After Drax Industries' Moonraker space shuttle is hijacked, secret agent James Bond is assigned to investigate, traveling to California to meet the company's owner, the mysterious Hugo Drax. With the help of scientist Dr. Holly Goodhead, Bond soon uncovers Drax's nefarious plans for humanity, all the while fending off an old nemesis, Jaws, and venturing to Venice, Rio, the Amazon...and even outer space.
"Moonraker" is not usually rated very highly in the catalogue on Bond movies, which I disagree with. It was directed by Lewis Gilbert who was given a huge budget & shot the movie at some glamorous locations around the world including Venice, Florida & Rio De Janeiro. Scenes were also shot at the Iguazu Waterfalls in Argentina & at the Château De Guermantes which is a large & very beautiful mansion in France. The actors who took part in this movie must have felt it was all a really fabulous kind of working holiday!. The premier Bond girl in this escapade is the gorgeous Lois Chiles playing Holly Goodhead, but there is the usual array of scores of other beautiful ladies. The first beauty with whom 007 has a dalliance is played by Corinne Clery who works as a helicopter pilot for the movie's main villain Drax played by Michael Lonsdale. Mr. Lonsdale is an excellent actor who plays Drax as a very intelligent, suave, sophisticated & worldly man. He is also extremely rich, the french château being one of his homes. Miss Clery comes to a very nasty sticky end when she displeases her boss who decides to "terminate her employment". This Drax does by setting his two pet Doberman dogs on her who chase her down through a forest after she runs for her life. The movie's obligatory nasty henchman is Jaws played by the giant Richard Kiel who was also used in another Roger Moore Bond movie "The Spy Who Loved Me". One of the most exciting scenes in the movie is a fight which takes place between James Bond & Jaws on the cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain high above Rio De Janeiro. Very unusually in any Bond movie, the nasty Jaws is given a love interest Dolly played by pig-tailed Blanche Ravalec. There are some very comical scenes between the two of them & in fact the entire movie is made with its tongue firmly in its cheek!. The movie's finale is set in space which is also fun to watch. All in all, this is an entertaining Bond movie as long as you don't take it too seriously.
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This movie,while not bad,definitely isn't one of the best,though it is better than other entries of this franchise in the 70s(Diamonds are Forever,and The Man With the Golden Gun).But before the negatives,the positives,I like how it jumps right into the story,Bond gets a mission,and investigates it immediately.The score is great,and so is the cinematography.The locations are fantastic and exotic.Roger Moore does a good job,he is very confident and seems to be enjoying himself,and in an unexpected twist,when Bond is in danger,he actually seems scared.The action is very good,with great choreography and variety,everything from boat chases to hand to hand combat.The Bond girl is decent,I like how it takes nearly the whole movie for her to actually fall in love with Bond.The villain,while monotone,is menacing and does more than the similar Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me.Now,the bad,some acting is a bit wooden,the pacing is pretty bad,varying from too fast to too slow.Some action scenes end too fast,just to have a cheap joke.That's the biggest problem,most of the jokes are very cheap and slapsticky.Moonraker is very fun,with great action and a villain,but it is weighed down by the cheap humor.
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Despite the uneven storyline, the weak attempts at innuendo, and a distinctive recycling of the action sequences (mainly the chases), there is still plenty to be enjoyed in the much-maligned MOONRAKER, Roger Moore's fourth outing as Bond and the first to incorporate a distinctly science fiction approach to the proceedings in the wake of the success of STAR WARS, although this only becomes apparent in the last thirty minutes of the movie. The first part consists of the action-packed globe-trotting antics that we expect from the series, with locations including Italy, California, and Rio de Janeiro. Despite an emphasis on open comedy and absurdity this time around instead of the more serious thriller aspects of previous instalments, the formula still works, thanks to winning performances and plenty of excitement.Action this time around includes a speedboat chase through the canals of Venice, an exciting battle with an assassin in a glass museum, and of course the large-scale outer space war which culminates the movie, including a cool moment involving a laser shoot-out between two armies of floating space men which wins points for imagination if not realism. Roger Moore is once again on top form as Bond, playing it less seriously than ever and enjoying himself in the part immensely. Lois Chiles, however, is not one of the best leading ladies, but she has a likable personality that comes across well and which stops her from being the worst. Michael Lonsdale excels as the arrogant villain Hugo Drax, Corrine Clery is seductive as an unlucky ally, and Richard Kiel is the best thing in the movie as the character of his assassin Jaws is more fully explored than in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME. As I said, this isn't the greatest, but you can do a lot worse (try watching any of the Brosnans again for instance) and the sense of fun about the production makes it impossible to dislike.