Thursday, May 31, 2012

Music Review: Back In Time

Now in full swing, the summer blockbuster season of 2012 has saw fit to reanimate a franchise that has been dormant for ten years.  (I wish it was that easy for video games.)  Enter Men In Black 3.  The gimmick with this film is that Agent J (Will Smith) must time-travel to the year 1969 to save his partner, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones / Josh Brolin). Now, I'm not here to talk about the film, although I will mention that general consensus puts it below the first film but a league above the second.  Rather, I will focus my attention on MIB3's promotional single, "Back In Time" by Pitbull.

"Back In Time"
  • Artist: Pitbull
  • Album: Men In Black 3 [OST]
  • Release: 26 March 2012
  • Genre: Hip-Hop, Pop
  • Label: Polo Grounds, RCA, Mr. 305
  • Writers: Armando C. Perez, Marc Kinchen, Adrian Trejo, Urales Vargas, Sylvia Robinson, Ellas McDaniel, Mickey Baker
  • Producers: Marc Kinchen, DJ Big Syphe, DJ Buddha

Hey wait a minute, Pitbull!? Will Smith did the tie-in songs for the first two films himself; why did they need to pull in someone else this time around? There are rumours that he's working on his first album since 2005, but he could've done the work here and now as the perfect re-launching point for his recording career! As it stands, we're stuck with one of the most atrocious rappers this side of Soulja Boy Tell'Em, may his career burn in Hell. And the only reason I can think of is because he's popular at the moment, which would also explain the brief dubstep breakdown near the end of the track. What does it have to do with the rest of the song musically? Not much, but hey, it's a rising trend too!

Because of its title, one wonders if it would sample the song of the same name by Huey Lewis and the News, which was a tie-in with Back To The Future.  But no, that would be too awesome.  Rather, the sample they used was from "Love Is Strange" by Mickey & Silvia, back from 1956.  Yeah, I've never heard of it before either.  But whatever it is, has nothing to do with Men In Black and it adds little so to the song itself that it might as well not be there at all.  For gripes' sake, the lyrics are:

Baby, ooh, baby
Ooh baby
My sweet baby
You're the one

Which could be taken from any song on the radio!  I know I'm going to regret this, but let's see what kind of personality Pitbull will add to this recipe.

It's Mr Worldwide, Agent A, Reporting live

You forgot to add "hole" in front of your agent letter. >:-)

From Cape Canaveral, MK, Big Syphe, let's ride

Oh hey, Marc Kinchen (MK) and DJ Big Syphe, two of the song's producers.  You know, this trend of making shout-outs at the beginning of songs is getting annoying, as anyone who's suffered through a JR Rotem song can attest to.  There are less intrusive ways to give credit where credit is due, ya know.

Miami equals black mask, black clothes
With a little bit of rope to tie, (I flipped it)

Around your neck, please? >:-)

Black suits, white shirts, black glasses with a matching tie
Like Agent J or Agent K, and I wish the whole world would

You wish the whole world would... what?  Stop listening to your music?  Because I'm down with that! >:-)

Okay, I'm tryin' make a billion out of 15 cents, understand, understood
I'm a go-getter, mover, shaker, culture
Bury a boarder, record-breaker won't cha
Give credit where credit is due, don't cha

...Aaand my question goes unanswered, in favour of Pitbull bragging about how awesome (he thinks) he is.  Shouldn't have been surprised.

Know that I don't give a number two
Y'all just halfway thoughts, not worth the back of my mind

My thoughts exactly. >:-)  (Okay, I need to stop using that devil smiley!)  Then again, since he's not declaring whom he doesn't care for, for all I know he could be talking about himself.  Wishful thinking, I calls it.

But to understand the future, we have to go back in time

Oh, goody, a reference to the film shoehorned in the song without any regard to how it fits in with the lyrical content!  Actually, since this song has so little to do with the movie, I have to give a tip of the hat to how it was used in the TV adverts, in which only this line, the first lines of the first verse, and the chorus can be heard.

I got the globe, yeah, in the palm of my hand
Wherever I spin it, that's where I land

I think you mixed up the word order there, pally.  To simply "spin" a globe won't give you an exact location; you have to drop your finger or something on a random point in order to know where to "land".  If I were writing this song, Heaven forbid, I'd have fixed this to something like, "I spin the globe, yeah, in the palm of my hand / Wherever it stops, that's where I land".  Oh, but then he wouldn't be able to say he has the globe in the palm of his hand.  Truly, this world - and my brain - has become a giant [chicken], just waiting to get [plucked].

Stop the movement, they can try if they want to
Ignorar lo latino, si (ignore the Latino, yeah)
They can try if they want to

Isn't this special.  He just rhymed an entire phrase with itself, with some gratuitous Spanish to boot.  And wouldn't you know it, he's done this before, in "International Love".  Pit, su escritura es perezoso.

What Pit solves is a bit raw, took like jigsaw and built it all
Despite a big loss, I'd bet it all

Oh how I wish that would happen. >:-) (Sorry, last one, we're almost done.)

And fought blind against the world, Ray Charles

Aw, what the heck now!?  One of my least favourite rappers has caught onto the "hashtag rap" trend!?  There's only one meme picture that can describe how I'm feeling:

Or, at the end of the music video, Pitbull is nice enough to flash a neuralyzer at the screen.  Smile for the camera...

...Where am I?  Was I in the middle of writing a review?  Guess so, I left a memo for myself before that guy fixed me.  Something for a song called "Back In Time"...  Man, what have I got against Huey Lewis?

Lyrics: 1 star out of 5
Music/Production: 1 star out of 5
Performance: 2 stars out of 5
The Call: 1 star out of 5 (F)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Film Review: Moonraker

Remember my last James Bond movie review, when I said the next one would be For Your Eyes Only? I lied. And I only did so because the movie itself did the same thing. After wrapping up The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, the production crew had intended to make FYEO the next entry in the series. Then, just before TSWLM came out... Star Wars happened. George Lucas's little film that could caused a resurgence of science fiction like we've never seen. The success of Star Wars was felt in America, where Star Trek began its own film series, in Japan, where anime series such as Space Battleship Yamato and Mobile Suit Gundam, and even in the United Kingdom, where James Bond himself got in on the action in...
  • Publisher: United Artists
  • Studio Danjaq / EON Productions
  • Release: 26 June 1979 (UK), 29 June 1979 (USA)
  • Genre: Action, Science Fiction
  • Director: Lewis Gilbert
  • Producer: Albert R. Broccoli
  • Writer: Christopher Wood

The Girls: Dr. Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles), a NASA scientist, which is just her cover story; she's really a CIA agent. Given her secret role, it's a shame her potential as an action girl is wasted, but justifiably so: turns out Lois Chiles was pregnant during filming. Also, I think there's a sexual entendre in her name. I can't put my finger on it... but one thing's for sure, she's got a good head on her shoulders. 2 out of 5.

Corrine Dufour (Corrine Clery), Drax's helicopter pilot. Killed for her complicity with Bond, thus marking her as a more sympathetic character. By my call, she should've been the main Bond Girl. And is she really illiterate, or was she just using that excuse as pillow-talk? 4 out of 5.

The Villain: Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale). Runs an aerospace company in California. Intends to eradicate all human life on Earth, and start over with a master race of personally-selected people. Wicked rich, wicked cultured, and overall wicked beyond your wildest imaginations, he's what Stromberg should've been like. Shot by Bond and ejected into outer space. 5 out of 5.

Other Henchmen: Chang (Toshiro Suga), Drax's bodyguard and a kendo expert. Moderately scary but othersie unremarkable. Thrown out of a window by Bond. 3 out of 5.

Jaws (Richard Kiel), making a return appearance as Chang's replacement. Falls in love with a short little woman and turns on Drax based on fears that his boss's evil plan may threaten his romance. For all the terror he instills in most of his appearances, it's disappointing that his role here focuses on comic relief and characterisation. 3 out of 5.

The Gadgets: Bond has a dart gun under his watch, which can fire armour-piercing or poison-tipped darts. Said watch also contains a coil of plastic explosive, which is used with no explanation to break open the air vent grate in the rocket exhaust bay. 2 out of 5.

The Locations: The United States (California), Italy, Brazil, and outer space. I am not kidding about that last one.

The Theme Song: Performed by Shirley Bassey. The version used for the opening credits is an unremarkable love-ballad; as a sign of the times, a disco arrangement is used over the end credits. Fun Fact: The song was originally to be recorded by Johnny Mathis, but for whatever reason he ducked out of the project in the middle of recording, forcing the film crew to recruit Bassey for the third time, with only weeks to go. 2 out of 5.

The Opening Credits: Uses space and sky-themed backgrounds and some rather dodgy silhouette animation. Tame, like the music used over it. 3 out of 5.

The Novel: The third James Bond novel by Ian Fleming, published in 1955. In this original version of the story, the Moonraker is a ballistic missile, and Hugo Drax was a former British soldier who founded a aerospace industrial plant near Dover after events in World War II. He later reveals himself to be an ex-Nazi commander who seeks to restore the Third Reich by using the nuclear-equipped Moonraker on London. The Bond Girl is his assistant Gala Brand, and notably, she doesn't shack up with Bond because she's engaged to someone else.

The Plot: The movie opens with the Moonraker, a prototype space shuttle, being hijacked off from its carrier plane over Canada. As the craft was en route to the UK, M calls 007 off from his current assignment, in which he gets knocked out of a plane without a parachute but steals one from the hapless pilot. Also, Jaws. Cue opening credits. Back at MI6, M notices that no traces of the Moonraker were found in the plane wreckage, so he assigns Bond to investigate the California factory where it was built. He meets Hugo Drax, Corrine Dufour, a helicopter pilot, and Dr. Holly Goodhead, an astronaut on loan from NASA. Goodhead takes him on a tour of the facilities, ending with a test of the centrifuge trainer. The ride gets sabotaged, so Bond shuts it down with his new dart gun.

Bond and Dufour spend the night together, and she helps him find some of Drax's blueprints. In the morning, Drax invites him to a hunting party. His snipers fail to kill Bond, but his attack dogs succeed in killing Dufour. The blueprints refer to a glassmaker in Venice, Italy. Bond does a night raid of the place and finds a secret lab, witnessing a couple of scientists die in a nerve gas accident. Also he fights off and kills Chang, Drax's bodyguard. The next morning, Bond invites M and company to investigate the lab, only to find it replaced by Drax's office. This humiliates M, but Bond keeps the case afloat by giving him a sample of the nerve gas from the old lab. Also he meets up with Goodhead again and discovers her to be a CIA agent.

From there, Bond investigates one of Drax's warehouses in Rio de Janeiro, catching up with Goodhead again. The two fend off Jaws, since hired by Drax, on the Sugarloaf Mountain cable cars, but she gets abducted by Drax's men. Bond then travels to a monastery-slash-MI6 field base in the Brazilian countryside, where M and Q tell him about the nerve gas sample, how it kills humans but not plants or animals, and its place of origin in the Amazon jungle. From there, he take a ride in a Q-Branch-modified boat and ends up at Drax's base. He fills in the holes of his plan for Bond and leaves him with Goodhead under one of the Moonraker rockets, to be burned up when it takes off. But Bond and Goodhead escape through an air vent, masquerade as two technicians, and take off in another rocket.

The Moonraker rockets converge at a space station, from which Drax storyboards his plan: use the orchid nerve gas to kill all human life on Earth, and re-populate it with a master race of perfectly-fit people he brought up with him. The space station is hidden from Earth by a radar jammer; Bond and Goodhead disable it but are caught by Jaws. Before he can throw the spies out the airlock, Bond convinces him that the plan might jeopardise his new girlfriend, so Jaws turns on his master. Meanwhile, the Americans have sent up a crew and raid the space station, disabling it but for three globes of nerve gas that have already been launched. Bond and Goodhead take off in a Moonraker shuttle, use its onboard laser cannon to safely shoot down the globes during re-entry, and once again the day is saved. You are now free to turn off your TV.

No doubt about it, Moonraker was made with pound-signs in the producers' eyes. Not only was it chosen to capitalise on the success of Star Wars, but what they cranked out is essentially a retread of The Spy Who Loved Me on science-fiction steroids. Think about it: a multi-millionaire industrialist seeks to re-start Earth's population the hard way. Shame they couldn't copy any of the good aspects while they were at it, like the tension of a Bond Girl who intends to kill our hero when their work is done, or a henchmen who's not used for comic relief. On the plus side, when you've just sent 007 into outer space to stop a man from killing everybody on Earth, there's no way to top that; you've got to get back down to reality. Perhaps the '80s will give this franchise such an opportunity. 2 out of 5.

The Call: 45% (D-)

IchigoRyu will return in
For Your Eyes Only (this time for real)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Second Opinion: Super Mario Bros. 2

As you may recall, for my April Fools' Day special this year, I converted my review on the Super NES version of Doom into video form... in the style of the Irate Gamer. At first I had only seen a few episodes of his show, and despite his occasional lapses of research failures and hypocrisies, there were some moments of his I genuinely liked. I watched more of his show as I was working on my episode, and it was then that I chanced upon his "review" of Super Mario Bros. 2 for the NES. This, ladies and gentlemen, was the moment when I lost all respect for the Irate Gamer as a critic. There was so much he overlooked and just failed to care about that it instantly became one of those opinions I refused to recognise. And so, here's what I have to say about what the Irate Gamer had to say about...

Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Platform/Release:
    • NES, October 1988
    • Game Boy Advance, 10 June 2001 (as Super Mario Advance)
    • Wii, 2 July 2007
  • Genre: 2D Action (Platformer)
  • Players: 1
  • Rarity/Cost:
    • NES: Common, US$10-20
    • GBA: Common, US$5-10
    • Wii: N/A, US$5
"If you line up all the Super Mario games in order, one of them just sticks out like a sore thumb."
You mean Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, the one game out of those five in which you don't even play as Mario? ...Still good, though.
"Now when you start this game, you'll have the choice of picking from four different characters., all with their own special abilities. Mario is the regular fighter, Luigi is the high jumper, Princess Peach can hover in the air for extended periods of time, and Toadstool, well, he's pretty much worthless."
Toad is not useless; he's the fastest digger out of all the four characters. Which comes in handy in places such as the levels in World 2, which have deep digging passages.
"[...] You'll notice that the gameplay has been totally altered. First they did away with the ability to smash your enemies. Instead, you'll have to pick them up and toss them at other enemies in order to kill them."
Okay, look. I can understand annoyance at the loss of instant gratification, like the kind you find when you stomp on an enemy in Super Mario Bros. and it goes away right then and there. But SMB2 plays by its own set of rules, and if you're comparing it to a completely foreign system, then you're not going to have fun with it. Which, might I argue, is the point of video games on the whole, no?
"Second, this game is only a one-player game. It's totally different from the original in which you can play two players."
Funny thing about that: in its earliest stages of development, SMB2 was conceived as supporting two player co-op, but this feature was deemed not fun enough and scrapped early on. Also, the multiplayer offerings from the first SMB were of the take-turns variety.
"And remember that invincibility star? Well, yeah, they pretty much [verb]ed that whole thing up, too. Instead of now finding the star, you'll have to go around collecting five cherries that are scattered around the levels. And after you collected that fifth cherry, you've got to wait for it!"
Look at that scene again. Not only did he cut away from that footage in order to artificially stretch it out, but he also slowed down the footage itself. Yeah, I can tell. I re-created that scenario, and the time it took for the Starman to rise up from the screen and touch my player was exactly 10.85 seconds. And besides, it's not like Cherries are hard to find, in most levels.
"And while we're at it, this game could really use a lot more power-ups, too. Some spots in the game are so over-crowded with enemies, it's insane."
"At the end of the game, you'll finally meet up with the last boss, Wart, who ends up just really being a pushover. All you have to do is throw vegetables at him when his mouth is open, and he'll choke on them and die. And yet again giving kids another reason not to eat their vegetables."
Your hero, ladies and gentlemen.
"Released only in Japan, [Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels] continues where the first one left off. All the same enemies, power-up items, even the maps look the same. This right here is the perfect predecessor to the first Mario game."
When you said that part about the same items, you showed a Poison Mushroom - an item not found in the first SMB. Also, let me emphasize one of the words he said: predecessor. I'm not sure if he didn't notice that, or if he's just really stupid.
"I did some more research, and found something that's guaranteed to flip some [noun]. Years earlier, a game was released in Japan called Doki-doki Panic. [...] It's the exact same game! And we're not just talking about copying the layout of the levels - everything has been stolen! The enemies, power-ups, music, everything! If you compare both these games side by side, they're the exact same video game."
Funny thing about that: the game in question (full title Yume Kojo: Doki-doki Panic) was made by Nintendo themselves - with Shigeru Miyamoto at the helm, to boot. So would ya mind telling me how Nintendo could've ripped off SOMETHING THEY CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE!?!? Oh wait, it gets even better: DDP was originally conceived as a sequel to Super Mario Bros. in the first place. That explains why items like Starmen, Coins, and the Pow Block (from the 1983 Mario Bros.) were in there to begin with.

If you want to know more about Doki-doki Panic (and if you want to see me totally show up the Irate Gamer), here you go: The game was released for the Famicom Disk System in 1987 as a tie-in with Fuji TV's "Yume Kojo '87" (English: "Dream Factory '87") promotion. The major difference between this game and SMB2 is that it has a save function and unlimited continues, but you can only switch characters in between worlds or when you start or resume a game. Also, each of the four characters progresses separately, so to get the best ending, you have to beat the game four times, once for each of them.
"Even the characters in this game have the exact same abilities as the characters from Mario 2! I mean, look: here's Mario, Luigi, Princess, and yeah, even the worthless Toad."
You may have matched the DDP and SMB2 characters by looks, but not by abilities. Technically, the character you labelled as Mario's counterpart, Papa, has Toad's abilities, and vice-versa for Imajin, the guy you labelled as Toad's counterpart. Oh, and if you find the fact that DDP's Mama shares the role of SMB2's Luigi to be hilarious in hindsight, then we have so much to discuss.
"It's unclear as to why they copied [DDP] in the first place. But many have speculated that the real Mario 2 game was just too much like the first one."
Partial credit, for once. See, Nintendo of America was the one who chose not to sell the original SMB2 abroad. Partly because it was more of the same, but mostly because of its intense, "fustrating" challenge, and at such an early stage, NoA did not want to risk Mario's popularity with a product they felt others would not appreciate. Now, The Lost Levels has been re-released numerous times (I've played it as part of Super Mario Bros. Deluxe on Game Boy Color), and I agree that it puts you to the test, alright. But still, better late then never -- or better late than on time, in this case.
"Now, I was never a big fan of Super Mario 2, but a few years ago, they released it again, and this time for the Game Boy Advance. Super Mario 2 was given a complete makeover, and the end result is amazing. I can honestly say that for the first time, this truly feels like a Mario game."
Even though the level designs and core mechanics have gone unchanged?
"They totally revamped all the levels..."
By which you mean they simply changed around the enemy placement and added five red coins per level.
"...included a lot more power-ups, mixed in with some interesting enemies..."
Both of which are merely larger versions of things already present in the game.
"...and now finding hearts to replenish your health is so much easier."
Allow me to say it again. *ahem*

Seriously, dude? If you think a game holding your hand is a deciding factor of quality... well, you may be right some times, but this is not one of those times! You must secretly suck at gaming -- and this isn't the only example. It has come to my attention that you could only get through the first few levels of subjects like Resident Evil 5 and Robocop 2, and you only made it as far as you did on Final Fantasy III and Ghosts & Goblins because you cheated. Hoo boy, I can't wait to challenge you to some sort of showdown somewhere along the line.

So what do I think of the game? It's certainly well-executed, no surprise coming from a Nintendo product. Sure, the pick-up and throw mechanic is different than what we're used to, but with the way the game revolves around it, it becomes second nature fast. (And if it doesn't, it's you that needs to change.) My biggest beef with the original version is its lack of a save function, but unlike a certain someone I just talked about, I'm no crybaby. I understand that back in 1988, this was an unconventional and not exactly cost-effective feature, so I know better than to judge it for that. Besides, that's what the ports are for. All things considered, Super Mario Bros. 2 scores 90%, an A-.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Film Review: The Spy Who Loved Me

The Spy Who Loved Me
  • Publisher: United Artists
  • Studio: Danjaq / EON Productions
  • Release: 20 July 1977 (UK), 3 August 1977 (USA)
  • Genre: Action
  • Director: Lewis Gilbert
  • Producers: Albert R. Broccoli
  • Writers: Richard Maibaum

The Girl: Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach), agent XXX of the KGB. Assigned to the same case as Bond, only to discover that had killed her old boyfriend. In effect, she becomes a personification of “detente”, a period in the 1970s when NATO and the Soviet Union softened tensions with each other. Her performance is sadly a little understated, but takes a turn towards stern when she realises what Bond had done on that mission in Austria. 3 out of 5.

Other Allies: General Alexis Gogol (Walter Gotell), head of the KGB and M's opposite number in the Soviet Union. Again, he and XXX are competing with Bond and M to achieve the same goals for mutual benefit, providing at least a partially amicable dynamic among both parties. If the name of his actor sounds familiar, it’s because he previously played the role of Morzeny, director of the SPECTRE training camp in From Russia With Love. Thus, Herr Gotell becomes the first in a tradition of actors who play one role in a Bond film and get killed off, only to be reincarnated later as another character. 4 out of 5.

The Villain: Karl Stromberg (Curd Jurgens), shipping magnate. Whilst not one of the more memorable Bond villains, he deserves credit for the reasoning behind his evil plot. The way he sees it, humanity is driving itself to extinction, so he only wishes to accelerate the process and give mankind a fresh start in his undersea communities. This leads to an awesome rebuttal from Amasova: "That does not justify mass murder". Huge props to the writers for making him look like a sensible man, only to remind us why we're fighting him in the first place. Shot by Bond.  4 out of 5.

Other Henchmen: Jaws (Richard Kiel), a seven-foot-tall assassin with steel teeth. Super strong (for some reason), his preferred method of execution is biting his victims below the neck. He truly feels unstoppable -- plus he creeps out my mom. ^_^ Dropped into a shark tank by Bond, but survives.  5 out of 5.

The Gadgets: Bond's new car is a Lotus Espirit, which is able to convert into a submarine and is equipped with multiple armaments: oil slicks, smoke screens, rockets, and mines. Seems like overkill, especially since it's only used in one scene, but don't tell me you don't want one of those! Also, it's not technically a gadget, but you gotta love that Union Jack parachute from the pre-credits. 5 out of 5.

The Locations: Austria (filmed in modern-day Nunavut, Canada), the UK, Egypt, Sardinia (Italy), and the Atlantic Ocean. Fun Fact: the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios, the largest sound stage in the world, was built for this film.

The Theme Song: "Nobody Does It Better (The Spy Who Loved Me)" by Carly Simon. A poignant love song, the title serves as a rather sweet sentiment. 5 out of 5.

The song, and the film’s score, were composed by Marvin Hamlisch, whose works include The Sting and The Way We Were. Apart from the title song, the soundtrack is sadly hit-or-miss, with dated disco-influenced tracks here, including a remake of Monty Norman’s theme, classical selections there, and of all things, music from Lawrence of Arabia for a scene in the Sahara desert. I expected better of you, EON Productions.

The Opening Credits: Most of the shots in the opening credits show silhouette-Bond and/or silhouette-Anya doing spy stuff, primarily atop backgrounds of smoke and coloured lights. The technical aspects of the effects started to show their age right out of the gate, but in terms of content, it fits with the detente theme of not only the song, but the entire screenplay. 4 out of 5.

The Novel: Unlike the other novels in the James Bond series, 1962's The Spy Who Loved Me was more of a romance drama. The main character and narrator was a Canadian woman named Vivienne Michel, who gets roughed up at a motel in upstate New York, only to be rescued by a passing-by Bond. And depending on what you were expecting, it sucked. Apparently, Ian Fleming shared my viewpoint: he left orders that only the name could be used for a film. To that, I say: good on ya, mate. On the plus side, the two thugs in the book provided the basis for Sandor and Jaws, two of this movie's henchmen. Fun Fact: Because of the change in plot, this was the first movie to get its own novelisation, written by Christopher Wood.

The Plot: Our movie starts with a British submarine getting captured by a giant tanker. 007 is called back from a mission in Austria, where he makes a ski-bound getaway from Soviet pursuants. Cue opening credits. We cut back to the KGB headquarters, where Major Anya Amasova, agent XXX, is instructed to investigate the similar disappearance of a Russian submarine. Meanwhile, Bond gets his mission: the plans for a submarine tracking system have been leaked onto the market, and Bond follows lead after lead in Egypt until bumping into Amasova, working on the same case. After an auction gone awry, she recovers a microfilm of the plans from Jaws, an assassin, and takes off without Bond.

007 returns to MI6's field base, only to discover Anya and her boss, General Gogol of the KGB, who have decided to work together with the British. Together, they identify the culprit: shipping magnate Karl Stromberg, whom Jaws happens to work for. From the Italian island of Sardinia, Bond and Amasova arrange for a meeting with Stromberg at his offshore Atlantis base, where they see a model of his new supertanker, the Liparus. The couple then conduct an underwater drive-by of Atlantis in Bond's new submarine/car, and learn from MI6 that the Liparus has never docked at any known port, raising their suspicions. Also, remember that scene in Austria? Turns out Bond killed a man who was Anya's boyfriend, so she makes a promise to kill Bond in turn upon the success of their mission.

The two then join up with an American submarine, which in turn gets captured by the Liparus. The crew is taken prisoner, and Stromberg reveals his plan - have the other two submarines nuke New York City and Moscow, inciting global thermonuclear war and forcing civilisation to retreat in his undersea communities - before leaving with Anya. Bond rescues and rallies the other sub crews, breaks into the control room, and re-programs the two subs to target each other. The day is saved, but Bond convinces the American commander to let him infiltrate the Atlantis base to rescue Anya. There, he kills Stromberg, fends off Jaws, and finds the girl. Together, they escape in a pod as the Americans torpedo the base. She reminds 007 of her promise, but instead of killing him, reveals a change of heart, and together the two have a "joint summit" beneath the sheets. You are now free to turn off your TV.

You may have noticed that the plot to this movie is basically recycled from the adaptation of You Only Live Twice. Then again, if you'll recall the Novel section of this review, you'll realise that this was not only an enforced move, but a highly welcome decision. 4 out of 5.

The Call: 90% (A-)

IchigoRyu will return in
For Your Eyes Only (?)