Mysterious industrialist Max Zorin may be selling British microchip design to the Russians. When James Bond is sent to investigate, he discover Zorin is not only stockpiling chips, he is also drilling dangerously close to the San Andreas Fault in California.
The last hurrah for Roger Moore as 007, and that nagging sense that retirement was long overdue is transformed into blatant evidence. No matter how hard they try the difference between a podgy 58 year-old Moore and his stunt stand-ins was clear as day, and the love scenes with beaming but bland blonde Tanya Roberts is really quite yucky. The jib was up, he’d paid his dues, but this creaking Bond adventure is beyond redemption.
The plot is a failed attempt to rewire Goldfinger’s global market meltdown strategy for the microchip business — relevant, perhaps, at the time but, frankly, boring in concept. Christopher Walken sleepwalks his way through playing smarmy Nazi geneticist Zorin, where you would think he would have a ball hamming it up as a Bond villain. Indeed, it is a rare moment when Grace Jones makes the biggest impression as an Amazonian (naturally) henchman called May Day. She gets to parachute off the Eiffel Tower, that’s cool.
Director John Glen, with master stunt co-ordinator Vic Armstrong, strain every sinew to make the action exciting with fire-engine chase sequences in San Francisco and a grand finale on the Golden Gate Bridge, but no amount of smoke and mirrors can enable us to believe that Roger the Codger is really doing his bit for Queen and country. Although, you have to admit, Duran Duran wrote a cracking theme song.
Roger Moore's last Bond and not before time. You know you're in trouble when Grace Jones is the most memorable thing in your movie.