June 17, 1985 12:00 PM

The strain is starting to show on 007. When it comes to reeling off a sly Bondism, Roger Moore, at 57, is as smooth as ever; the same can’t be said, however, for either his skin or his gait. There’s nothing that says James Bond can’t have a wrinkle or two or lose that extra step, but this script (unlike Sean Connery’s for Never Say Never Again in 1983) doesn’t allow for such intrusions of reality. Bond is apparently supposed to be as ageless as ever. Screenwriters Richard Maibaum and Michael Wilson seem to be wearing out a little too, which is understandable since they’ve worked on 11 Bond films between them (Maibaum on all 11). The opening sequence, always a Bond highlight, is unexceptional. It features a snow sequence far too much like the dazzling chase that began The Spy Who Loved Me and inferior to it. This film also has little in the way of new gimmicks or hardware, and even its best action scene, a chase involving a fire truck, pales beside memories of the beautifully planned and photographed boat pursuit in Live and Let Die. Director John (For Your Eyes Only) Glen knows a great location when he sees one—Paris and San Francisco, to name a couple—but has a harder time striking sparks with his cast. One exception is cabaret singer Grace (Conan the Destroyer) Jones, who, with her panther’s look, makes an ideal villain—in the class with Gert Frobe as Goldfinger or Richard Kiel as Jaws. Ex-Charlie’s Angel Tanya Roberts shows far less vitality as Moore’s romantic interest. True, this performance is a step up from her last movie, Sheena. But then, it would be a step up from that to be the understudy of the pointer-outer of prizes on Wheel of Fortune. Roberts still hasn’t shaken her New York accent, and she still has trouble with any line more complex than “Look out, James!” Christopher (Brainstorm) Walken is amusingly laconic as the main villain—a standard psychopathic Bond foe, in this case one who is out to corner the world microchip market. But this movie drags in too many places, and it would be a shame to let the Bond films deteriorate like a heavyweight fighter who refuses to admit he’s losing it. Maybe longtime 007 producer Albert Broccoli, 76, who seems to be turning the reins over to Wilson (his stepson), should just let Bond retire to Monte Carlo and come up with a younger successor. Surely over the years James managed to sire a child or two who could take over the family business and its license to kill, smooch and quip so entertainingly. (PG)

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