For many "Moonraker" is the worst Bond film, not least because the adventure culminates in a massive laser battle above the planet. Besides this farther-than-far-fetched effort to capitalise on the late 70s taste for SF, such inanities as Bond driving round St Mark's Square in a gondola-turned-hovercraft don't help much either. Frivolous, yes, but never dull.
Opening with an enjoyable freefall skirmish, "Moonraker" crams in as many stunts, gadgets, and exotic locations as possible. Even before setting foot in space, much is made of its Venice, Rio, and rainforest set-pieces. At times it's more comedy than action adventure, with Drax's efforts to have Bond killed providing most of the gags.
Michael Lonsdale is aloof megalomaniac of the moment, Hugo Drax. When he nicks a space shuttle as part of his plan to wipe out the Earth's population, the British Government obligingly sends 007 to investigate. Along the way he meets Corinne Dufour (Clery), later eaten by dogs in an unexpectedly dark moment, and NASA scientist and CIA agent, Dr Holly Goodhead. Needless to say, Bond has his wicked way with both of them.
As stiff as an old-school politician, Moore has tremendous fun. His pantomime approach to the role hardly damaged a franchise as lucrative in 1979 as it is today. Trying to see him off are Chang, whose martial arts are more akin to a drunken brawl in these days of wire-assisted fights, and an equally awkward-looking Richard Kiel who returns as a smitten Jaws.
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