Live and Let Die

Live and Let Die ★★½

Roger Moore's debut as James Bond, and the first unsatisfying thing about it is he's left out of the opening montage as we pay witness to a series of MI6 agent assassinations (part of the tradition is that we like 007 in death-defying pre-credits situations, don't we?). Moore is a good-looking Bond but too often blunt, humorless, like he's asked to do an ingratiating Sean Connery-type turn; Jane Seymour is a lovely Bond girl named Solitaire who does Tarot cards but her fortune teller gift is piddling and obvious; Yaphet Kotto as the heroin-distributing villain Dr. Kananga of the Caribbean has a fascinating, cruel presence but isn't allowed to impress with genius. In other words, Live and Let Die is a simple-minded adventure with shockingly bad writing at times, replete of voodoo clichés, lacking a confident punch as it obviously wants to take the series in an uncertain new direction. Some noisy stunts are diverting if not quite remarkable, I do however get the giggles from the simple stunt of watching Bond hop over crocodiles to avoid becoming mincemeat himself. Some general weirdness keeps you curious, and Gloria Hendry is Bond's first interracial romance when Solitaire hasn't quite occupied him yet.

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