Southern Man

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Top Six Bond Movies

Southern Man is a longtime Bond fan, having read all of the Ian Fleming novels as a youth, collected many of the post-Fleming novels, and seen all of the films many, many times. And since one of his favorites has been spinning in the DVD player for most of the day, it's time for Southern Man's list of the Best Six James Bond Movies Ever. And, yes, Southern Man will include every actor who played our favorite secret agent...

(6) ...including George Lazenby, who had but one outing as Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the longest and one of the more interesting of the films. Lazenby is not a critical favorite, but Southern Man thought he did just fine. The action sequences and Bond-in-love plots worked together nicely. And even though we all knew that Bond couldn't stay married for long, the ending was still an unexpected and emotional twist.

(5) It's not that Pierce Brosnan was a poor Bond - he was fine - but he was saddled with some of the silliest scripts and poorest direction of the series. That said, Southern Man selects Goldeneye as Brosnan's entry on the list. Thrilling action, great one-liners, and a fine interrogation scene put this one "ona topp."

(4) While Southern Man rather liked them all, his favorite of the Roger Moore films is The Spy Who Loved Me, with the lovely Barbara Bach as Russian agent XXX and Richard Kiel as the sinister Jaws, a wonderfully over-the-top villian, a submarine-hijacking supertanker, and that fabulous Lotus.

(3) How does one select the best Bond performance of the iconic Sean Connery? Southern Man opts for Thunderball, with its fine underwater sequences, beautiful locations, and the ultimate supervillian Blofeld, who plots, rewards, and kills with the same faceless monotone.

(2) For a good long while Southern Man's favorite was Timothy Dalton's second outing as Bond in License to Kill, in which we see a particularly ruthless vision of the secret agent as he exacts revenge for the death of a close friend. Bonuses include a villian who, for once, doesn't want to rule the entire world (just his little corner of it) and a fine in-the-field performance by Desmond Llewelyn as Q. To Southern Man, this film is proof that Dalton had the potential of being every bit as great a Bond as Connery.

(1) Casino Royal, in which Daniel Craig reboots the series, is firmly in first place. This film has everything - an amazingly physical Bond, tense drama, heart-pounding action, superb soundtrack - and the closing sequence is probably the best ninety seconds of Bond on film. This film sets a bar that will be most difficult to surpass. The sequel Quantum of Solace didn't even come close.

Sadly, none of these include Southern Man's favorite Bond one-liner. From Dr. No...

"That's a Smith and Wesson, and you've had your six."