for the part, but he still turns in a nice farewell performance. I think Moore was able to make the series a little better during his time behind the wheel, as he made the movies more fun and less serious. If Moore has played his cards in a more serious fashion, films like Moonraker and The Man With The Golden Gun would lose all their charm, which is low enough as it is to most fans. He might not be have the slickness of Brosnan or the killer instinct of Connery, but Moore brought a lot to this series and I am pleased he stuck around for so many films. Other Bond adventures with Moore (aside from the two listed above) include Octopussy, For Your Eyes Only, and The Spy Who Loved Me. A View To A Kill includes an impressive supporting cast, which includes Desmond Llewelyn (Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies), Tanya Roberts (Body Slam, The Beastmaster), Patrick Macnee (Tv’s The Avengers), Alison Doody (Taffin, Major League II), Grace Jones (Vamp, Conan The Destroyer), and the always excellent Christopher Walken (New Rose Hotel, Mousehunt).
Video: How does it look?
A View To A Kill is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. While this film shows some signs of wear and tear at times, this transfer turns out to be above average and should please fans of the series. I found little in terms of print damage and debris, which was impressive and though some of the film looks dated, this is still emerges as a fine overall transfer. Colors look good, though not as bright as they be and flesh tones appear normal and without flaw. The fading in the colors is evident of course, but it is not extreme and doesn’t cause many problems in the end. Contrast some a few troubles spots, but overall detail is good and black levels seem in order also. This one could be better of course, but all in all this one does the movie justice and should please fans.
Audio: How does it sound?
I wouldn’t say the included Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is dynamic by any means, but if offers an active and enjoyable experience. I found no problems with the dialogue, which sounds clean throughout and shows no consistency issues. This mix livens up the action sequences and musical interludes of course, which adds a lot of depth to the overall presentation. The music sounds good here and seems much more immersive than I expected, but still lacks the range and presence a more modern effort might display. The same goes for the sound effects, which punch up the surrounds often and to good use, but lack that power a newer track would have. But in the end, this is much better than a simple mono or stereo surround track, though I would have liked the original track included here. This disc also includes a Spanish stereo surround track, English captions, and French & Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
As with the other discs in this series of Bond special editions, this one has a load of goodies to explore. This disc includes two featurettes and while neither of them are as in depth as I would like, I am pleased to find them here. Inside A View To A Kill runs about forty minutes and includes interviews and behind the scenes footage. This is a nice piece and more expansive than I expected, but still falls short of some of the previous Bond documentaries. Next is The Music Of James Bond, which runs just over twenty minutes and focuses on…the music found in this series of films. I found this to be informative and entertaining, but again the length doesn’t allow much in depth coverage in the end. An audio commentary track is up next, which features director John Glen along with various other cast & crew members. This is like most of the other Bond commentary tracks, which means different people’s comments are spliced together and are never screen specific. Informative to be sure, but I found this one to be quite dull in the end. This disc also includes a never before seen deleted scene, three of the film’s trailers (one theatrical, one teaser for U.K. & U.S.), a series of television promotional spots, and a music video from Duran Duran to put a little icing on this cake.