During the pre-credit sequence, an aged Bond—Roger Moore was 57 when he shot this movie—madly skis (a nod to The Spy Who Loved Me?) through mountainous Siberia after obtaining the microchip 003 lost his life for. But because this was filmed in 1985, as the Duran Duran theme song reminds us later, Bond substitutes his skis for a surfboard, establishing early buzz for the snowboarding phenomenon. While cheesy in itself, the diegetic insert of "California Girls" drives home the misguided camp tone of everything about to unfold.
The mission this time out involves Zorin Industries, a government contractor developing microchips that can withstand electromagnetic pulse. Running the company is a crazed, equestrian loving madman named Max (Christopher Walken) and his maniacal, cackling henchman, or sidekick, May Day (Grace Jones). Together, they plan to set off bombs along the San Andreas Fault in an effort to obliterate Silicon Valley and have a monopoly on microchip technology. Oh, and both of them were experimented on by Nazis and have super strength.
Beyond the hilarity of an equestrian action sequence, where Bond is forced to make impossible jumps over gadget-controlled polyethylene hunters, the main Bond girl (Tanya Roberts) spends the entire movie falling into things, screaming for help and maintaining perfect hair and make-up in life and death scenarios. And by the time the fourteenth Bond film reaches its climax in a mine where Walked gleefully shoots hundreds of miners for no apparent reason, it's hard not to wish she'd just fall down a hole and disappear.
Fortunately, the protracted big-budget mine explosion sequence ends with Max Zorin inflating a giant blimp from a trailer and making his getaway in an impractical mode of transportation emblazoned with his corporate logo on the side. Even better, the blonde bimbo has emerged from a dirty mine in high heels and is teetering around on a hillside when Bond is forced to yell, "Look out behind you!" Apparently, she didn't notice a gigantic blimp making its way towards her, which, sadly, is at least more believable than the eventual fight scene atop the Golden Gate bridge where wind resistance isn't an issue at all.
Ridiculous, stupid and slightly perverted (Moore was old enough to be Tanya Roberts's father), A View to a Kill delights in a way that no filmmaker could ever capture intentionally. Its badness is monumental and absolutely hilarious from beginning to end.
A View to a Kill screens as part of the Shaken, Not Stirred: Bond on Film retrospective at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Screening initially at 3pm on November 11th, 2012, it will return to the Lightbox in December for additional big screen viewing opportunities. (MGM)