A step in the right direction for the series
3 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
After making his debut in Live and Let Die, Roger Moore returns for his second outing. For lack of a better term, this film is simply light years ahead of it's two predecessors and then some. However, the film doesn't quite cross into that classic Bond territory that we all know and love. Lastly, the film is also Saltzman's last Bond film to be attached as producer before selling his share to United Artists.

The film is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, the film has the best casting ever with Christopher Lee as Scaramanga and secondly, the whole cat and mouse idea between him and Bond, eventually leading to a duel between the two. The trouble is that the film adds a Solex Agitor plot in addition to the assassin vs. assassin plot and both are too loosely connected. The film would have been better without the Solex Agitor plot and played out like the novel - the cat and mouse game between Bond and Scaramanga. Furthermore, the Bond girl Brit Ekland is wasted by saying or doing stupid things and really fitting the bill of the bimbo Bond girl.

Roger Moore's performance in this film is one of his better ones, second only to For Your Eyes Only. Furthermore, he is more believable as Bond since he is more ruthless and human-like in this film, unlike some of his other Bond films (not his fault really, his scripts often had him as a wise-cracking, superhero-type agent). Plus the script has him use harsher methods of achieving his objectives, namely smacking Maud Adams around and getting information at gun point. Lastly, he still looks youthful at this point, before his age caught up with him and losing any credibility in the role due to staying longer than he should have.

Lee's Scaramanga is one of the better villains, if for casting alone. However, the trouble is the way the character is written; at the start of the film we learn that Bond is his next target but as the film goes on, he turns into something of a anti-villain. For example, when he and Bond meet, he says something along the lines of "I've got nothing against you" so therefore taking away the whole point of the story. However, it isn't all bad though, I found the Scaramanga of the film an improvement over the Scaramanga of the novel. In the novel, he's merely a gangster with a lucky shot.

Simply put, The Man with the Golden Gun is the bridge between two horrible films and Moore's most definitive Bond film.
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