Super spy or billionaire, McDonald’s or Microsoft– it all boils down to a tiny computer chip. Only here – and this is 1985 – the chip is capable of withstanding a nuclear electromagnetic pulse. Hence, it is of interest to the British Secret Service and a host of dangerous others. Intrigued, James Bond (a staid yet nonetheless charming Roger Moore, in his last appearance as agent 007) is off to investigate the millionaire industrialist responsible for such an amazing breakthrough.
Max Zorin (the brilliantly evil Christopher Walken) holds the entire all-too-real story together. And while his business acumen plays second fiddle to his murderous zeal, he is totally irresistible onscreen. The lessons are far-from subtle: We’re told of World War II experiments with – talk about ripped-from-the headlines – steroids. The result of these tests: a rare species of human genius with a substantial helping of psychotic. And nobody plays smiling, smooth psychopath better than Walken.
While hidden from the world and holed up in a magnificent French chateau, a bewitching Zorin, too, experiments with steroids; only he prefers microchips in racehorses – providing quite a handsome, if not illegal, profit.
Zorin’s lover/sidekick takes the frightening form of May Day (the ultra- sinewy and spookily-garbed Grace Jones), a lean, fighting machine who manages to appear at-once beautiful and menacing. Used as both a companion and bodyguard, she also seems a tad vulnerable, eerily quiet, and lucky for her, alluring and sympathetic — at least, to James Bond.
Learning of Zorin’s microchip hoarding, Bond teams with the glamorous yet bamboozled geologist, Stacey Sutton (a delightful, doe-like Tanya Roberts), whose rebellious vigor increases after realizing Zorin’s intentions: flood Silicon Valley, and end their “domination of the market,” so the value of his chips increases. Alas, killing millions with the earthquake his explosions would cause is apparently of no consequence.
With a (shortened) title from an Ian Fleming short story, and a plot similar to that of the also American-set “Goldfinger,” ‘View’ is not the first to make computers/chips central, but is unique in that it offer more chases than any other Bond film thus far: Rolls Royce, fire truck, horseback, and snowboard, in spectacular locations like the Golden Gate Bridge, and the breathtaking pièce de resistance – along the innards of the Eiffel Tower. Some things, however, remain constant: Bond is still the untamed womanizer, offering such cheesy declarations as “I love an early morning ride.” Yes, there were horses nearby.
Even more captivating than charm or the advanced computer technology: Duran Duran’s wonderful theme song. Equally timeless: As a Russian spy and Bond conquest, the gorgeous and dour Fiona Fullerton reminds us: “Détente can be beautiful.”
by Caren Ostrow
Next up in the ‘James Bond Originals’ series at The Colony: “The Living Daylights.”
Roger Moore – James Bond
Christopher Walken – Max Zorin
Tanya Roberts – Stacey Sutton
Grace Jones – May Day
Directed by: John Glen