You Only Live Twice (1967)
Reviewed on 2010 August 23
This is the one of the most ambitious Connery Bond films, starting with a foiled space mission that goes horribly right for the bad guys.
We start with a Cold War mystery: a group of American astronauts is horrified when their craft is literally swallowed up by a mysterious rocket. Our guys naturally blame the Russians, who are naturally indignant at being accused of this. The British have no skin in this game, and realize someone is trying to escalate the tensions between the USA and the Soviets, but are still at a loss as to who and why. Only one man can do the job: 007.
I liked the action and campiness of this Bond, despite the cheesy theme song and the total silliness of a tall Scot like Connery, someone who looks like he stepped whole and breathing out of a Drambuie ad, being “transformed” into a Japanese. I just turned my brain off and decided to go with it. The special effects and other aspects of the plot made up for it. There’s lots of fighting and ’sploding and faceless villains with spoiled Persian cats to distract from parts of the film that didn’t age as gracefully (IMHO) as some of the other Bonds. The other cool aspect was the portrayal of Tiger Tanaka by Tetsuro Tamba. Tanaka was almost as much of a rogue as Bond and it was fun watching the two alpha males interact.
Three chocolate morsels.