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Infernal Affairs II / II: a prequel to Infernal Affairs, further backgrounding how both the police and the triads got their mole into the other’s organisation. Having to live up to such a great film clearly daunted most of those involved in this; it lacks any of the tension and urgency that makes the original great, and it’s a more superficial story spread finely over a longer runtime. The second tripping point is that there’s too many (underdeveloped) characters, meaning that the story’s just not as focused or tight. Of the two hour runtime, it picks up around 60 minutes, then drops back again until the dynamite ending – the rest feels like forced melodrama for the most part. Fortunately, two big hitters really pull the film along;  Anthony Wong has an effortless presence, and Eric Tsang is surprisingly emotive for a gangster character – the only downside is that they share the screen time with everyone else. There are a few political elements like the Hong Kong handover, but it’s not really significant to the story, and feels like they’re there for stylistic / filler / nostalgia purposes. Finally, being a prequel, it lacks the sting in knowing that almost everyone survives because their characters are central in the first film. Infernal Affairs II not a bad film by any stretch, and sits above the generic Asian HK cop/triad films, but it feels like a hollow movie, created solely to ride on the coattails of the first film.

Score: 6/10

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.

The calling card of the world's best assassin - Scaramanga

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…

Asian Ninja Schoolgirls - 3 fetishes for the price of 1

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.

Smart, ruthless and menacing - what a (bad) guy!

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!

The 3-titular weapon

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!

The least welcome comeback of the franchise

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.

Bond discards this beauty by pushing her into a closet...

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!

... but most guy's wouldn't refuse an upgrade to Maud "Octopussy" Adams

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.

Score: 6.5/10

How many overly elaborate death traps will it take to end Bond?!?

TOP TRUMPS
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

Even Paul McCartney didn't have Wings like this...

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