There is one Bond film that, before today, I had not seen: The Spy Who Loved Me. I refer to official Bond films, as opposed to parodies like the ’60s Casino Royale, or knockoffs like Never Say Never Again (which I have seen), and spiritual ripoffs like Operation Double 007 (as seen on MST3K).
I’m not a fan of Roger Moore’s Bond films. They’re too campy and silly, and far too often put jokes at the expense of the action scenes and the narrative. The Spy Who Loved Me is absolutely guilty of this sin. In particular, there’s an impressive action scene with Jaws ripping apart a van which is completely ruined by Bond quipping about Major Amasova’s “incompetence” (which isn’t incompetence, it’s Jaws being badass). This is, perhaps, only topped by the later corkscrew jump from The Man With The Golden Gun, which is marred by a comedic slide whistle.
Hell, even Carly Simon’s fantastic theme song, “Nobody Does It Better”, gets done dirt in this film, with the reprise of the song in the closing credits being done as a “lad’s chorus”, basically making it into an almost bawdy drinking song. I’m not sure if this or Man With The Golden Gun wins the “award” for “Bond Film Most Ruined By Gratuitous Screwball Comedy.” There is a good movie in here, that’s trying to get out, but ends up being ruined by unnecessary failed attempts at “humor”.
While the Bond franchise thus far has eschewed straight up re-makes of earlier films, I almost wish this film got remade in a more serious fashion, to let the drama, the action scenes, and the imposing villains like Jaws speak for themselves.