Roger Moore looked pretty long in the snout in For Your Eyes Only (1981), his previous entry in the Bond series.
Miraculously, he looks younger than ever in this one (The 13th movie in the Bond series and the penultimate appearance by Moore as 007).
It can’t be clean living. It probably has more to do with taking it easier than usual. In Octopussy the stunts provide punishing work for Moore’s usual doubles and stand-ins, all of whom look much more obvious in the long shots than ever before.
This Bond flick provides enough escapist nonsense, but trying to piece together the ridiculous plot threads is as pointless as Christmas shopping on 26 December.
As is usual with a Bond film, when it all threatens to get dull, it drags in new sets, new countries, new perils, new escapes, new gadgets, new guns and new girls. Especially new girls!
Octopussy herself is Maud Adams (the only woman ever to play a Bond Girl twice – she was in 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun also) who plays the queen of the jewel smugglers living on an island surrounded by man-eating crocodiles and populated by man-eating females.
James gets mixed up with this lethal beauty while investigating the murder of agent 009, who dies in Berlin in a clown costume, clutching a priceless Faberge egg stolen from the Hermitage museum in Leningrad.
It takes the entire movie before the connection is explained, and even then you won’t understand it, so let’s skip the plot mechanics and get to the toys. All that matters are the stunts, hardware, special effects, and gimmicks, and Octopussy doesn’t skimp in any of these areas.
The pre-title opening (which has nothing to do with anything else in the film) places 007 in Cuba, dodging nuclear rockets and destroying a missile base in a jet with the fuel tank on empty.
The scene switches instantly to East Germany, to the Kremlin, to a Sotheby’s auction in London, to the Taj Mahal, to the Indian hideout of exiled Afghan prince Louis Jourdan, who plots the end of the world in a heavily guarded monsoon palace, to the final showdown in a circus tent in Germany, where an atom bomb is set to explode and kill thousands of innocent people and force NATO to withdraw its nuclear weapons from Europe.
Did you get all that?
The fun is not in watching 007 save the world (because he always does), but the uncanny ways in which he manages to elude his enemies, his traps, and his would-be assassins. The wild situations and the bizarre characters are plentiful.
There’s a hair-raising chase through the crowded Kasbahs of India in three-wheel mopeds, and in one scene Bond encounters cobras, tigers, tarantulas, crocodiles, and blood-sucking leeches in the space of a few minutes.
Scaling walls, swimming moats, and escaping knife throwers, blowtorches, and machine gun bullets, 007 is indestructible, as he flees in the usual obligatory assortment of helicopters, rocket ships, and water-skiing airplanes.
The directors of James Bond flicks are nothing more than traffic cops. In that capacity, John Glen was one of the best.