James Bond - For Your Eyes Only (1981)
After the high-tech gadgetry of Moonraker Bond, as they say, came a little more down-to-earth for this film. Not only was he on a more mundane mission directly against the old enemy, Mother Russia, but also he was stripped of his means of getaway (his motorised arsenal) before he even got chance to use it (the Lotus Esprit being blown away). The pre-titles sequence gives you an indication fo the change from old, oddly enough, with Bond returning to his wide's grave - an obvious link with On Her Majesty's Secret Service and the first mention of his wife since Anya Amasova brings the subject up in The Spy Who Loved Me.
Unlike the previous film, Bond becomes a lot more active in For Your Eyes Only. He has to dive to the bottom of the sea, climb to the top of a cliff (being hindered along the way) and run up many flights of stairs to catch Locque. The bloat of previous films is being worked of here.
Besides the more active Bond here, he gets more emotional. The deaths of Ferrara and, more so, of Lisl at the hands of Locque ensure that the assassin gets an untimely demise. In a keynote scene Roger Moore, who is very, very wary, pushes his Bond to the limits by kicking Locque, inside his Mercedes, off the edge of a cliff - and to his death. Bond just got tougher - a theme that would last in this, and Dalton's incarnation, to the end of the decade.
This is perhaps Roger's best performance as James Bond. It is not the best film of his seven, but the perfomance put in here, doubtless to counter the critisism of Moonraker, is on a new level for the Englishman.
Conclusion: An antithesis to Moonraker and into a more hard-edged Bond for the Eighties, For Your Eyes Only serves to return the character of James Bond to the kind of work he is really employed to do - detecting and spying. The elimination of the Lotus perhaps more than most typifies the new way - a way which would drag Bond from the kind of decadence and change of the Seventies' films and into a new, more realistic future.
© Fastrac Publications June 2000. Site written and maintained by Fastrac007. Last updated 2nd March 2001.