The Man With the Golden Gun: Britain’s top agent is a marked man when a golden bullet inscribed with ‘007’ arrives at MI6, but with better things to do, James Bond has to track down a missing scientist that was last known to be working on a ground-breaking solar-power device.
Opening with a midget, guy with three nipples, haunted fun house, wax works and a ton of psychedelia, it definitely catches you off guard. And throughout the film it gets a bit weirder with flying cars, asian ninja schoolgirls, crazy sound effects, belly button kissing, bum grabbing, lasers, domestic abuse, a strip club, a weird device called a car phone…
For me, Scaramanga is the ultimate opposite number for Bond. He’s suave, intelligent, visibly mad, totally badass and always one step ahead. He clearly admires Bond, to the point of imitation, has great gadgets, an iconic weapon, and a random third nipple! All this topped off by a fantastic Christopher Lee performance; you just can’t beat this.
Somewhat ironically, the main plot driver is a device called the ‘agitator’, which is as good a word as any to describe the story. The plot clumsily progresses, allowing for gratuities such as ninja fights, car/boat chases and all the other usuals. On the plus side it was particularly relevant during the energy crisis in the early 70s, and to some extent, still just as likely to appeal today. It’s certainly more interesting than a monopoly on water!
For an unknown reason, the worst minor character in the franchise, Sheriff Pepper, gets another look-in here… this is beyond me, and he even knocks himself off the ‘shittest character’ top spot from Live and Let Die!
Absurdity also reaches new highs, as Bond’s literally juggles the women that throw themselves in his arms – at one point throws the girl he’s warming up in a wardrobe to pump another for information… genuinely.
Other noteworthy aspects are the coolest satellite HQ in a shipwreck, a girl called ‘Chew Mee’ (a new high/low in pun-based innuendo), what has to be one of the worst theme songs (instantly forgettable), and a 5-minute intensified advertisment campaign for Rolex, Nikon, Sony, and Rolls Royce. Bond’s definitely starting to get his commerce on!
All in, I feel that this film gets an unfairly poor reputation. Sure it’s a bit weird, has a pretty basic storyline, and seems to juggle individual elements of the previous 8 films while keeping the tested formula… but that’s part of the appeal. At the heart of TMWTGG lies a fresh relationship and chemistry between Bond and his nemesis, and let’s face it – without a villain as good as Scaramanga this film would be a total catastrophe.
Villain: Scaramanga – only his sportsmanship/confidence lets him down. 10
Henchmen: Nick Nack; Spanish (?) midget, no physical prowess, not too clever either. 3
Bond Girl: Dr Goodnight – clumsy but pretty. Andrea Anders – Swedish Bikini Babe. French Belly Dancer. 9
Action: dressing room / sumo fight / boat chase / karate temple / Car chase (with terrible sound effect) 7