Villains - Octopussy (1983)

Kamal Khan: A corrupt Afghan Prince who colludes with General Orlov to further both their ends, Kamal is an intelligent and sophisticated villain the likes of which has not been for a while in the series. He uses Octopussy's travelling circus as a means of smuggling jewellery from country to country, admittedly with her knowledge, but double crosses her by changing the jewels for a nuclear bomb when the circus visits a US Air Base in West Germany. The role of Khan is played brilliantly by Louis Jordan. His best scenes are when Bond betters him in both the auction room (by out-bidding him to an outrageous sum for the Fabergé Egg) and in the club (by cottoning-on to Kamal's technique for winning and turning the tables on the cheat). His demise is spectacular as he is sent to his death when his plane is forced to crash by Bond.

Gobinda: Kamal's main henchman is played well here by Kabir Bedi who has a lot of on-screen presence. He does everything his master commands, including fighting Bond on top of both a train and a plane, but also has a mind of his own and often takes the initiative himself to attack Bond. In another good chase, through an Indian marketplace, he has to chase Bond with a Tuk-Tuk taxi but Bond gets the upper hand as he has a 'company' Tuk-Tuk which has been given some not-so-standard Universal Export modifications.

General Orlov: Détente and Orlov are like chalk and cheese. He seizes the opportunity to cause trouble, with the assistance of Kamal Khan, buy offering the Afghan jewellery in trade for getting the nuclear bomb into West Germany. This character is only memorable due to his importance in the plot, not by the performance given by Steven Berkoff. Our first encounter with Orlov is when he addresses the Russian 'Committee' with his megalomaniac plans against NATO. He loses out to General Gogol in the battle of words as Gogol displays much more composure and honesty.

Mischka and Grischka: Identical twins, identical target - Bond. They are a knife-throwing act in Octopussy's circus but use their skill to more devastating effect when they kill 009 in East Berlin whilst trying to retreive the fake Fabergé Egg. 007 on the other hand is not overcome by these murderers as he kills both in separate confrontations; one aboard the train, the other after they have jumped off it.

Conclusion: No real crackpots or crazed perverts here, just a criminal element trying to get on with its business. There's nothing wrong (or is that right?) with that, but it's all done with a touch of stoidness. Kamal is a corrupt businessman, who is really a bit-part to Orlov's megalomania. Admittedly, Orlov is not the most clear-headed of folks, and that makes him much better for the film, but we have met more worthy candidates for the loony title. On the other hand, Mischka, Grischka and Gobinda are much better - simple yet effective.

6/10

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© Fastrac Publications June 2000. Site written and maintained by Fastrac007. Last updated 1st March 2001.