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Live and Let Die

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Live and Let Die

Starring: Roger Moore, Yaphet Kotto
Director: Guy Hamilton
Rated: PG
RunTime: 121 Minutes
Release Date: June 1973
Genres: 007, Action, Suspense

*Also starring: Jane Seymour, Clifton James, Geoffrey Holder, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell

Review by Andrew Hicks
3 stars out of 4

As far as the obligatory James Bond theme song goes, the one here, by Paul McCartney and Wings (not the dreaded four-times-a- day-on-USA sitcom), is by far the best. (Don't tell me those Swedish meatballs a-ha even come close with "The Living Daylights.") Also, LIVE AND LET DIE brags the accomplishment of having more black people than the other seventeen Bond movies combined.

It's kind of sad, actually, to have to hear James Bond being referred to as "honkey" and "cue ball" while in Harlem. (You wouldn't think a white guy would get that kind of treatment in Harlem, but oh how the times have changed.) This dramatic shift in focus is most likely the result of Louis Farrakhan replacing David Duke as executive producer of the Bond series.

That's not the only replacement we see in LIVE AND LET DIE. Roger Moore replaces Sean Connery as 007, beginning a seven- movie run extending through 1985's A VIEW TO A KILL. Moore, naturally, doesn't completely capture the smooth, debonair feel Connery put forth in his six outings as the secret agent, but he does assume the role surprisingly well. He'd almost be on the same level as Connery if not for the fact that he reminds me so much of Adam West, TV's Batman. Or is it just my imagination running away with me?

The plot mixes the typical drug lord scenario with voodoo, shifting from Harlem to San Monique to New Orleans in pursuit of Mr. Big. Solitaire, Bond's third girl of the movie, is a Tarot card reader. Bond stacks a deck of cards with "The Lovers" in an attempt to poke her. (Get it? Cards. Poker.) He takes her virginity away, which in turn takes away her magical ability to read the future. (She should have seen it coming, I say.) So was it worth it, Mr. Bond? Huh? Just so she could be your 863rd conquest?

LIVE AND LET DIE is entertaining in two ways. First, it works as a straight action movie almost the entire time. The only lapse is an overlong boat chase in which bumbling redneck Sheriff Pepper (whose brother is a Sergeant) is introduced as some kind of comic relief, trying to capture Bond and his pursuers. Second, LIVE AND LET DIE is more dated than most other Bond movies, especially with its introduction of jive talkin', bushy-sideburned blaxploitation villains, giving it an unintended camp hilarity.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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