Live and Let Die: after 3 British agents are murdered by a sound, a snake and a funeral precession (!!) James Bond gets sent on the case, leading him into a world of underground drug crime and voodoo.
Apparently Roger Moore though that the idea of a world-class spy being so easily recognised by terrorists, and being known by name (and drink) in every bar around the world was absurd. Between this school of thought, and the fact that it was the 1970s James Bond soon found himself as the embodiment of camp; calling everyone darling, acting through his eyebrows, and cranking up the innuendo to the max. Moore’s Bond is essentially a cheeky detective, not a ruthless spy. Despite adapting these traits the chauvinism is still in tact – conning a tarot expert into bed rendering her useless and in danger… you just can’t teach a new Bond new tricks!
All of the baddies and henchmen are African American, and there’s a real ‘Black Vibe’ to the this film – it’s set in Harlem, New Orleans and Caribbean Islands, there’s a 1970s soul music soundtrack, urban colloquialism, a ‘brotherhood’ against Bond, afros… you name it, pretty much every black stereotype is rampant in this one. To balance it out we also get a ridiculous redneck cop, who’s got to be one of the worst minor characters in the franchise.
Unlike any of the other films before it this is when Bond starts getting really risque, treading a fine line between racial stereotyping, there’s the first round of implied heavy-duty swearing (including a well edited mother f…), and the crime gang aren’t scheming world domination, but pushing heroin – a real social issue.
Live and Let die bursts out the blocks with 3 of the most memorable assassinations in the series, followed by one of the biggest-sounding songs. The rest of the film is spent boosting an intriguing story with mysterious voodoo, and some exotic locations. The action is top-drawer – including the now legendary boat chases – and the watch/magnet/saw is one of the best gadgets yet. Despite a new Bond, and new take on the tried and tested formula Live and Let Die is memorable for all the right reasons.
Villian: Kananga / Mr Big – pretty smart and ruthless. 7
Henchmen: Hook hand Tee Hee, Whisper, Baron Samedi – none of them die!! 9
Bond Girls: No neckline Solitaire can read my cards any time! Useless agent Rosie Carver. 7
Action: bus chase, assasinations, plane crazy, crocs, legendary boat chase. 8