Digging Double Oh Seven: Moonraker (1979)

In an effort to make up for missing a few days of DDOS thanks to sickness I decided to watch another Bond flick today: Moonraker. It’s funny how similar Moonraker is to The Spy Who Loved Me, but I wound up liking this movie a lot more. The flick starts with Bond using a parachute (the red and yellow color scheme is even the same), Jaws is in it, he finds himself entwined with a secret agent from another country, the villain wants to kill LOTS of people and the flick ends with Bond’s sexual conquest being spotted by both of their superiors. And yet, I dug it, mostly because Holly Goodhead doesn’t flippantly decided to bed with the guy who killed the guy she was dating. In fact, I get the feeling that she’s actually using her wiles in much the same way as Bond is: for the good of job. She also seems to hold her own better than Agent XXX ever did in the previous flick.

As I mentioned, the film opens with yet another parachute sequence, but this one features Bond jumping out of a crashing plane without a parachute in an effort to catch up with an assailant who already jumped and steal his chute. Again, the stunt looks freaking real because dudes were really jumping out of planes with thin chutes under their sport coats so it looked like they were jumping without them. It’s pretty sick. However, I hate how Jaws survives falling out of a plane and landing on a circus. I know these movies aren’t based in super-realism (at least not until Casino Royale) but that got under my skin a bit. Oh, the flick also has a butt ton of space fights, which is pretty awesome in addition to TWO boat chases, one of which involves a motorized gondola that turns into a hovercraft. I love that stuff. Plus the tram fight! So many moments of awesomeness!

And man, how crazy is Drax’s plan? He trained a new master race, built a space station to house them and devised a plan that would kill only the people on Earth so him and his peeps could come back and restart the Earth. Intense. Speaking of villains, did you know that Jaws turns into a good guy and finds love in this movie because kids were writing to the producers and asking for such a change? Ridonc! Good for him though. I guess landing on a circus and meeting a cute blond has a tendency to change one’s worldview.

CANNONBALL! 2

2008-06-06
2:41:05 am

Cannonball Run II (1984)

Starring Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jamie Farr, Marilu Henner, Telly Savalas, Shirley MacLaine, Jackie Chan, Tim Conway, Sid Caesar, Tony Danza, Richard Kiel, Don Knotts, Ricardo Montalban, Jim Nabors, Charles Nelson Reilly, Frank Sinatra, Joe Theismann and even Cheech Marin

Directed by Hal Needham

Written by Hal Needham, Albert S. Ruddy & Harvey Miller

Hey, remember how much I like Cannonball Run? Welllll, I can’t necessarily throw my hat in the ring completely for its sequel. First of all, everyone feels a lot older, even though this movie was only shot 3 years after the original. The element of fun and wackiness is still there, but it definitely seems watered down. But there are still great moments like the interactions between Jackie Chand and Richard Kiel (Jaws, to most folks). Also, you get to see Jaws fight Sid Caesar and Kojak’s Telly Savalas.

The basic plot is that Jaime Farr, who plays a shiek, has a dad (Roberto Mantalban) who’s disapointed that he lost the race from the first movie, so he encourages his son to hold a new race this year that he can win. All the usual faces show up to win the million bucks that’s up for grabs, but at some point Jaime Farr gets captured by some gangsters and the Cannonballers have to roll in and save the day, which brings about another great fight scene between a bunch of great actors and some stunt men. I think I could watch a 90 year old Dean Martin punch a dude and I wouldn’t get sick of it. That guy’s awesome.

Did I mention that Frank Sinatra’s in this bad boy? I read that he filmed all his scenes by himself and they used stand ins for some of the shots, but I like seeing him around too. Have you ever seen the original Ocean’s 11? You really should, those Rat Pack fellas sure knew how to have a good time. I also highly recommend listening to the Rat Pack Live at the Sands CD. You get a great idea of how well these guys really got along. But more on the Rat Pack at another date and time.

I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this flick. It’s definitely not as good as the original, but it does still have a lot of fun elements that make it worth tossing up on your queue or renting sometime. Oh yeah, one more thing. I did a little math (which I hate doing) and came up with something a little weird. In the movie, the two main love interests for Burt and Dom and Merilu Henner and Shirley MacLaine who play dancers dressed as nuns. Well, like I said I did some math and Merilu would have been around 32 when she shot this movie, which isn’t a big deal, but Shirley was 50. And you know what? She didn’t look half bad. Just something to think about. Or not, whatever.