The credits roll and Lulu belts out, "He's got a powerful weapon. He charges a million a shot." Yes, we're back in familiar territory with Roger Moore's second foray as James Bond. There's no shortage of innuendo, action, exotic locations, or casual misogyny. Unfortunately it's too camp and cruel an adventure to raise more than a Moore-like eyebrow.
When Bond receives a golden bullet inscribed with 007, he's distracted from his mission to recover the secret of cheap and efficient solar energy. Instead he decides to hunt down Francisco Scaramanga, the infamous 'Man with the Golden Gun' whose assassinations cost $1,000,000 each. But as Bond gets closer to their final confrontation, it becomes clear that Scaramanga may have his own master plan.
The film contains occasionally impressive action sequences, including the infamous stunt where a car corkscrews in mid-air across a river. However, these sequences are undercut by an excess of inappropriate comedy, including karate-trained schoolgirls, and the return of the appalling Sheriff JW Pepper. And when this is combined with the pop art sets of Scaramanga's island home and the British base in Kowloon, you might as well be watching the 60s Batman TV series.
But it's in its casual cruelty that the film really comes unstuck. Moore's Bond is grotesque rather than cool, and treats the female characters with even more derision, revulsion, and violence than we've come to expect - even the ones who aren't dressed in thongs at the Bottoms Up club.
An ugly, cold-hearted, and occasionally ridiculous film which is plausibly the worst of the franchise.
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