Blu-ray review: The Man with the Golden Gun

Christopher Lee and Roger Moore star in The Man with the Golden Gun
Roger Moore stars in The Man with the Golden Gun.
Roger Moore stars in The Man with the Golden Gun.

The Man with the Golden Gun (MGM Home Entertainment, $34.98) Normally a line-up featuring a French dwarf, two Sumo wrestlers, an assassin with three nipples and secret agent would be an Austin Powers sequel. Normally.

The Man with the Golden Gun is, in fact, the ninth James Bond movie. Released in 1974, this fun secret agent romp verges on campy, which makes it endearing, while the rather odd story is wholly entertaining.

The man “With the Golden Gun” is the too hip Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee). The plot finds the villainous Scaramanage and the 007 I grew up with, Roger Moore, tangling over some cockamamie solar energy device while knocking a few of the film’s ladies around a bit.

This is classic Bond right down to the testosterone driven romantic interludes and high speed chases that, thanks to the computer wizardry we are used to these days, gives the film a bit of dated look.

The goods: Hervé Villechaize is a riot as Scaramanga’s servant Nick Nack. His feistiness, accent and facial expressions nearly turn the 007 film into a farce. Also, actress Maud Adams, as ill fated femme fatale Andrea Anders, is gorgeous.

The bads: I’m not sure how much the digital crispness of the Blu-ray format adds to the presentation here. For sure, the 1974 movie has been cleaned frame by frames using the Lowrey Digital Restoration Process and has never looked better. However, the transfer to Blu-ray is just not as eye popping as I expected.

Also, Roger Moore is a bit tame here. With Daniel Craig in the Bond driver’s seat these days, routinely getting beaten to a bloody pulp, Mr. Moore sort of falls into Matt Helm territory.

Also, let’s not forget the horrible theme song sung by Lulu.

The mandatory extras: If you already own the Ultimate Edition DVD of the film then you already have all of the extras.

For the new viewers, you’ll get two commentary tracks, one with director Guy Hamilton and another with Sir Roger Moore. Both are home runs for the Bond nostalgia buff. Sir Roger offers some great memories about his stint as Bond and throws in nuggets like Jack Palance was first considered for the role of Skaramunga.

Also, a high-def feature Double-O stuntmen looks at some of the acrobatics performed by real (not computer generated) humans from many of the Bond films.

Above and beyond: A welcomed rehash of the Ultimate Edition is the 007 Mission Control feature. It gives the fan an easy navigation system to immediately access clips starring his favorite the villains, Bond women and locations from the film, to name a few of the sections.

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