1983 Running time: 126 Certificate: pg Rating: 3

Synopsis

Due to Sean Connery's unofficial Bond Never Say Never Again being released the same year, the 55 year old Roger Moore was lured back to play the spy once again for a tale of nuclear disarmament, disgruntled war-mongering Soviet generals, smuggled Faberge eggs, and Maud Adams making her second Bond appearance, after 1974's The Man With the Golden Gun, as the titular Bond girl. The tension and grit director Glen brought to For Your Eyes Only is largely absent, but despite its reputation Bond 13 might prove lucky for some.

Director

  • John Glen

Cast

  • Roger Moore

  • Maud Adams

  • Louis Jourdan

  • Steven Berkoff

  • Kabir Bedi

  • Kristina Wayborn

Review

Octopussy could have been Timothy Dalton's Bond debut, the actor being eyed up for the role (along with James Brolin) if Moore called it a day. But, Sir Roger renewed his license to kill, and Octopussy beat Never Say Never Again in the worldbox office race ($187m to $160m).

Largely thought of as one of the worst films in the franchise, Octopussy is barmy but in need of critical re-evaluation.

Granted, the (relative) realism of For Your Eyes Only has been jettisoned, with Bond donning both gorilla suit and clown costume to reach the nuclear device planted in a West Berlin circus by mad General Orlov (Berkoff, whose swaggering menace borders on Parkinson's).

Sure, the crocodile submarine 007 pilots recalls the gimmicks of Moonraker, and the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan cry as he swings through vines escaping effete villain Kamal Khan (Jordan, originally intended for Moonraker) moves this far away from Bond land.

But, the reason why Octopussy remains huge fun is because it is the first Bond made in the wake of Raiders of the Lost Ark (For Your Eyes Only was in production at the same time), and director Glen raised his game to match the stunt-laden derring-do of Indy.

From the opening kit-jet plane sequence (planned for Moonraker and homaged in Tomorrow Never Dies) to a motorised rickshaw race through Dehli, a market scuffle with local heavies, a train top face-off with henchman Bedi and a lethal knife thrower (again lifted from Moonraker, which seemed to have originally contained every stunt ever devised), to the climactic airborne acrobatics, Glen was out to prove a world of Han Solo and Indiana Jones still had room for Bondage.

If this meant sidelining the middle-aged Moore then so be it, but although there is perilous action aplenty, he throws himself into it with full gusto, keeping his face to camera during as much stuntwork as possible.

Boasting more plot than the previous two outings, the basic story doesn't break formula, with Bond globetrotting to discover why agent 009 was found dead and clutching a Faberge egg, taking him to India and West Germany, where he encounters arms dealer and jewellery smuggler Khan, using Octopussy's island of acrobatic ladies as part of his scheme to get General Orlov a live warhead, in order to destabilise nuclear disarmament.

Octopussy, a good-hearted thief with ties to Bond (her father's story is taken from Fleming's original short story), is unaware of this nefarious plan and upon discovering it joins James to bring the villains down.

But, this is all about the action, although the boudoir kind is reduced to two encounters (with women more mature than For Your Eyes Only's Carole Bouquet), but there is the suggestion he "cures" Octopussy (who lives on a island with her female strays) much the same way Bond cures Pussy Galore in Fleming's Goldfinger novel.

A solid action movie without the variety show camp of Moonraker, Octopussy (shock, horror) may well the best of the Moores.