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Mission Impossible: when his mission in Prague goes FUBAR Ethan Hunt must prove his innocence and figure out who the real traitor is without the help of the CIA/IMF. This contains pretty much everything that’s cool about spying & espionage, from the high-tech gadgets (hacking/security) to the low-brow survival tricks (cracked light bulb on floor). Brian De Palma is on top form; the complex story is well told, and the moments of drama/tension are just perfect – the NOC list Langley break-in in particular is a beautiful, yet almost unwatchable, set piece – more generally, the film is like a masterclass in ambiance and tension. The director slaps a heavy streak of throwback Noir style: camera angles, soft focus, clothes, hats, music overcoats – not to mention the mystery story. Being a 90s film some of the technology is horrifically outdated, e-mail in particular is laugh-out-loud bad. While Ethan Hunt is no James Bond, the team behind Mission impossible did a great job of lifting from the Bond Blueprint and re-inventing a modern super-spy.

Score: 8/10

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Moonraker: when an airplane transporting the brand new ‘Moonraker’ space shuttle blows up James Bond is sent to figure out why none of Moonraker is in the debris. With the help of a female scientist they find out that it’s part of a Madman’s plan to wipe out the human race and start a superior one in space.

Bond didn't do too well on the spin cycle challenge...

Moonraker begins with one of the coolest opening action sequences, with 007 hurling himself out of a ‘plane, freefalling down to Jaws and fighting him in mid-air for the last parachute.

007 will do anything for a parachute! Dirty minx.

With Star Wars V, Alien and the First Star Trek film being released in the same year – and Bond’s uncanny nack of incorporating the latest trends – 007 was always going to be heading to space… it’s just a pity that it didn’t work out. It borrows heavily from previous successful sci-fi hits like 2001 and Logans Run, with some ridiculous additions like a huge laser battle between the ‘perfect’ humans and U.S. Space Marines!?!?  Not all of the space section is lame though, the zero-G sequence is jaw-dropping, and is as convincing as anything Kubrik achieved in 2001. I guess you have to remember that space was still very cool back then.

Pew pew pew pew pew pew pew

Other bits in my Moonraker scrapbook are: the ridiculous stereotype of Rio De Janeiro (with everyone samba dancing and a carnival around every corner). The fact that Drax’s plans on heading up a ‘superior race’, despite being short, hairy and having a perfect face for the radio. Jaws looks uncannily like Willem Dafoe here, and despite falling out of a plane and getting mauled in a cable car crash it only takes about 5 samba dancers to drag him away from Bond! The ‘comedy’ element is cringe-worthy with Jaws making flapping motions in mid air and a terrible “He’s behind you” pantomime moment. The name Dr Goodhead is timeless, as is the shooting of the sniper out of the tree and the sound of the door password. Another part that sticks out for all the right reasons is the tastefully done dog-chase scene, it’s like a little bit or arthouse sticking out like a sore thumb.

What's the time in Rio? SAMBA O'CLOCK!!!

Moonraker’s biggest weakness is that it tries to do too much in one film, and it’s all done in a way that means that the tone’s all over the place: it’s a long-winded story, a slice of the middle east, a bit of latin america, 5 minutes of a ridiculous Western, and a whole lotta space tomfoolery, all mixed in with some terrible attempts at comedy. Definitely one of the weaker, and more dated films

The classic "attemptig re-entry" quip could well be Q's finest hour

Score: 4.5/10

Two of Jaws' kryptonite: samba and midgets!

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Humourless, emotionless, beard. Identical to Stromberg but substitute water with space. 3
Henchman: Bowlcut ninja Chang – pretty rubbish. Jaws – decent, but cops out at the end! 6
Bond girls: Dr Holly Goodhead – good. Dogfood Corinne – good. Beyonce look-a-like. Jaws’ handfull Dolly. 100 ‘perfect’ girls. Too many. 5
Action: Centrifuge, Venice / Amazon boat chases, glass warehouse, Cable cars, Space fight. 6

The nightmarish doberman chase sequence...

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Dr Goodhead - whatever could that mean?!

Goldfinger: 007 is sent to investigate a gold-smuggling operation, but uncovers a much larger plot involving Fort Knox, a nuclear bomb, lethal gas, and a lot of gold bouillon…

Epidermal Suffocation - debatable, but iconic!

It’s impossible to do justice in such a short review, but Goldfinger is  cinematic gold (!!). It’s crammed end-to-end with iconography, from unforgettable imagery through to the timeless – but slightly cheesy – script. The opening scenes where Bond stealthily snorkels behind enemy lines and blows up a secret base (the first proper pre-credits mini mission) sets the tone for Goldfinger, and from there on in the story thunders through until Bond’s capture, when it slows down until the raid on Fort Knox.

Aston Martin - arguably Bond's true sweetheart

Despite almost every scene being recognisable, some of the highlights are; the Aston Martin debut – packed with gadgets, Golf playoff (should be boring!), / Pussy Galore, scuba gear to white tux, ‘shocking’, Laser Scene “Do you expect me to talk”, ticking nuke, Auric and his Gold fetish, explosive decompression, hundreds of collapsing soldiers, Oddjob and his hat, gold body paint…

Goldfinger - Star of the show

Random Task - Oddjob and his current hat

It’s also the pinnacle of Bond’s unbelievable sexist streak – when he condescendingly explains to his female colleague: ‘run along dear, man talk’ then proceeds to give her a massive slap on the arse. They just don’t make ’em like that these days!

As Felix stares on... wrong on so many levels

Another interesting aspect is that of all the physically dominating, power-hungry, and certifiably insane Bond villains we’ve seen over the years, it’s a small, fat (& dubbed) – and in the end, greedy -German that sits up there with the best of them. Despite the film’s greatness some questions are best left unanswered, like why is there a mass of asian labour in the middle of Kentucky? or how did such rubbish gangsters ever make it big (“What’s this?” “Who’s that!?”).

Perhaps the single still that sums up the franchise

The final product is an unforgettable, and near-perfect blend of the two themes that make Bond films great; mystery-thriller and large-scale action. Fantastic as a stand-alone film, and one of the highlights of the franchise.

Score: 8/10

Pussy Galore - proof that even lesbians digg Bond

TOP TRUMPS

Villain: Auric Goldfinger – Golf, Gold and laser-loving menace. 9
Henchmen: Oddjob – Silent but violent. 9
Bond Girl: Pussy Galore / Masterton Sisters – three’s a crowd. 8
Action: Car chase, opium explosion, golf, long Fort Knox fight. – 7

Still haven't seen a game of golf this tense

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