Bond joins a circus ...
Distributed by MGM/UA Home Video
Following his improved outing in For Your Eyes Only goes back to some bad habits in this adventure. The opening pre-title sequence has Bond in Latin America trying to destroy a plane factory. To do this he impersonates an officer called Toro ( translated bull - which describes some of this story ) but he is captured. He escapes with the aid of a lovely distraction and jumps into his small AcroStar plane which avoids many attacking missiles like You Only ...'s Little Nellie. After destroying the factory Bond pit-stops at a petrol station to ask for a refill, enter titles with Rita Coolridge's All Time High theme tune ( I'm still waiting for somebody to write "he entwined me like an Octopussy" )
The main story opens with the death of 009 in East Berlin and his handy recovery of a Fabergé egg. Back in London, Robert Brown as the new M along with the Minister ( Geoffrey Keen again ) instructs 007 to visit Sotheby's for an auction of 'a property of a lady'. Enter another of those big Bond sets, a Russian War Room where familiar General Gogol ( Walter Gotell ) is being upstaged by General Orlov ( Steven Berkoff ) who wants to invade Europe.
At the auction Bond switches the famous egg which Orlov desperately needs back and allows the villain Kamal Khan ( played by Louis Jordan ) to outbid him. Jourdan as a villain doesn't work for me and proves not very menacing. Back at base, M gives James a ticking off and sends him off to India ( more Air Miles ! ).
On arrival Vijay ( tennis star Vijay Amritraj )
plays a welcoming tune - the Bond Theme. 007 meets up again with Khan at the hotel who is cheating with the dice. So James takes over and uses his opponent's dice to seek revenge ( a bit like with Jill in Goldfinger ). His henchman, Gobinda ( Kabir Bedi ) does an Indian version of Oddjob by crushing the dice ( instead of a golf-ball ). A souped up 3 wheel taxi chase follows through the crowded streets but played mainly for laughs and one-liners with Vijay's backhand skills fully used. More rantings from Q and more gadgets ( poison pen and another watch - this one with a tv ) aided by Smithers.
Another outside hotel dinner ( remember with Goodnight in The Man .. ) with the beautiful Magda ( Kristina Wayborn ) who seems to delivers all her lines in a very melodramatic fashion. Bond immediately 'beds' her ( only 2 in this movie ) with his usual charm but she later escapes with help from her Indian dress, with the real egg for Khan.
Finally after a rear glimpse, we are finally introduced to the mysterious Octopussy of the tale, played by The Man ..'s Maud Adams. Yet again Octopussy knows of our 'secret' agent due to his involvement with her late father - nice use of inserting Fleming's short story. She turns out to be another smuggler like For Your..'s Columbo but this time using her circus troupe as a cover. Of course after escaping Khan, James joins forces with her. What follows is a hunt in the jungle ( with obligatory Tarzan chant ), more gadgets, more fights on and above a train and another chase to stop a nuclear bomb ( see Goldfinger ). Despite good car & plane stunts for our hero this is Bond OTT ( over the top e.g. the Union Jack Balloon compared to the parachute in The Spy .., at least the latter had some style ).
Alas not the best Bond/Moore movie but not the worst, our Rog seems to be in one-liner heaven in this one with plenty of beautiful girls around to add to the scenery. Also Barry's sub-standard score never highlights the picturesque Indian locations unlike his You Only .. Japanese adapted score.
Considering this was released in opposition to Connery's Never Say Never Again, this Cold-War plot ponders along at no great pace and is only given a boost by the aforementioned stunts which are usually laced with jokes. Yet another boat ending like The Man .. with Bond getting the girl in bed - despite his injury. Roger's entertaining reign is almost at its end.
In 2006 MGM Home Entertainment released the James Bond Ultimate Edition 2-Disc DVD set of each of the 20 movies. The format remains the same with disc one having the digitally restored movie and disc two with the extras - Declassified: MI6 Vault, 007 Mission Control, Mission Dossier, Ministry of Propaganda & Image Database. Each menu has a Bond lookalike silhouette, shooting girls, casino chips & cards and gun barrels incorporating photos & music from the movie. A regular feature tucked away in 007 Mission Control with movie snips is a section called Exotic Locations narrated by Maud Octopussy Adams about the filming locations & their history.
Purchased as part of a Roger Moore Ultimate Edition set, each movie comes within smaller disc folders and alas no eight page booklet. For this disc, new audio commentary comes from Sir Roger Moore along with director John Glen. Documentaries include Designing Bond looking over the years at the work & career of Peter Lamont and the usual Inside .. doc narrated by Patrick Macnee. Propaganda section only has several similar movie trailers. The Gallery has its usual unique movie intro but with too many sections and not enough photos. Meanwhile home movies surface again this time with a fan who became an extra during the train/car chase and took his cine camera along. Other short specials include the end skydiving stunt and the jeep chase both with storyboards. Also some interesting screen testing of actor James Brolin for the role of 007. The American was flown over to UK to be seriously considered due to money haggling between Broccoli & Moore who eventually agreed to do the movie at the last minute.
So another for the Bond archives.