AVTAK Review: 06/03/85 Review in “New Yorker”

NEW YORKER June 3, 1985 Pauline Kael THE James Bond series has had its bummers, but nothing before in the class of “A View to a Kill.”

You go to a Bond picture expecting some style or, at least, some flash, some lift; you don`t expect the dumb police-car crashes you get here. You do see some ingenious daredevil feats, but they`re crowded together and, the way they`re set up, they don`t give you the irresponsible, giddy tingle you`re hoping for. The movie is set mostly in Chantilly, Paris, and San Francisco, and it`s full of bodies and vehicles diving, exploding, going up in flames.

Christopher Walken is the chief villain; the ultra-blond psychopathic product of a Nazi doctor`s experiments, he mows people down casually, his expression jaded. And the director, John Glen, stages the slaughter scenes so apathetically that the picture itself seems dissociated. (I don`t think I`ve ever seen another movie in which race horses were mistreated and the director failed to work up any indignation. If Glen has any emotions about what he puts on the screen, he keeps them to himself.) All that keeps “A View to a Kill” going is that it needs to reach a certain heft to fit into the series.

As the villainess, Grace Jones, of the flat-top haircut and the stylized look of African sculpture, is indifferently good-humoured the way Jane Russell used to be, and much too flaccid, and as the Bond heroine Tanya Roberts (who has a disconcerting resemblance to Isabelle Adjani) is totally lacking in intensity – she goes from one life-threatening situation to another looking vaguely put out.

About the most that can be said for Roger Moore, in his seventh go-round as Bond, is that he keeps his nose to the grindstone, permitting himself no expression except a faint bemusement. It used to be that we could count on Bond to deliver a few zingers, but this time the script (by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson) barely manages a little facetiousness.

The film does come up with one visual zinger: in the small role of Jenny Flex, a stunning young model named Alison Doody comes up with a curvy walk that`s like sex on wheels.

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