The 12th James Bond film in the EON Productions series, “For Your Eyes Only,” opens with 007 visiting the grave of his late wife, Teresa, followed by a priest offering a blessing before the super spy departs in a doomed helicopter hijacked by Blofeld with remote control. The pre credit sequence sends multiple messages. Albert R. Broccoli is ready to get a little more serious (at least with this one film), and say goodbye for good to his franchise’s past adventures. There are other villains besides Blofeld and SPECTRE. In actuality, copyright lawsuits would force this decision. Broccoli, though, happily dropped his bald, cat loving nemesis down a smoke stack anyway.
This time Bond is on the trail of recovering Britain’s ATAC system after it sunk with its crew somewhere on the Greek ocean floor. ATAC, in the wrong hands, like the Russians, could order Britain’s submarines to fire upon their own country.
Bond encounters two potential suspects behind the plot, Kristatos (Julian Glover) and Columbo (no…not Peter Falk and his wrinkled trench coat; I’m talking about the one and only Fiddler on the Roof, Topol). The daughter of the designer of the ATAC, Melina Havolock (Carole Bouquet) makes things complicated with her crossbow as she is on a mission of vengeance for the death of her parents.
Lots of action and grounded Cold War politics make this a solid entry in the series. A ski chase in Cortina, Italy is fantastic. Director John Glen (formerly an editor of prior films) manages to maintain realistic speed keeping up with motorcycles in pursuit of Bond. One of my favorite scenes during the Moore era of films.
Greece is beautiful too. Both on land and underwater where some footage occurred, even if some camerawork was manufactured at the legendary Pinewood Studios in London.
It’s funny to watch one recover the identity of a bad guy known as “The Dove” on an “Identigraph” a big, clunky machine in Q’s lab. Today’s Bond would need only use his iPhone or wristwatch.
The once revealed villain is no one exciting or unusual, but Glen in the director’s chair offers up a grittier story apart from the sci fi silliness of “Moonraker.” The opening scene high above London is really great stuff, along with the already mentioned ski chase, a hockey brawl, a shootout along a Greek sea port and a pretty suspenseful mountain climb for Bond to covertly sneak upon a hidden hideout.
A minor, uninteresting distraction comes from young and immature Lynn Holly Johnson pining for Bond’s affection. She’s as useful as Sheriff JW Pepper from prior films.
Oddly enough, as serious as this one gets at times (Bond tosses a bad a helpless bad guy off a cliff) it closes out by mocking a Margaret Thatcher lookalike mistaking a parrot for 007. I liked it, but rumor had it that Roger Moore hated this bit.
All in all, “For Your Eyes Only” is Moore’s second best film behind “The Spy Who Loved Me.”