For Your Eyes Only

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The British spy boat St Georges, which holds the Automatic Targeting Attack Communicator (ATAC), the system used by the Ministry of Defence to communicate with and co-ordinate the Royal Navy’s fleet of Polaris submarines, is sunk by a naval mine in the Ionian Sea. MI6 agent James Bond, code name “007”, is ordered by the Minister of Defence, Sir Frederick Gray and MI6 Chief of Staff, Bill Tanner, to retrieve the ATAC before the Soviets, as the transmitter could order attacks by the submarines’ Polaris ballistic missiles.

The head of the KGB, General Gogol has also learnt of the fate of the St Georges and already notified his contact in Greece. A marine archaeologist, Sir Timothy Havelock, who had been asked by the British to secretly locate the St Georges, is murdered with his wife by a Cuban hitman, Hector Gonzales. Bond goes to Spain to find out who hired Gonzales.

While spying on Gonzales’ villa, Bond is captured by his men, but manages to escape as Gonzales is killed by an arrow. Outside, he finds the assassin was Melina Havelock, the daughter of Sir Timothy, and the two escape. With the help of Q, Bond identifies a hitman in Gonzales’ estate as Emile Leopold Locque, and then goes to Locque’s possible base in Italy. There Bond meets his contact, Luigi Ferrara, and a well-connected Greek businessman and intelligence informant, Aris Kristatos, who tells Bond that Locque is employed by Milos Columbo, known as “the Dove” in the Greek underworld, Kristatos’ former resistance partner during the Second World War. After Bond goes with Kristatos’ protégée, figure skater Bibi Dahl, to a biathlon course, a group of three men, which includes East German biathlete Eric Kriegler, chases Bond, trying to kill him. Bond escapes, and then goes with Ferrara to bid Bibi farewell in an indoor ice rink, where he fends off another attempt on his life by men in hockey gear. Ferrara is killed in his car, with a dove pin in his hand. Bond then travels to Corfu in pursuit of Columbo.

There, at the casino, Bond meets with Kristatos and asks how to meet Columbo, not knowing that Columbo’s men are secretly recording their conversation. After Columbo and his mistress, Countess Lisl von Schlaf, argue, Bond offers to escort her home with Kristatos’ car and driver. The two then spend the night together. In the morning Lisl and Bond are ambushed by Locque and Lisl is killed. However, before Locque can kill Bond, he is captured by Columbo’s men; Columbo then tells Bond that Locque was actually hired by Kristatos, who is working for the KGB to retrieve the ATAC. Bond accompanies Columbo and his crew on a raid on one of Kristatos’ opium-processing warehouses in Albania, where Bond uncovers naval mines similar to the one that sank the St Georges, suggesting it was not an accident. After the base is destroyed, Bond chases Locque and kills him.

Afterwards, Bond meets with Melina, and they recover the ATAC from the wreckage of the St Georges, but Kristatos is waiting for them when they surface and he takes the ATAC. After the two escape an assassination attempt, they discover Kristatos’ rendezvous point when Melina’s parrot repeats the phrase “ATAC to St Cyril’s”. With the help of Columbo and his men, Bond and Melina break into St Cyril’s, an abandoned mountaintop monastery. While Bond is climbing, Apostis attacks him, but is killed. As Columbo confronts Kristatos, Bond kills the biathlete Kriegler.

Bond retrieves the ATAC system and stops Melina from killing Kristatos after he surrenders. Kristatos tries to kill Bond with a hidden flick knife, but is killed by a knife thrown by Columbo; Gogol arrives by helicopter to collect the ATAC, but Bond destroys it first. Bond and Melina later spend a romantic evening aboard her father’s yacht.

REVIEW:

After a little bit of a shuffle in the order of Bond films, I’m back on the right track with For Your Eyes Only. After the past two lighter faire films, this returns the character to his roots as a serious spy, but does that work for the series, and this iteration? Is the picture entertaining? These are a couple of questions I hope to answer for you.

What is this about?

This entry in the überpopular film franchise finds the indomitable James Bond tasked with recovering a top-secret device capable of directing ballistic missiles from nuclear submarines — before the Soviets get their hands on it.

What did I like?

Action. For all the sneaking around, drama, and lack of getting with the ladies that is going on in this film, there is a good deal of action. Many of the critics have praised that action, which is truly the best part of this film. One review said that it was a break from the long and boring film this ended up being. For me, while none of the stunts stand out, they are quite the sight to see, especially once things

Under the sea. Almost anytime you see an underwater scene, it takes your breath away. Now, it would be easy for me to say that this is another in the long line of those scenes, but there is something a little more to it than that. Aside from the underwater beauty, we get an underwater city that is in ruins. The gorgeous remains, coupled with the music that was used in this part of the film made for the perfect mixture of elements.

Parrot. A talking parrot on a boat and no pirates around? What madness is this?!? Ha! Seriously, though, a parrot that serves as a recording device of sorts in not something new, but it is some comic relief that this film is in serious need of. The parrot wasn’t a major character, by any stretch of the imagination, but it does play an important part in the film, and that is something worthy of note.

What didn’t I like?

Bond girls. Once again, I must bring up the Bond girls as a negative in a James Bond film review. Yes, they are beautiful, as is prerequisite for the job, but they don’t live up to the standards set by their predecessors, nor do they do anything spectacular. The French girl, Carole Bouquet, is out for nothing but revenge and gets in the way more than anything. The young ice skater is like a school girl who has a crush on her teacher, finally turned legal, and can now act on her impulses. To me, these girls seemed second-rate, but I guess they can’t all be Ursula Andress, can they?

Non-action. As I mentioned earlier, the action is the best part of this film, but the parts that aren’t action-packed will all but put you to sleep. A good action film has great action and interesting non action scenes. It is rather disappointing that this film doesn’t do that, making one of the weaker entries in the franchise, according to those that are more learned in Bond than I.

Walks on ice. This is a small thing, but I can’t just let is slide. When Bond goes to visit the ice skater chick while she is practicing on the ice, he just walks on the ice. For any of you familiar with ice, you know how slippery it is. It is possible, however tricky, to walk on the ice without skates, but you can’t just walk normally out there. Bond just seemingly strides on the ice, and then fights hockey player assassins with ease. Isn’t this supposed to be a more realistic, grounded Bond film?!?

You know, the more of these Bond flicks I watch, the more I am starting to think this is a franchise that just isn’t for me. The entries that I like the best are the two that seem to be the most reviled by most, and For Your Eyes Only didn’t really do anything for me. No worries, though, my OCD won’t let me get this far into the franchise without finishing things up. So, do I recommend this film? I guess. I mean, there really isn’t anything inherently wrong with it, but there also isn’t anything to get excited about, either. It’s just another entry in the Bond cannon, no more, no less.

3 out of 5 stars

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