Movie Review: THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN

Sometimes the only one who can almost kill James Bond are the producers. 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun was the first time the franchise was on its last legs. Poor reviews and a lackluster box-office has ended up as the film’s legacy. Yet, it still provides us with one of the best Bond villains, a memorable henchman, and a now well-known vacation hot spot.

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MY TMWTGG NOTES:

  • The Man With The Golden Gun feels like the perfect summer Bond flick. That’s mainly because of the locations and everyone looks sweaty throughout filming.
  • “Nick Nack, Tabasco!” is one of the greatest lines in a Bond movie. At least for me it is. That’s because when I was kid I thought Scaramanga was saying “Nick Nack, avesco!” As if “avesco” was some Italian or Spanish word for “hurry up!”
  • If screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz came up with the idea of Francisco Scaramanga (played by Christopher Lee) having a third nipple, I must find out what he was smoking and drinking at the time.
  • I like to assume that the mobbed-up gangster character dueling Scaramanga in the pre-title sequence is the same mobbed-up gangster from Diamonds Are Forever.
  • I’m never impressed with Scaramanga’s “fun house”. This movie could have used Ken Adams’ legendary production design skills.
  • I don’t care what anyone else tells me: that animatronic saloon cowboy shooting is Roger Moore!
  • I would happily listen to Nick Nack do play-by-play of duels.
  • LuLu’s title song isn’t great, but it’s funky.
  • Bond reels off info about Scaramanga to M as if Wikipedia was around in 1974.
  • This is the only one of Roger Moore’s seven Bond movies where I feel like he isn’t acting like himself. There are many moments in this film when Moore’s Bond is just flat-out rude and sadistic. It’s not a nice sight.
  • The fight in the belly dancer’s dressing room is Moore’s best fight in the 12 years he played 007.
  • Mary Goodnight (played by Britt Ekland) is really horrible at her job.
  • Andrea Anders (played by Maud Adams) is a much more interesting character than Goodnight. The dynamic between Bond/Anders is reminiscent to Bond/Severine in Skyfall.
  • I would have no problem hanging out at the Bottom’s Up club. Don’t judge me.
  • I know Scaramanga likes to shag before and after committing murder, but something tells me he has some odd gun-sex fetish too.
  • Hai Fat and Chew Mee are just lazy names.
  • The “solex” is a very weak “MacGuffin”.
  • In the same way Live And Let Die used Blaxploitation from the early 70s, TMWTGG did the same with early 70s kung-fu. Hence 007 doing battle at a karate school.
  • The boat chase is a snoozer for me. Only highlight is a comedic one: Bond tossing a Thai boy off a boat. I told you he was mean in this one.
  • Who actually thought it was a good idea to bring back Sheriff J.W. Pepper?
  • I’m always impressed with the gun-making scene. Scaramanga could teach a lesson.
  • Bond watching a kickboxing match. Not sure we will ever see this again.
  • I know Scaramanga is a master assassin and can shoot anyone from any spot. But cmon now! He shoots Anders in the chest and she doesn’t even move?!
  • Anders has a Melania quality to her.
  • Scarmanga’s get-away car that turns into a get-away plane, looks like something a little kid would make.
  • The technician looks like baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.
  • Deadly mission or not. Upcoming duel or not. I also would eat the delicious lunch Nick Nack has prepared.
  • I love the set-up of the duel between Scaramanga and Bond, but I would have loved more cat and mouse.
  • Very cool that Bond dressed up as his own mannequin in order to shoot and kill Scaramanga. However, did he really have that much time to dress in the mannequin’s clothes?
  • Bond’s “fight” with Nick Nack might as well have Yakety Sax playing in the background.
  • The end of this movie always leaves me with tons of questions: Should Bond trust Goodnight to clean up all that glass from the fight? How the hell does M know the phone number to Scaramanga’s boat? Are we to assume that Bond left Nick Nack up in the crow’s nest to die from sun poisoning?

 

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Bond’s coolest moment? Kicking the karate guy in the face as he is bowing down.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? A few options here. Bond swallowing the bullet while sucking on the belly dancer’s abdomen. Having to grab the ass cheeks of a sumo wrestler during a fight. But I’m going to go with the car loop mostly for that embarrassing slide-whistle. Oh and it’s always embarrassing to be seen with J.W. Pepper.

Bond’s best line? “Not from where I’m standing” to the belly dancer who has literally lost her charm. 

Best acting performance? It’s easily Christopher Lee as Francisco Scaramanga. Extra special shoutout to Herve Villechaize as the delightful Nick Nack. 

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? Being a “Peeping Bond” as he watches Anders shower and put on a robe. Also, not cool at all to slap her and twist her arm. Very un-Moore like. 

Worst line in the movie? That “Mexican screw-off” line is awful. 

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 79th time? When Bond is checking himself out on the TV screen outside the Bottom’s Up club, I swear there is a brief second of a poster of Ringo Starr! 

Best action sequence? I do enjoy the karate school stuff. 

Who or what is the title song about? It’s all about our villain and how nobody better mess with him. Totally singing his badass praises. 

Best looking cinematic moment? When Bond is arrested by Lieutenant Hip and we see Halong Bay at night.

How could the villain have succeeded? Get out of the stealing solar stuff business. Stick to what you do best: being an artist with the gun. 

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? I guess a lazy Sean Connery from Diamonds Are Forever. Like I said before, this is the least Roger Moore in any of his Bond performances. 

Does Bond ever think he might die? As arrogant as he may be, I’m pretty sure there’s a little self-doubt in Bond’s mind as to whether or not he is better than Scaramanga just before the duel. 

What would have made the movie better? Eliminate the solar “Macguffin”, make Anders the main Bond girl, expand the duel, and stop trying to make Roger Moore into Sean Connery.

What’s in a name? Bond pretends to be Francisco Scaramanga. Poorly I might add. 

What’s in a title? The Man With The Golden Gun comes from the title of Ian Fleming’s final James Bond novel. 

Drinking game: Drink a full glass of Thai wine (preferably “Phuyuck” if it existed) each time you see Bond smoking a cigar.

“WTF?!” moment: Bond about to be killed by sumo wrestlers and Nick Nack dressed up like some sort of blue devil. 

Fun fact: This is the only Bond movie where 007 says “Bond, James Bond” three times. 

Overall ranking: 23rd out of 24.

Review synopsis: As a Bond fanatic I can find some scenes to enjoy in The Man With The Golden Gun, but it’s far from being one of the best Bond films and it’s even further away from being a good movie. It has a cheap look to it, the villain and his sidekick are the only compelling characters (including 007), and there aren’t many spectacular action sequences… the kind that Bond audiences are used to.

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