When MI6 agent 009 (Andy Bradford) arrives dying at the British Embassy with a gold Faberge egg, which turns out to be a fabrication, MI6 sends agent 007 James Bond (Roger Moore) to seek out the real egg’s owner. It turns out that the egg can be traced back to Soviet general Orlov (Steven Berkoff).
Octopussy breaks the fourth wall in the strangest way possible when Bond meets a connection in India. The agent in the field, disguised as a snake charmer, plays the John Barry 007 theme to get Bond’s attention. This diegetic use of the theme makes no sense, especially considering Bond recognizes and comments on the tune. It is a minor grievance, but it is an attempt at being clever that irks me.
In India, Bond and Afghan prince Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan) play a rousing game of high stakes backgammon, which, although it sounds uninteresting, actually plays out as one of the better scenes in the film, much better than the car chase that immediately follows it.
Octopussy is perhaps the best combination of straight action and camp that the James Bond franchise has to offer. You get the simply obnoxious title femme fatale (Maud Adams) living on her island of female super soldiers. But you also get some solid action set pieces, namely hand-to-hand combat scenes involving knife and saw blade wielding assailants.
The real question is whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. If you like a little camp in your Bond, then this is probably the film for you. Otherwise, it is going to appear like your Moonrakers or your A View to a Kills. Whatever your preference, it is certainly the case that Octopussy is not a superior Bond film.
As always, thanks for reading!
Octopussy is currently available to rent/buy on Amazon Video here.
- Octopussy: C-
- For Your Eyes Only: C
- Moonraker: D
- The Spy Who Loved Me: B-
- The Man With the Golden Gun: C+
- Live and Let Die: C+
- Diamonds Are Forever: C-
- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: B+
- Casino Royale (1967): D+
- You Only Live Twice: C+
- Thunderball: C-
- Goldfinger: A-
- From Russia With Love: A-
- Dr. No: B
—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)