Starring; Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Richard Kiel
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Running Time: 125 mins
The Spy Who Loved Me is a British film and the tenth in the James Bond series. After being paired with a Soviet woman whose lover he once killed, Bond uncovers a madman’s plot to start nuclear armageddon by hijacking Soviet and British submarines carrying nuclear warheads and storing them for his own use.
This may seem a bit like some of the zanier, more enjoyable Bond films from the Sean Connery era, but for some reason, The Spy Who Loved Me is really lacking in entertainment, characters, action and a decent story. Yes, it has its moments, and at those points it’s hard to look away, but for the most part, this is a pretty generic affair that just isn’t so captivating.
Let’s start with the man at the centre of all this, Roger Moore. Now, in his first outing, Live And Let Die, he brought another impressive take on 007 to the franchise, however by this, his third film, that character has just got a little tiring. Connery, throughout all six of his films, was always a delight to see on screen, because the way he played Bond was just so exciting; he made him a classy, witty and clever maverick who still wasn’t perfect, and that always made it a fascinating watch.
However, Moore’s approach just feels too formulaic. Sure, it is a good bit of fun from time to time, and he pulls off the classy element of Bond very well, but in truth, the puns are just frustrating, he’s definitely not funny enough in this film, and he just seems too nice for everything that’s going on, rather than a clearly grizzled and experienced secret agent like Sean Connery.
Anyway, moving on from that, there are bigger problems with this film than Roger Moore. Mainly, the story is simply pretty terrible. Following the Bond formula as closely as possible, this almost feels like the point where it begins to flounder. It’s still great to see crazed megalomaniacs attempt to take over the world in the most convoluted way possible, but there really is nothing new here at all. Nothing new to get you excited, and definitely nothing unpredictable enough to make a properly thrilling action story.
There is some action throughout, however. In general, it’s not stunning, but it does inject some energy into an otherwise lacklustre and sluggish plot, particularly in one famous chase sequence, by far the most captivating part of the entire movie, that reminds you of how good Bond can be, but most of the time, this isn’t that.
Finally, the characters here are very poor. We’ve already looked at Bond himself, but the supporting players are pretty dull too. With the exception of the terrifying henchman Jaws, the villain in this film, Karl Stromberg, is a pale imitation of the greatest Blofelds of the 1960s, whilst the Bond girl, Anya, despite being given a fascinating and potentially game-changing back story right at the beginning of the film, has all the intrigue written out in exchange for a typically forced romance with Bond, a huge disappointment.
Overall, I’ll give The Spy Who Loved Me a 6.8, because despite one or two moments where it shines, this is on the whole a very disappointing, slow and unexciting edition of the Bond series.