Martinis at midnight and pistols at dawn.
1) The Cold Opener: Open on a beautiful, tropical beach, to a shirtless Francisco Scaramanga (played by the wonderful Christopher Lee) and a near naked mirror-mirror universe Bond girl. Close up on Christopher Lee’s bare chest as we count not one nipple, not two nipples, but three oddly shaped man teets. Scaramanga and the nega Bond girl enjoy a sip of expensive champagne before beckoning for Nick-Nack Francisco’s butler/henchman/heir/friend (question mark), played admirably by Hervi “The Plane Boss, the Plane” Villichez. After serving his boss his morning booze, Nick-Nack consults secretly with a high priced assassin in a cheap suit, explaining that when FS shuffles off this mortal coil, he gets the mansion. Once the trap is set, Nick-Nack lures Scaramanga inside, where he avoids the assassin’s bullets amongst a bevy of fetishistic carnival play, ranging from animatronic gangsters, hypno lights, multi-mirrored walls and other assorted fun house goodies. By the end, Scaramanga reunites himself with the titular golden gun (which was sitting on a pedestal in the middle of the room the whole time), uses the impractical one bullet shot the gun fires to put a deadly whole in the cheap suit, reloads and spins around just in time to shoot a Madame Tousaud quality wax figure of 007 himself. It’s exciting, trippy and a lot of fun, which is why I’m lighting a full five cigars, not even deducting any for being tricked into seeing Christopher Lee shirtless.
One, two, three. Seems right… WHAAAAAAT?
2) The Opening Credits/Bond Song: This is a really hard section to rate for this flick because it’s where it will lose most of its cigars. Whereas the movie is fast-paced and fun, the opening itself will only score two dank cigars whose express purpose are to be gutted by teenagers and filled with danker weed. To start with, the song (performed by Lulu of “To Sir with Love” fame) is a fast-paced go-go pop song with lyrics more on-the-nose than the ones I wrote drunk for On Her Majesties Secret Service.(He’s got a powerful weapon, he charges a million a shot, an assassin second to none, the man with the golden gun). Pair that dreadful piece of noise with an opening so boring I had to watch it three times on Youtube in a row and still couldn’t remember anything about it. According to my notes, though, there are watery images of guns and women that seem to be out of sync with the song’s tempo. This is easy the worst credit sequence and song thus far in my exploration of MI6, and it really should have only gotten one cigar, but I couldn’t, with a good conscience, run the risk of this movie scoring lower than Live and Let Die.
Will the real third nipple, please stand up.
3) The Villain: This is a real no brainer and, of course, will be getting a full five freshly rolled Cubanos right off the bat. Christopher Lee as the titular man with the golden gun, himself, Francisco Scaramanga, an assassin who hunts for the thrill and charges for the business, using a gun with a one bullet capacity to prove that he never misses his target. Living his life in the comfort of wealth and the shadow of complete anonymity, the Man with the Golden Gun is a man you don’t want to learn your name (you see how it’s done, Lulu? A little class. Not so obvious. Maybe slow down the tempo of the music). Scaramanga is everything you could want in a Bond villain, tapping into the delicate relationship in literary archetypes of the hero and the shadow. He’s the Sarumon to 007’s Gandalf, the Count Duku to Bond’s Obi-Won, the Nega Duck to James’ Darkwing Duck. He’s the man Bond could have easily grown into without MI6, Queen, and Country to guide him.
“I had a bigger Twitter following in 1977 than this site will ever have; don’t tell me how to write a damned pop song.”
4) The Plot: Bond is sent a message that implicates Francisco Scaramanga (the Man with Golden gun, Bond points out, abusing my good graces on using the title as dialogue), has been paid to put a hit out on 007. After being strong-armed by M off his current case, concerning the disappearance of some energy conservation scientist, Bond takes one of his famous work leaves for revenge and attempts to track down the elusive assassin. Having only a name, and the location of his last hit to go on, 007 travels to a strip club in Beirut to warm up the cold case of who killed 006. After meeting the dancer who was with 006 on his last day on Earth, Bond proceeds to literally charm her clothes off in an attempt to obtain her lucky charm: the golden bullet collected from the dead agent’s body. After a few near swipes, amidst a goon fight, Bond swallows the charm and rushes to the local CVS for some laxatives (yup, not kidding). Once he collects his evidence, Bond threatens a weapons maker with a bullet to the crotch and gets the vital info he needed: the location of Scaramanga’s paramour. After shaking the paramour down for information, with his penis, Bond meets up with his ditzy assistant Goodnight; a character who single-handedly reverses at least a decade of woman’s liberation. After promising to, but not sleeping with her, Bond goes back on the golden gun trail only to find out that he was never a target to begin with (what!?) and Scaramanga’s real target was the missing scientist from Bond’s last mission (what a twist). With the weird energy conservation sub-plot reinserted to the film, Bond continues hunting Scaramanga, tapes a fake third nipple to his chest to pass as him, fights a bunch of ninjas, gets Goodnight kidnapped and eventually winds up on Golden Gun Aisle to watch Scaramanga show off the literal laser death ray he’s built with the scientist’s piece of technology. Francisco challenges Bond to an ultimate gentlemen’s duel: pistols at dawn, and Bond puts an end to Scaramanga’s cribbing from Diamonds are Forever with one shot from his Walter PPK. Finally alone on a literal slow boat to China, Bond and Goodnight start making it a very goodnight, only to have the mood spoiled by the ankle biting Nick-Nack (that’s not a slur at little people, he bites Bond’a ankle). After making short work (pun intended) of the henchmen, Bond gets back to his favorite past time: sex on a boat in the ocean.
“The boat, boss, the boat. Just give Bond a few minutes to finish up.”
5) Rapey Meter: Again, we have a tough category to call: whereas Bond doesn’t outright force himself on anyone, Goodnight is so slow in the movie that having sex with her would be tantamount to seducing the mentally disabled. Also, Scaramanga pulls a Diamonds are Forever Bloefeld and has Goodnight walking around his evil lair, after kidnapping her, in a skimpy bikini. Only it’s worse because I have no doubt Scaramanga showed Goodnight the titular golden gun was really his penis, and again, she has the mind of a six-year-old. On this alone I’d light no more than two cigars, but because Bond fights alongside two fetishized, teenaged kung-fu Asian school girls with nary a sexual look, I’ll add a third.
“I was promised pudding and help learning the alphabet.”
6) Wild Card: Hashtag honesty time: I loved this movie and was going to give it a full array of five cigars in this category, but I must, in good conscience, deduct two cigars for the appearance of nobody’s favorite racist southern cop from Live and Let Die: J.W. Pepper. That’s right, the rootin’ tootin’ sheriff who chased 007 down in the last movie is coincidentally vacationing in Thailand, where Bond is on his mission and, even more coincidentally, he is driving the car Bond commandeers to save Goodnight. Remembering Bond as “that British agent from the last movie,” he becomes James’ sidekick for a bit, using his obnoxious American bluster to get himself arrested (and hopefully murdered). I will, however, restore one of those cigars because right before this, Bond is a dick to a child by promising him money if he helps him, then pushes him in the water instead, after the kid legit helps him.
For just 007 cents a day you can sponser one of James Bond’s illegitimate children.
7) All in all, the second outing of Roger Moore gets a solid four cigars, because despite its problems it is one of the most fun Bond movies in the series so far. And as M puts it best “So if I understand it, Scaramanga got away – in a car that sprouted wings?”
The man with the golden gun, or the man with the impractical car?