|A View to a Kill|
A View to a Kill is a 1985 spy film and the fourteenth official installment of the James Bond film series. Directed by John Glen, it was the last of the series to star Roger Moore, appearing for the seventh time as James Bond, and also featured actor Christopher Walken in the role of the Bond villain, Max Zorin. Zorin's henchwoman and lover, May Day, is played by Grace Jones while Tanya Roberts plays Stacey Sutton, Bond's main love interest. Robert Brown appears as M for the second time; Desmond Llewelyn returns as Q for the thirteenth time and Lois Maxwell also retires from the role of Miss Moneypenny, having played the part fourteen times, with this film.
In the pre-title sequence, James Bond (Roger Moore) locates the body of missing MI6 agent 003 on a Siberian glacier and recovers a locket containing a hidden microchip from his corpse. Upon doing so, Bond is spotted by Soviet troops, who open fire on him. Bond skis away and steals a snowmobile from a soldier, but the snowmobile is then blown up by an attack helicopter. Bond is able to improvise an escape by using a piece of a snowmobile as a makeshift snowboard. A chase ensues down the slopes before Bond uses his flare gun to blow up the helicopter and then makes his way to his escape vehicle; a submarine disguised as an iceberg, captained by Kimberley Jones (Mary Stavin). Bond reports his success to her before he seduces her and they begin to make love, taking us to our opening title sequence.
Returning to Universal Exports, Bond briefly flirts with Miss Moneypenny before meeting with M (Robert Brown) and Minister of Defence Sir Frederick Gray (Geoffrey Keen). After Q (Desmond Llewelyn) demonstrates his new robotic surveillance dog, he explains to those that he examined the microchip Bond retrieved and has found it to be an exact match of a microchip produced by government contractor Zorin Industries. The microchip was designed to withstand the electromagnetic pulse emitted by a nuclear explosion.Bond, M, Gray, Q and Moneypenny visit Ascot Racecourse, where they meet up with Sir Godfrey Tibbett (Patrick Macnee), an MI6 agent and horse trainer who is spying on the head of Zorin Industries, Max Zorin (Christopher Walken), whose prize horse Pegasus is running in the race. Pegasus looks set to lose until it gets a sudden burst of speed at the last second. Tibbett explains that he believes that Zorin is doping his horses, but is unable to prove it. He then agrees to set up a meeting between Bond and French private detective Achille Aubergine (Jean Rougerie), who has been hired by the French Jockey Club to investigate Zorin.
Bond travels to Paris, where he meets with Aubergine for dinner at the Eiffel Tower. Aubergine informs Bond of a horse sale that Zorin is planning later in the month. Suddenly, Aubergine is killed by an unknown assailant, who Bond chases up the tower before they parachute off. Not giving up, Bond makes his way to the ground and steals a Renault taxi, which he uses to pursue the assassin through the streets. The killereventually lands on a wedding barge, which Bond also leaps onto, but he falls through the roof, allowing the assassin to jump into a passing speedboat and escape. The chefs on board the boat perform a citizen's arrest on Bond, while the driver of the speedboat is revealed to be Zorin and the killer is revealed to be his right-hand woman, May Day (Grace Jones).
Bond is eventually released due to M's intervention, and he reveals that he is sending Bond undercover to further investigate Zorin. Posing as James St. John Smythe, a wealthy Englishman who recently inherited some stables from his late aunt, Bond travels to Chantilly, with Tibbett posing as his personal valet. Upon arrival at Zorin's estate, Bond and Tibbett are met by Pan Ho (Papillon Soo Soo) and Zorin's chief of security, Scarpine (Patrick Bauchau). After showing him around the stables and stating that Pegasus is expected to fetch over three million dollars, Scarpine escorts Bond to the living quarters, where he is received by Jenny Flex (Alison Doody). Flex shows Bond and Tibbett to their room, where they locate a bug planted by Scarpine, who is listening in on their conversation. They trick him, however, by playing a tape recording of the two of them arguing while they go out onto the balcony to discuss their investigation. Here, they witness a beautiful young woman arrive via helicopter, and she is met personally by Zorin himself.Bond goes down to the party, where he spies on Zorin giving the woman a check for five million dollars. He sneaks into the office once they leave and find that the woman's name is "S. Sutton." As he is leaving, he runs into Dr. Carl Mortner, Zorin's physician. Mortner introduces Bond to Bob Conley (Manning Redwood), a mining engineer who looks after Zorin's oil interests in the East Bay. Bond approaches Miss Sutton, but May Day interrupts to tell her that her helicopter will be leaving in twenty minutes. May Day then tells Bond that someone will look after him, prompting him to ask "Oh, you'll see to that personally, will you?"
That night, Bond and Tibbett break into the stable and discover a secret lab hidden beneath it. They learn that Zorin and Mortner has designed special adrenaline-releasing microchips which are implanted in the horses. The amount of adrenaline which is released is very low, which is why it could not be detected by any doping tests. The two are then accosted by a guard (Ron Tarr) but Bond throws him onto a conveyor belt and knocks him out. Another guard (Taylor McAuley) discovers this and reports back to Zorin, who is wrestling with and kissing May Day. Bond runs back to the chateau, but does not get back to his room before Zorin and May Day do. MayDay realizes that she remembers Bond from the Eiffel Tower and goes into her room to get changed in order to go out and search for him. However, she finds a naked Bond waiting for her in her bed. Bond says that he's been waiting for her to "take care of [him], personally." Seemingly with Zorin's approval, May Day disrobes and climbs into bed with Bond. In his study the next morning, Zorin quizzes Bond on what he is looking for in a horse, obstensibly to help him select a horse for breeding. However, Zorin uses a hidden camera to take a photo of Bond, and then uses his personal computer to learn Bond's true identity. He finishes the meeting by inviting Bond to join him on his morning ride. Bond sends Tibbett into town to contact MI6 so as to have them find out who S. Sutton is. While there, Tibbett takes his Rolls Royce to a car wash, but is oblivious to May Day, who is hiding in the backseat and garrotes him.
Zorin shows Bond his mount, an unruly horse named Inferno, and then challenges him to a steeple chase, making him an offer he can't refuse; if Bond wins, Zorin will give him Pegasus for free. If he is thrown from his horse, then he loses. Bond agrees and the race begins, but Zorin has the entire course rigged to throw Bond from his horse. He also has several other jockeys, who are riding with them, try and knock Bond off of Inferno. Bond fights them off, however, and escapes to a nearby road, where he comes upon Tibbett's car. Bond leaps onto the Rolls Royce, only to find May Day in the driver's seat, pointing a gun at him, with Tibbett's body in the back seat. Scarpine knocks Bond out and puts him in the back next to Tibbett. Zorin and May Day drive them to a nearby pond and push the car into it. Bond regains consciousness just in time and escapes, managing to survive by sucking air out of the tires.Zorin is confronted by General Gogol (Walter Gotell), the head of the KGB, along his two bodyguards, Klotkoff (Bogdan Kominowski) and Venz (Dolph Lundgren). Gogol reprimands Zorin for killing Bond and drawing unwanted attention to the KGB's activities, revealing that Zorin was formally trained and financed by the KGB. Zorin tells Gogol, however, that he no longer considers himself to be an affiliate of the KGB, prompting Klotkoff to call Zorin "a physiological freak." May Day picks Klotkoff up and throws him to the floor. Gogol then warns Zorin that "no one ever leaves the KGB."
Later, Zorin meets with a group of investors aboard his airship, revealing to them a deadly business proposition; they will invest one hundred million dollars each in Project Main Strike, Zorin's plan to destroy Silicon Valley, allowing them to monopolize the microchip market. However, one Taiwanese Tycoon (Anthony Chinn) rejects the idea. Zorin asks him to leave the board room in order to maintain confidentiality; the man does so, but this is a trick. May Day opens a trap door and drops the businessman to his death in San Francisco Bay.Bond also arrives in San Francisco and meets up with his CIA liason Chuck Lee (David Yip) on Fisherman's Wharf. Lee tells him that the check Zorin made out to S. Sutton has not been cashed and they have been unable to figure out who S. Sutton is, due to the high amount of people in the United States who have that name. Lee does have some useful information, however; Carl Mortner is in fact Hans Glaub, a German pioneer in the use of steroids. During the Second World War, Glaub carried out tested experimental steroids on pregnant women in concentration camps. Most children did not survive; those who did were highly intelligent, but also psychopaths. Bond believes that this explains Zorin's origins. When Bond asks about Zorin's oil operations, Lee introduces him to O'Rourke (Bill Ackridge), a crab fisherman who tells him that crab patches have been vanishing near to Zorin's oil well.
As night falls, Bond heads out to investigate Zorin's oil rig. Zorin, May Day and Scarpine are on the rig, discussing Project Main Strike with Conley. Suddenly, the rig's propellor blades are jammed by a scuba tank. Bond witnesses the perpetrator planting a mine on the rig while their partner swims away. The man is subsequently captured and revealed to be Klotkoff. Zorin forces him to disarm the mine before dropping him onto the rotor blades, killing him. Bond follows Klotkoff's partner back to shore, where they have a brief struggle before he recognizes them asthe beautiful KGB agent Pola Ivanova (Fiona Fullerton), whom he had encountered on a previous mission. Bond takes her to the Nippon Relaxation Spa, where he seduces her in a jacuzzi. Pola later sneaks away while Bond is in the shower, stealing a tape recording he took of Zorin discussing his plans. She is picked up outside the spa by General Gogol, but when they play the tape, it turns out to be Japanese music. Bond still has the real tape and listens to it, learning that Project Main Strike is to go ahead in three days.
Taking on the new cover identity of James Stock, a reporter for the London Financial Times, Bond visits San Francisco City Hall to interview W.G. Howe (Daniel Benzali), a government official working at the Division of Oil and Mines. As Bond is leaving, he spots S. Sutton speaking to Howe and follows her home. However, she gets the drop on him and corners him with a shotgun. When she tries to call the police, she finds that the phone lines have been cut. Bond realizes that they are in danger and helps her to fight off some of Zorin's goons, who have been sent to intimidate her. Introducing herself as Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts), she reveals that Zorin is trying to buy out her oil company, which was left to her by her late grandfather.
After spending the night watching over Stacey, Bond is woken up by a sudden tremor. Stacey explains that San Francisco gets them all the time, but becomes concerned when Bond tells her that Zorin is pumping sea water into his oil wells, which are in the Hayward Fault. They decide to return to City Hall, hoping to convince Howe to shut down Zorin's activities. However, he instead fires Stacey. Lee meets with Bond and Stacey at her house, where they decide to break back into City Hall with Stacey's security pass to check Zorin's submitted plans. When Lee returns to his car, May Day appears in the back seat and strangles him to death.Bond and Stacey arrive at City Hall, but are caught by Zorin and May Day, who relieves Bond of his Walther PPK. Zorin then marches them into Howe's office, where he relates a story to Howe of Bond and Stacey's conspiracy to murder Howe in revenge for her firing, before setting fire to the building in an attempt to destroy any evidence. However, they became trapped in the elevator while making their escape and were killed. Howe chuckles nervously and says "But for that to work, I would have to be..." To which Zorin cheerfully responds "Dead!" before shooting Howe through the heart with Bond's gun. Jenny Flex and Pan Ho then enter and cover the office in gasoline, while Zorin and May Day force Bond and Stacey into the elevator. Scarpine shuts the elevator down between floors before Zorin lights the place up with a Moltov cocktail. Bond manages to climb out of the elevator car via the ceiling hatch and then rescues Stacey. He carries her down an escape ladder from an engine in front of a crowd of cheering bystanders. Bond is then confronted by the San Francisco Police Captain (Joe Flood), who questions Bond about his involvement in Howe's death, as Bond's gun was recovered from the office. Bond reveals himself as a British agent to a shocked Stacey and says that Chuck Lee will back up his story. However, the police chief then informs him that Lee's body was discovered in Chinatown before arresting Bond. Bond sprays him with a fire hose and then escapes with Stacey in the fire engine. A chase ensues across town, during which Bond finds himself dangling from the ladder which has come loose, but they eventually manage to evade the police by jumping over a toll bridge just as it begins to rise.
The following morning, Bond and Stacey infiltrate an abandoned silver mine by the San Andreas Fault, where Zorin is concentrating a lot of his man power. Disguised as mine workers, they descend into the mine and witness Zorin's men moving tons of explosives in as well. Breaking into Zorin's makeshift office, they discover a map showing the location of Zorin's oil wells. Together, they deduce that Zorin is going to detonate the explosives and flood the vault, then use a second, larger bomb to destroy the key geological lock that prevents the two locks from moving at once. This would result in the flooding of Silicon Valley, thus wiping out all of Zorin's competition in the microchip market and killing millions in the process. The two are then discovered by Zorin, who sends May Day, Jenny Flex and Pan Ho into the mine to catch them when they flee. Meanwhile, Scarpine plants some dynamite in a mine cart, unbeknownst to the mine foreman (Tony Sibbald). When Scarpine then declares that it is time to flood the fault,Conley protests, but Scarpine clubs him over the head. Zorin then detonates the explosives, flooding the mine and drowning the miners, including the foreman and Pan Ho. As the remaining workers flee for their lives, Zorin and Scarpine open fire on them with uzis, violently slaughtering them all while Zorin laughs gleefully. Meanwhile, May Day finds Bond and Stacey trying to climb out of a mine shaft. Stacey manages to escape when the mine floods, but Bond and May Day fall into the water and are swept away.
In the aftermath, May Day finds that Jenny Flex has also drowned and defects to Bond's side, wanting revenge on Zorin. She helps Bond to remove the second bomb from the mine, but when they try to push it out, they find the handbrake on the rail car broken, forcing May Day to push it out manually. At the same time, Zorin and Scarpine meet up with Mortner in Zorin's airship and they take off, only to witness May Day pushing the bomb out of the mine. May Day's final words to Bond are "Get Zorin for me!" before the bomb explodes and she is killed.Enraged over the failure of his plans, Zorin kidnaps Stacey by pulling her into the blimp and then flying away. However, Bond grabs hold of the mooring rope and is left dangling from the zeppelin as it flies over San Francisco. He eventually manages to moor the blimp to the framework of the Golden Gate Bridge. The airship collides with the bridge, knocking Mortner unconscious. Zorin orders Scarpine to go out and get Bond, but Stacey knocks Scarpine out with a fire extinguisher and then climbs out onto the framework. Zorin grabs a fire axe and follows causing Stacey to slip and find herself dangling from the framework. He then attacks Bond with the axe and their final showdown ensues. Bond wrestles the axe away from Zorin, who then begins to slip just as Mortner wakes up and shouts "Max!" Zorin looks up at him and lets one final burst of psychotic laughter before he loses his grip and plummets to his death.
Desperate to avenge Zorin, Mortner lights a stick of dynamite with which to kill Bond just as Scarpine comes to. Bond, however, is able to use the fire axe to cut the mooring rope, causing Mortner to drop the stick. The dynamite then explodes, destroying the airship and killing Mortner and Scarpine.
Back in London, Gogol shares drinks with Minister Gray and M in M's office. Gogol wants to commend Bond for his heroics by awarding him the Order of Lenin, making Bond the first non-Soviet citizen to receive the medal. Moneypenny, meanwhile, worries about the fate of the missing Bond, fearing the worst. Sitting in a Winnebago outside of Stacey's house, Q uses the snooper dog device to take a look inside and finds her with Bond in the shower. The film ends with the two of them disappearing behind the shower curtain, with Stacey saying "Oh, James!"
The theme song for A View to a Kill was performed by English rock band Duran Duran. The band was selected to do the song after bassist John Taylor approached Cubby Broccoli at a party and asked him, somewhat drunkenly, "When are you going to get someone decent to do one of your theme songs?"
The score for the film was again composed by John Barry in his tenth and penultimate contribution to the Bond series.
A View to a Kill is ranked consistently as one of, if not the, worst James Bond films. Criticisms are commonly levelled at the fact that Roger Moore was fifty-seven years old during filming, the weak Bond girl in Stacey Sutton, and the fact that the plot is a poorly told rehash of Goldfinger. However, Christopher Walken's performance as the villain and the Duran Duran theme song have received praise.