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Live and Let Die (1973)

Budget: $7 million. Opening dates: UK July 6, 1973; US June 27, 1973
Worldwide Box Office $126.4 million
Originally Written
Monday, July 24, 2006

Bond returns for a new adventure with a new lead, neither of which are nearly as impressive as the past missions, or the great Sean Connery and dare I even say not even as good as George Lazenby! Roger Moore makes his first of seven appearances as the famed British secret service agent, bringing to the role a little different presence than the previous 00 agents.

Someone has been killing British agents in New York, the Caribbean and New Orleans, and Bond is sent into investigate the matter. First he travels to New York where he is scheduled to meet with CIA agent Felix, who is certain they have a lead on the man behind the murders. His name is Dr. Kananga and the CIA has been tailing him for sometime. Upon arriving in New York, an immediate attempt is made on Bond's life he is soon captured and introduced to the drug lord known as Mr. Big, and Kananga's fortune teller Solitaire.

After escaping the clutches of Mr. Big, Bond travels to the Caribbean in hopes of finding some connection between the murders of the agents. Through his investigation Bond discovers Mr. Big and Dr. Kananga might somehow be related, with the possibility that Big is working for Kananga. In the Caribbean, Bond attempts the rescue of Solitaire, the tarot card reader, whom Kananga looks to for guidance. But, things only begin to get worse when Solitaire loses her powers to read the cards after making love to Bond. Now that she is worthless to Kananga she will surely be killed. In their haste to escape the island, Bond discovers the plot behind Kananga's madness; he's using Voodoo to keep trespassers away from his vast growth of poppies.

Kananga's plan is to use the poppies to make heroin and flood the American market with free drugs, putting all the other dealers out of business and giving him a monopoly in the drug market. Bond must out wit Kananga's band of thugs, survive in the streets of Harlem, New Orleans and the Voodoo magic of the Caribbean, in order to stop Kananga's plan, and rescue the beautiful Solitaire!

Once again the introduction of a new Bond leaves much to be desired and maybe even more so the second time around. While the overall feel of the film is a lot more in tune with previous Bond films, compared to On Her Majesty's Secret Service and George Lazenby's short stance, Live and Let Die doesn't give Roger Moore very good of an entrance. Aside from the fact that the title song is completely wrong for a Bond film, Live and Let Die kills itself by being a complete mess and the corniest in the franchise thus far.

The main problem is the setting, they tired to turn this into Bond goes to Harlem, or a Bond version of Foxy Brown, where everyone says "Can You Dig It!" with their afros and bell bottoms. Of course this film is a sign of the times but it only ends up being another corny 70's film which feels more like a Starsky and Hutch episode than a Bond action flick.

Things only get cornier when Bond goes to New Orleans and the Caribbean, and Voodoo is thrown into the mix, I'm not sure if they were attempting to make the film appear darker by doing this, but it ends up only becoming stupid. Additionally, the character's are so unbelievably bad, I began to feel like I was watching one of my Euro-spy films. Sure at times some the of the characters are funny, like the idiot sheriff during the speed boat chase, but they were funny because they were so incredibly awful.

Overall, its not a great start for Roger Moore, he's a descent Bond and gives an okay performance but the story and supporting cast are so poorly written that I believe it would have still been horrible even if Sean Connery had been in the lead. So while Live and Let Die has a few glimmers, it's still for the most part a total blackout and the worst Bond film yet.


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