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4.0 out of 5 stars Most underrated Bond film ever?, 27 Oct 2013
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This review is from: James Bond - The Man With The Golden Gun (Ultimate Edition 2 Disc Set) [DVD] [1974] (DVD)
I'll start by making one thing clear: this definitely still isn't the best Bond film, but after all the negative things I've read about it from critics and Bond fans alike, I was quite surprised at how great I thought it was when I finally watched it.

The first thing about this film that sets it apart from most of the others, or to begin with at least, is how unconventional the plot is for a Bond film; after the usual pre-credits sequence, the story begins with 007 being called into M's office with a warning that he has been targeted by the notorious assassin, the titular 'Man with the Golden Gun', aka Francisco Scaramanga. Realising that the only thing that can give him the advantage over such a renowned killer is to "find him first", Bond sets out to track down the assassin before said assassin can get the drop on him.

Many of the scenarios in this film are some of the most hilariously over-the-top of the lot, such as a fight scene in a karate school and a car chase culminating in the villain's vehicle donning wings and flying off into the horizon, but this is one of few Bond films where the story actually had me gripped. This is largely due to Christopher Lee's performance as Scaramanga, who comes across as a sort of 'anti-Bond' in his blend between sophistication and outright ruthlessness, making him a genuinely chilling antagonist.

The only real negative is the film's 'Bond girl', Mary Goodnight. Though she doesn't really show up until a fair way through the film, once she eventually does she quickly establishes herself as one of the worst Bond girls of the lot. While she came across as an attempt by the producers to create a more 'sympathetic' female lead who the audience actually felt for, she ended up being more of an annoyance than anything else, as well as being pretty much the perfect archetype for a "hopeless female sidekick".
Another much-complained-about sequence in the film is the infamous corkscrew stunt, which many fans claim was ruined by the unnecessarily slapstick sound effects, but I wasn't too bothered - the stunt would have been better without the effects for sure, but it's nowhere near as bad as everybody seems to make out.
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