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The Man With the Golden Gun
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The British superspy with a license to kill takes on his dark underworld double, a classy assassin who kills with golden bullets at $1 million a hit. Roger Moore, in his second outing as James Bond, meets Christopher Lee's Scaramanga, one of the most magnetic villains in the entire series, in this entertaining but rather wan entry in the 007 sweepstakes. Bond's globetrotting search takes him to Hong Kong, Bangkok, and finally China, where Scaramanga turns his island retreat into a twisted theme park for a deadly game of wits between the gunmen, moderated by Scaramanga's diminutive man Friday Nick Nack (Fantasy Island's Hervé Villechaize). Britt Ekland does her best as the most embarrassingly inept Bond girl in 007 history, a clumsy, dim agent named Mary Goodnight who looks fetching in a bikini, while Maud Adams is Scaramanga's tough but haunted lover and assistant (she returns to the series as the title character in Octopussy). Clifton James, the redneck sheriff from Live and Let Die, makes an embarrassing and ill-advised appearance as a racist tourist who briefly teams up with 007 in what is otherwise the film's highlight, a high-energy chase through the crowded streets of Bangkok that climaxes with a breathtaking midair corkscrew jump. Bond and company are let down by a lazy script, but Moore balances the overplayed humor with a steely performance and Lee's charm and enthusiasm makes Scaramanga a cool, deadly, and thoroughly enchanting adversary. --Sean Axmaker
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