I find this strange, but I really enjoyed this film despite it being a low Rotten Tomatoes score of 44%. I mean I found it very weird when I looked at Rotten Tomatoes and saw that score. I expected it to be much higher than it was. It is one more example of how movies are subjective, I suppose.
In The Man with the Golden Gun, James Bond (Roger Moore) returns to action to search out an assassin named Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), a marksman who uses a golden gun and hires himself out to the highest bidder. Scaramanga lives on his own island with his manservant Nick Nack (Hervé Villechaize, best known as Tattoo from Fantasy Island).
I thought the combination of Christopher Lee and Hervé Villechaize was inspired and that they were,perhaps, the best boss/henchman combo in the Bond franchise up to this point. They were distinctly menacing and I got the feeling that Scaramanga was the equal to 007. The training pieces where Scaramanga would have Nick Nack hiring killers to “test” him were fascinating. The whole solar power plot point felt as if it did not fit with the story that they should have told. I was not interested in the search for the MacGuffin of this story, but I was into the one on one aspect between Bond and Scaramanga.
The film went further with the slapstick humor and, for the most part, it did not bother me. I am not sure that I needed to see Clifton James reprise his role of Sheriff Pepper from Live and Let Die, but it did not hurt anything either.
Some of the negative reviews I have seen are because of an unfavorable comparison of Roger Moore to Sean Connery. As I said in my last review, I grew up with Roger Moore as James Bond so I was not swayed away from his interpretation. While I do now prefer Sean Connery, I am not willing to just dismiss Moore because the two men have different styles. Moore received a lot of unnecessary hatred for his acting here and I found him to be fine. The stories being told during this stretch of time works more with Moore than it would with another Bond.
The Man with the Golden Gun was better than the reviews give it credit for and I though Christopher Lee was an excellent villain. I would have loved it if the film focused more on the rivalry between Bond and Scaramanga instead of the typical Bond plot.