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You Only Live Twice

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: You Only Live Twice

Starring: Sean Connery, Mie Hama
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Rated: PG
RunTime: 120 Minutes
Release Date: June 1967
Genres: 007, Action, Suspense

*Also starring: Akiko Wakabayashi, Tetsuro Tamba, Karin Dor, Charles Gray, Donald Pleasence, Tsai Chin, Lois Maxwell, Desmond Llewelyn

Review by Andrew Hicks
2 stars out of 4

The James Bond films starring Sean Connery are usually among the best of the entire seventeen-film series, but this one is an embarrassment to the 007 legend, if such a thing is possible. It doesn't just border on self-parody, it dives headfirst into it, with stronger than usual doses of objectification of women and ethnic stereotype. Just when I thought the series was making strides for tolerance (I actually saw a black guy in THUNDERBALL, or was it just my imagination?), we get lines like, "In Japan, men come first, women come second," to which Bond replies, "I think I'll retire here." Of course, five seconds later he's being massaged by a bikini-clad Japanese concubine and five minutes later he's getting laid by one of the same. ("The things I do for Mother England.")

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (Whew, what a relief. I get to live twice. Here I thought maybe I should stop lying on my ass all day watching movies. Now I've seen the light.) is set entirely in Japan, with Bond teaming up with a Japanese agent named Tiger. SPECTRE's Blofeld is planning to get America and the Soviet Union to declare war on each other by sabotaging their space missions. Blofeld is played by Donald Pleasence, who was also record exec B.D. in The Bee Gees' 1978 suck-fest SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND (of course, given The Bee Gees' reputation for tight pants and promiscuity, it's better not to ask what B.D. stands for. Big Something is my guess...) and Dr. "Pure Evil" Loomis in HALLOWEEN 1-2 and 4-6. In YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE we don't even see Pleasence's face until the traditional Bond-Is-Trapped-In- The-Villain's-Underground-Hideout-And-The-Villain-Spills-The- Entire-Plan-To-Bond-Thinking-There's-No-Chance-He-Can-Escape- The-Second-Before-Bond-Lights-Up-His-Cigarette-Gun scene at the end of the movie.

Everything that worked in the other Bond movies is laughable in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE. The fistfights, death traps and inventions are all less creative and more ridiculous than usual. Even the dialogue with lusty secretary Moneypenny, which is witty and clever in the other movies, falls short here. (MONEYPENNY: Bond, the password chosen for this mission is "I love you." Say it back to me so I can be sure you've gotten it.) Bond is still God's gift to women, or should I say women are God's gift to him, but seeing him lay three different beauties in every movie is starting to make me sick.

What cracked me up in the first few movies I watched was that even the women who hated Bond and were out to kill him still ended up in the sack with him, not to mention all the women he just met who stopped everything to get horizontal with him. When you calculate three woman a movie times seventeen movies and figure in the statistic that 25% of people in the world carry some sort of venereal disease, Bond should have more than enough to mix, match and trade with his friends. And just think of how many illegitimate 003 1/2's he's probably fathered around the world. That's a hell of a lot in child support.

If you don't have a sense of humor (and why would you be reading this post if you didn't?), you'll most likely think YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE is stupid. If you do have a sense of humor, you'll most likely think YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE is stupid, too, but at least you'll be able to laugh at the unintended campiness. And if you're the type who makes constant jokes while watching bad movies with your friends and family ("You mean with this Friends and Family program I can just sit on my toucass and save on long distance?" Sorry, I've seen that commercial way too much--and have since put out a hit on Whoopi Goldberg as a result.), like an amateur version of "Mystery Science Theater 3000," you'll probably actually enjoy watching this movie.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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