Take a Drink: for shameless product placement
Take a Drink: every time diamonds are mentioned
Do a Shot: for puns and/or double entendre
Do a Shot: whenever Mr. Wint & Mr. Kidd say each other’s name
By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Four Beers) –
Freshly returned from a successful revenge mission to kill his nemesis Blofeld, British secret agent James Bond (Sean Connery) is assigned to investigate and uncover the source of a diamond smuggling ring. Large amounts of diamonds have disappeared, and are being stockpiled by an unknown organization, as they have not been re-entering the markets anywhere. Bond’s fact-finding takes him from Amsterdam to Las Vegas, Nevada where he discovers yet another nefarious world-domination plot, headed by none other than Blofeld.
Following the relative box office disappointment of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, in which George Lazenby replaced Sean Connery as James Bond, Producer Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli decided to go back to the well. Whereas OHMSS attempted to inject more human drama and character building into the franchise, Broccoli resolved to bring Sean Connery back to the series, and to return the films to the campy tone which brought it so much success financially.
On the plus side of things, Sean Connery has returned with aplomb, and while his wig is more obvious with each passing minute, his performance is as solid as ever. The chief flaw of OHMSS was George Lazenby’s somewhat directionless performance, which was a solid in dramatic moments, but lacked the fiery flair and cultured cool that Connery brought to the mix.
Diamonds are Forever also features perhaps my favorite evil henchman characters of the Bond franchise; Mr. Wint & Mr. Kidd (Played by Donald Glover and Putter Smith, respectively). Mr. Wint & Mr. Kidd are an inseparable couple of assassins (and implied lovers) who take cynical pleasure in their work.
No-one could accuse these characters of being realistic or grounded, but they are a hell of a lot of fun to watch. A bit of trivia for movie geeks out there; Donald Glover is actor Crispin Glover’s father
And suddenly the unsettled feeling you got from Mr. Wint’s creepy gaze makes total sense, doesn’t it?
A strange mix of high and low points, Diamonds are Forever divides Bond movie fans sharply (as one look at the comments section of IMDB quickly reveals). After the dour OHMSS, the decision to bring humor back to the series is certainly relieving, though this decision feels cynical, and ultimately feels like all the dramatic accomplishments of the prior film were being dismissed by its creators.
It doesn’t help that the camp level was put into overdrive. Among the film’s campy moments is an inference to faking the moon-landing, followed by an outrageous chase in which Bond rides in a shittiest-looking moon buggy.
The film bogs down horribly in the 2nd act, which feels like an increasingly inane and unconnected series of scenes without any payoff. While Las Vegas would seemingly be the ideal place for James Bond to shine, the film steers him away from the card tables, and towards various family-friendly tourist attractions, such as in the extended Circus-Circus Casino sequence (which feels more like an advertisement than a plot device).
Actress Lana Wood plays Bond Girl “Plenty O’Toole”, who might be the single worst performance in a Bond film until Denise Richards’ “Christmas Jones” performance in The World is not Enough almost 30 years later. It is thankfully a short sequence, but the stilted dialogue delivery and totally dispensable nature of the film leaves an indelible impression.
A more suitable title would be Diamonds are forever: or, how I learned to Stop worrying and love the Camp. Recommended for Die-Hard Bond fans only.
Oh yes, and Jimmy Dean, the Sausage King is in this movie, playing a Howard Hughesque character…