“Mr. Bond is indeed of a very rare breed… soon to be made extinct.”
Octopussy is an odd one. It’s partly serious, with the USSR side of things, and at the same time it’s absurd with 007 dressing up as a clown. But I can’t help but love it. I was actually surprised to find that this is one of the lesser loved Bond films, it was one of the ones I’d watch regularly when I was younger. It’s not the best Roger Moore adventure, but it’s still pretty great.
Roger Moore himself is looking old in Octopussy, he’s in his mid-fifties here. It’s not quite as obvious as it becomes in A View To A Kill, but his age is still showing. But apart from that he does a good job being Bond like he always has, I really enjoy Roger Moore as 007. The Bond girl here is the titular Octopussy, played by returning Bond girl Maud Adams (Andrea from The Man with the Golden Gun). She’s pretty great, is a bit odd. Her thing is that she’s a professional smuggler turned business woman. Her business is the circus, and she trains other woman in the art of the..er..circus? These trained gymnasts come in handy in an action scene towards the end. The villain of Octopussy is Kamal Khan, a suave exiled Afghan prince played by Louis Jourdan. I never see anyone mention him when talking about the best Bond villians, but I really like him and he has some great villain lines. Another villain is the sinister General Orlov played by Steven Berkoff. He is a hardline communist General and is just so fun to watch. He’s so flamboyant, and Berkoff gives it so much gusto that he sort of seems out-of-place.
The awesome set piece of this movie to me is the train sequence towards the end of the film. This scene is set in Berlin and involves Bond chasing down the circus train to disarm an atomic bomb. The scene goes from Bond on foot, to a car, to him putting the cars wheels onto the train track, to him jumping on the train, then falling off whilst fighting a knife throwing twin, then stealing another car, then dressing up as a clown to infiltrate the circus and finally disarming the bomb. It’s a brilliant sequence, and is sometimes a little surreal. I just can’t figure out what the film-makers were thinking. But whatever it was, it sort of works. I mean, a lot of people dislike these sort of scenes in the Bond films but the dramatic music, combined with the clown makeup along with Bond defusing the bomb, it just…sort of works. I guess you have to watch it.
Another cool scene is the pre-credits sequence in which 007 flies a small jet plane through a hangar is BRILLIANT and is even more impressive when you realise how they did it using tricks and miniatures. The assault on Khan’s Indian palace/stronghold is great if you can get over the fact that the all female group is helping 007 get in with the use of circus acts. It’s a bit weird, but fun to watch. There’s also a scene in that sequence in which Bond slides down a bannister firing a machine gun at the baddies. This scene got a cheer out of us when we watched it, and it makes you forget how old Roger Moore really is.
Octopussy is a stranger film than I remember. Some parts are just downright surreal, like Bond telling a snake to “hiss off”. But it never takes itself too seriously and the action scenes stay as over the top and impressive as people have come to expect from Bond. The villains are great and India makes a brilliant setting for Bond. The majority of quips hit the mark, but it’s difficult to not notice some of the worse ones. Still, it’s a fun movie from the early 80’s, and I wouldn’t change any of it.
Up next – A View To A Kill
Reviewed by Jack 😛