Goldfinger Review


Bond is at it again with this next installment but is the film going to go to the next level here or will this be about on the level as the first two. It’s definitely a movie that retains a lot of the same issues as the earlier titles. The action scenes are fun though but Bond certainly gets punked a whole lot. Again, how is this guy the best agent that M16 has got? It feels like he mostly just relies on luck in all of his appearances and that’s not a good strategy that’ll work long-term.

Well, the movie starts with Bond blowing up a facility and basically showing the audience that 007 is back! Bond heads to a resort for vacation but the worst fear of every person on vacation happens…his boss shows up. The agent tells Bond that he is to investigate and monitor an infamous villain known as Goldfinger. The guy stays at this very resort and loves cheating people out of their money. Bond is pretty confident that he can beat anyone up so he promptly begins trolling Goldfinger by stealing his girl, making fun of him, and then cheating the guy out of a bunch of money. Naturally this leads to Goldfinger murdering the girl and beating Bond up multiple times. Bond wants revenge now but will he be able to stop Goldfinger in this frenzied state or is he on a one way trip to oblivion?

This film really highlights the issue with Bond’s overconfidence. It just doesn’t feel earned since each time it causes him to lose or his friends to get murdered. The girl from the opening scene is a big example of this. Bond basically threw her life away by antagonizing Goldfinger and not giving her any kind of protection after that. What did he really expect was going to happen here? As a special agent you need to be confident in yourself. Absolutely, that’s a true statement but there are limits to this. It’s like how Iron Man dared Mandarin to try and attack him in Iron Man 3 and was surprised when the guy did or even a random thug mocking Accelerator and saying he wouldn’t dare shoot her only to find out that he actually would. If you’re going to test someone you should be prepared for retaliation.

So Bond is no better in this film than in the last few. Not only is he very weak but of course he is distracted by every lady in the film and has a number of affairs as normal. I’m okay with him getting extra emotional for this one. While some may say this isn’t very professional of him, he knows very well that the situation is his fault and should want to avenge the girl. It just makes all of his losses in this film sting all the more. He still has his more charismatic moments of course and can be a fun lead to follow but not a likable one.

Unfortunately Goldfinger is definitely the worst main villain so far. The guy can’t really fight all that well and just relies on the fact that he can always outwit Bond. His final plan only gets so far out of pure luck. I have a very hard time believing he would be able to shoot down over 10 Army fighters on his own and then escape for a third time. That whole sequence will have you shaking your head. Keep in mind that the army went in knowing that there had been a hostile takeover at this point. Should be on full alert….

His main minion Oddjob was really good though and definitely a standout character. He’s actually very skilled. First off, the steel hat is a genius invention because you can wear it very discreetly and then toss it when you need to take someone down. The villains clearly have their own Q who can make some solid items. He’s also not a one trick pony as he was able to fight really well even without the hat. I wasn’t surprised that he was a lot stronger than Bond either as we never see the agent training while this guy was clearly devoted to his craft. That’s a lot of shots at Bond eh? I’ll give him a break til the end now.

Galore is the main heroine in this film and I’ll give her some points for being able to fight. In fact she even defeated 007 on multiple occasions. It’s definitely nice to have hand to hand skills and even better to have that coupled with a gun. At that point there just isn’t much you can do if she has the proper angle. Galore does really well in this film even if ultimately you know that some romance will be appearing at some point.

As always this is where the Bond film falters. There’s a ton of random affairs in the film. Even the opening credits are pretty painful here as it focuses on a ton of suggestive imagery the whole time. From the posters and such you can see exactly how the film was advertising itself and this did not change with this film. It makes all of the usual mistakes here and just makes you shake your head at how predictable it is, but also at how much better it could have been without that.

The movie’s about on par with the last two. I would argue it’s a tad bit better than the opening 3 but not by enough to really make much of a difference. Hopefully as the films go on Bond will look a little better but at this point I’m rather doubtful. Usually you have the lead look his best in the opening films before having him lose more in the sequels since it shows how the villains are getting more powerful. So if he is already getting crushed here then that really does not bode well for him.

Overall, Goldfinger continues to show why the James Bond films aren’t in the same league as Mission Impossible or Jason Bourne. Those titles really focus on the special agent aspect of the plot as the primary focus while this one seems to have that as the backdrop at times while Bond’s charms are the main focus. He’s just thrown off his game so often it gets pretty crazy. The film does flow by as the pacing is good and I would also say the writing is on point. It’s mainly just held back by Bond himself and the fanservice. The fact that Goldfinger is not only a sub par villain but a flat out bad one doesn’t help matters either. We’ll see if the next film is able to overtake this one.

Overall 4/10

From Russia with Love Review


James Bond continues on another adventure with this second film. From Russia with Love is definitely a very well known film in the series and the title is certainly iconic. What’s better than seeing Bond have to go up against his Russian counterparts right? Well, while the action is dialed up and we have some interesting ideas here, I wouldn’t say that it’s a match for the original film. This is still not quite as the point where the James Bond films were epic to watch. I wouldn’t quite give this one a thumbs up.

The movie starts with SPECTRE returning to the forefront. After Bond messed up their plans last time they are not eager to see it happen again. The leader calls in a big chess master and the former head of Russia’s special agent program. They are to find a way to get a device over from Russia and then bump Bond off. Rosa decides to use special agent Tatiana for this mission, all the while pretending that she is still in the Russian program as an officer. Meanwhile M16 sends Bond in to obtain the device after Tatiana claims she wants to defect from Russia. (All part of the plan) Bond figures he’s walking into a trap but doesn’t really mind.

This film has a lot going on at all times and the plot is certainly crafted well. It’s quite hard to predict exactly how things will shake out all the time. I like the idea of SPECTRE trying to pit Russia and the US against each other from the shadows. As an international organization it makes sense that they would be messing with all of the countries. It’s also good to see the organization return since it does work as a nice ongoing plotline in the series. They have trained their fighters rather well.

Grant makes for a very impressive villain, although perhaps too impressive. Throughout the film he saved Bond and gets the upper hand on him. He’s shown to be more powerful and smarter. At that point, what’s left for Bond? His presence is felt throughout the movie and it makes Grant a fairly unforgettable character. His opening appearance was definitely impressive as well so from start to finish this guy made for a good villain.

On the hero side we had Ali this time who was a head of M16 for this division. He’s a pretty good agent who may not be the best at fieldwork but he is highly resourceful and has kept up a good system for many years. Naturally once Bond enters the picture these plans tend to go haywire since everyone is always targeting the agent. Ali did well in his screen time though. M and Moneypenny appear as well of course and they’re always fun supporting characters as well. M likes to shatter all of Bond’s plans all the time while Moneypenny likes to play along. It makes for a good dynamic at the office.

As for the main heroine of this film, I can’t say Tatiana was one of the better ones. She is put into a rather tough mission of course but I feel like she was tricked rather easily. This is definitely a weakness of being in a super secret organization if they never even told their members that the head had been let go. Does Tatiana have no contacts here she could have contacted? The organization itself is to blame for a lot of it but Tatiana should have done some more research as well or just defected for real once she was betrayed. The villains give her so much distance she would have had a lot of good opportunities to pull this off. At the end of the day she does manage to step up though.

Then that takes us to Bond and he takes so many Ls in this film that you wonder why the 007 title is so legendary. He gets beaten more times than you can count to the point where he isn’t even as cautious as he used to be in the first film. I suppose at this point he’s just decided that there’s no point and rolls with whatever the next challenge is. Due to this though, it’s hard to picture him looking really good in a movie. The guy’s just let his overconfidence run wild within himself. As long as he is unable to clear his missions without flirting or getting distracted I imagine that his potential will always be rather limited. He has his moments but on the whole I wouldn’t be able to call him a good lead.

Bond’s worst moment might be near the end where he notices Grant ordering a drink combination that doesn’t make sense. Bond had already been suspicious from the start but he still allows Grant to put something in Tatiana’s drink. Bond calls him out on it and buys the very suspect explanation that it would be easier this way. The whole thing makes him look like a rookie. I thought he was also incredibly harsh with Tatiana during the interrogation in the car afterwards. If Bond was unlikable before that moment then he was really doomed after that.

I’ll throw out a quick mention to Rosa who had a lot of fighting spirit for an old lady. She certainly knew that returning to base with no results would be a bad idea of course so that was good thinking on her part. Her main mistake is that she definitely should have fired right away rather than waiting so long. That’s the mistake most villains make here. With the amount of people who get Bond at gunpoint you’ll definitely always be surprised to see him still alive.

The main issue with the film naturally is its over reliance on fanservice and having Bond have an affair with every female character he runs into. The film always includes a lot of romance only since Bond is constantly jumping to the next character we know that it’s not actually a true romance anyway. The opening credits for the film are fairly painful to get through as well as the film’s artistic style here is really just to sell more tickets with fanservice once again.

At least the movie has a good soundtrack though. The Bond theme never gets old no matter how many times they play it. It’s just classic and I’m up for as many remixes as they’ve got. The action scenes are fun when they happen as well. We even get a train backdrop for a good chunk of the film which works out quite nicely. A change of scenery is always a good idea. I’d also say the writing is solid for the most part. There’s a lot of good banter here and the film handles the light hearted action tone rather well. The movie doesn’t drag on and at close to 2 hours that’s fairly impressive.

Overall, From Russia With Love is a very classic Bond film. It’s got the usual spy adventures along with a number of mysteries and intrigue that Bond must sift through in order to get to the heart of the problem. He takes every single stop on the journey that can be had though and is never in a hurry. His number 1 ability here is really just having a lot of luck and also is fortunate that the villains decide to show him mercy so often. I’d recommend watching a movie like Jason Bourne or Mission Impossible if you want a film that focuses more on the stealth aspects though. They operate at a much higher level.

Overall 4/10

The Tall Target Review


It’s time to look at an assassination plot and you don’t see a whole lot of these. It can be pretty fun to watch one guy try to stop the master plan on his own. It’s a similar plot to something like White House Down or Olympus Has Fallen. This film is a lot older so it isn’t quite as dramatized but you’ve got the core elements which is what makes this a pretty fun film to check out.

The movie starts with John bursting into the police office and asking if they’ve read his report. He works for the cops as well but is lower ranked and nobody really believes him. He is convinced that someone is going to try and murder Abe Lincoln before he is able to give his speech at Baltimore. The bosses laugh this off and the lead ends up throwing away his badge. He will now have to get on the train and save Lincoln on his own. Jerry’s ticket goes missing pretty quick so are the villains on to him or is his mind playing tricks on him and there is no assassination attempt?

I say that for suspense but it’s obvious that there is an attempt or there wouldn’t be a movie. Mainly the movie plays out as a mystery where you have to try and guess who the culprit is. It’s a big train that everyone is on after all so there are a ton of suspects to choose from. You’ve got Charlotte who is a writer and loves talking about politics. She doesn’t mind asking tough questions so it’s always possible that she wants to make a move and take Abe Lincoln down herself. Charlotte is a fun character and definitely makes the film interesting.

Then you’ve got Lance who is a soldier and is carrying a lot of guns on the train. Perhaps he has been paid off and wants to take one last shot to take Abe down for good. There’s his sister Ginny who is always quick to defend Lance. Perhaps she is using him to place attention away from her so that she can take the shot and win some kind of glory. Lance’s slave Rachel is also on the train. She may be forced to be an assassin if her family is hostage or for some kind of personal reasons. Finally you have Jeffers who is a general on the train. He gets along pretty well with John but that’s never a guarantee of anything. Perhaps he is trying to keep John close so he always knows where the main character is.

A large portion of the film is John trying to get intel but he has to do it slowly since he’s not in the best position. His biggest mistake was throwing away his badge in the opening scene. While it was good for dramatic effect it definitely crippled his ability to actually make a difference here. Nobody will actually believe that he is with the cops now and it’s not like he can legally arrest anyone either. This short sighted move aside John was still a pretty fun character. He certainly did lose a lot though. John definitely isn’t the best fighter out there.

In general the film had a pretty interesting cast. Jeffers made for a good assist and acted quite a bit like Watson. He’s a good shot and always has a lot of confidence. I liked the conductor as well and that’s another scene where John made a mistake. He should have let the conductor throw the fake John off the train. It really would have made things a little easier later on. Rachel was fun too. She made the right moves in the end and was a very reasonable character. The movie had high quality writing throughout and it’s part of what made the movie enjoyable. Everyone was trying to think two steps ahead of the next character and this made for a good blend of engaging characters who were all quite intelligent and knew what they were doing.

The twist at the end of the film was also pretty fun. It really adds another layer to the mystery. Everyone was getting messed with to some extent and that’s why it was such a good train ride. I really didn’t have any problems with it. Even John’s mistakes I wouldn’t count against the film because the lead doesn’t always have to be a super genius every time. Some of the mistakes he made I can easily see a person doing. If anything John was still really brave with a lot of the risks he was taking. Things could have easily backfired on him if things had gone sideways.

It’s also interesting to see the politics in this film. As the train had a lot of people from the south there were a lot of people there actively opposing Lincoln. You couldn’t find a single guy there who was actually happy about him becoming President or at least they would be too nervous to speak up about it. When you’re outnumbered politically and in a train with a ton of guns it’s probably a safe idea to just stay quiet. This also helps to prevent you from picking out the correct suspect too easily as everyone admits that they would love to shoot Lincoln. You just need to find out which one is actually serious about it while the others are all just bluffing and trying to talk a bit game.

Overall, The Tall Target is a pretty solid film. It is not a movie I was familiar with so I can definitely say that it is a hidden gem in cinema. It provides a suspenseful story and a good array of characters to back it up. The cast is almost surprisingly large with how many of these guys are well developed. The movie never overstays it’s welcome and I can whole heartedly recommend it to anyone who wants to check out a good thriller. You’ll be in for a lot of twists and turns.

Overall 7/10

The Glass Bottom Boat Review


It’s time to look at an old spy parody that you may or may not have heard of from back in the day. It’s a pretty fun movie although perhaps one that goes a bit far with the romance at times. It’s pretty crucial to the plot of course, but none of the characters look particularly great by the time this is all over. It just goes to show that when spies are involved everyone tends to get a little crazy. America wasn’t ready for this subtle Russian invasion.

The plot starts with Jennifer acting as a mermaid in what should have been a normal day at work until she is accidentally reeled in my local fisherman Bruce. See, Bruce is a rich CEO inventor by day and a casual fisherman on the weekends. They don’t get off to the best of starts here, but they see each other again during their real jobs and they hit it off. Jennifer is glad to be a part of the office, but unfortunately some of Bruce’s co-workers seem to think that she is a Russian spy who is here to take his invention. Even Bruce starts to entertain this thought. Jennifer will have to decide how she plays this and meanwhile the real spy is still out there and getting ready to make his move.

Naturally with such a convoluted plot there’s a lot of good potential here. I do tend to like the parody genre. With such a large array of jokes at the ready sometimes they may fall off the deep end, but usually the films will at least be very entertaining even if they don’t end up getting a really high score. That’s the idea at the very least and I’d say this one succeeds with that as well. There are a lot of good humorous scenes throughout the movie. It’s very long so that gives the plot time to change over and over again. At first it’s a classic slice of life romance turned comedy and then by the end it’s a full spy operation with some fight scenes. It’s never all that serious of course, but the stakes do gradually get higher and higher. The film has changed quite a bit by the end from where it started.

Naturally most of the gags that involve the romance are the weaker ones. Jennifer is extremely oblivious to the point where she makes some big mistakes near the beginning. One of them involves getting intimate with the wrong person for quite a while before she notices. That’s….pretty iffy and if anything Bruce should take that personally since she somehow didn’t realize that it was him. Then you’ve got all of the American generals and army officers falling head over heels for her which is pretty iffy. It goes to show that none of them ever had the strength of will that you would hope they have. Maybe Russia really would win the Cold War based on this film. Their agent was certainly a lot more impressive than the US ones.

There’s a lot of slapstick humor here, but it’s all handled pretty well. The scene of Jennifer and the electrician getting stuck was pretty intense. Certainly not realistic in the slightest of course, but that kind of absurd humor can definitely work pretty well. It’s like Tom and Jerry to an extent. Whatever the heroes would do only kept on making the situation worse and worse for both of them. Then you’ve got the personal robot who does too good a job of making the place clean. Throwing in that sci-fi angle was pretty fun.

As far as the characters are concerned, I think your mileage will vary. Jennifer means well, but she definitely is a bit too oblivious. Once she finds out about the spy stuff her plan was pretty reasonable. Might as well humiliate everyone involved right? If she was a few steps quicker she would have really gotten out of the whole situation without anyone being any the wiser. Inevitably they would find out, but not until it was too late. Usually Jennifer ends up losing her meetings with Bruce as I’d say it was more embarrassing for her, but she always kept up a straight face so that’s good.

Bruce is pretty good in that he kept believing in Jennifer the whole time. He had his small momentary doubts, but for the most part he kept taking her side even when everyone else was against her. That being said, the romance did happen awful fast and I wouldn’t really say it worked well. There’s nothing really wrong with Bruce, he’s fairly generic, but a good character all around. Then you’ve got Axel who is Jennifer’s dad. He doesn’t get a particularly big role, but the scenes that he does get are definitely solid. Seeing him take down multiple agents was pretty intense.

Then you’ve got Homer who is the chief of police. For the most part he was a great character although even he fell for Jennifer’s charms by the end. Too bad since before that he was on point. Sure, he ended up being wrong, but at the same time he really did his due diligence. You almost can’t blame him for coming to that conclusion since all of the evidence pointed to it. It just so happened that he was seriously at the wrong place at the wrong time. It happens to the best of us. He was way better than the American general after all, that guy cracked fast.

Overall, Glass Bottom Boat is definitely a pretty fun film. The humor can get pretty crazy and wacky but all in all it’s a quality experience. A lot of the early gags end up playing a role later and small references become important by the end as well. It’s just a very well thought out movie. It’s a long parody to be sure, but it’s one that has time to do everything it wanted to accomplish. There are quite a few characters here and we also do get a real climax. By the end Jennifer and her dog are running away from real villains and there are some good stakes here. These villains don’t take prisoners after all so if the heroine doesn’t run she would be in trouble. Especially since the US officers are taking their sweet time. I definitely recommend watching this film if you haven’t seen it yet. You don’t really see too many big parodies anymore so you really want to check out as many of the classics as you can.

Overall 6/10