Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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Aug 2021

  • Skyfall (2012) Bond film no. 23, Daniel Craig’s third. I watched this in the theaters back in 2012, so this is the last rewatch of my James Bond run. Back then my main complaint was that Bond’s plan in the last thirty minutes of the movie was terrible. The same complaint stands even now, especially given the eventual outcome of that plan. Make no mistake: the entire defending the house sequence is one of the best things about the movie from an action standpoint, but tactically it was terrible.

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  • Quantum of Solace

    Bond film no. 22, Daniel Craig’s second outing. I actually watched this back in 2008, but apparently I wasn’t super impressed (and I wish I wrote more back then lol). I suspect I didn’t really like it because this movie is actually a direct sequel to Casino Royale which I hadn’t seen until this year. It picks up on several hanging plot threads, and some of the characters appear again, and Bond in this film is primarily motivated by anger over the events of the previous film.

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Jul 2021

  • Some stuff I’ve watched lately. Spoilers for Gunpowder Milkshake and MotU: Revelation are marked. Casino Royale (2006) Bond film no. 21, and the first for Daniel Craig. The final era in this James Bond run, looking forward to it. Casino Royale is new to me, but I’ve seen two of Craig’s Bond films, so I have an idea of what to expect: a more serious and much less campy James Bond, grim and determined.

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  • I used to do these “Watching Lately” posts to talk about movies/tv/books I’d recently consumed, but for a while I folded up the reviews into the weeknotes and sometimes via short notes but the reviews have been getting longer so I guess I’m bring the “Watching Lately” tag and series of posts back. Die Another Day (2002) Bond film no. 20 and Brosnan’s final appearance. The main question for me going in was: have I actually watched this before in the theatre?

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  • Warning: Spoilers for the just-ended season of Loki at the end of this. I have a spoiler-free review of that if you’d like. The World Is Not Enough (1999) Bond film no. 19 and Brosnan’s third. Pretty sure I saw this in the theaters when it came out, but for the life of me could not recall any of the plot details at all. Turns out it was because the plot was a bit unnecessarily convoluted.

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  • Tomorrow Never Dies

    Last night I watched Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). Bond film no. 18 and Brosnan’s second. Also the first one I actually saw in theaters when it came out so officially my first rewatch! That said, it was 24 years ago so while I remember the general overarching plot (Jonathan Pryce playing a multibillionaire media mogul inciting a war between China and the UK to profit off the news), I have forgotten many of the finer details.

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  • Goldeneye (1995)

    The Bond film reviews were starting to get a bit long for Twitter/notes, so a full blog post it is. Goldeneye (1995). Bond film no. 17 and first for Brosnan. The films are starting to look “modern”, but might just be because this is the first Bond film to come out after I graduated high school and that’s what I see as “modern”. I didn’t see this in theaters when it first came out though.

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  • License to Kill (1989): Bond film no 16, Dalton’s second and last outing is much darker and yet weaker than the first one. The first one where Bond goes rogue, driven by vengeance instead of duty. Unremarkable theme song. Villain is a drug smuggler; I guess with the collapse of the USSR they couldn’t have another Russia-centered plot. More actors look familiar as we near the 90s. Notable are a young Benicio del Toro playing a henchman and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (known for playing Shang Tsung. Dalton’s performance is mixed, and for some reason he reminds me of Sir Patrick Stewart in some scenes. Too bad he couldn’t have had a better sendoff as Bond.

  • The Living Daylights (1987): Bond film no. 15 and first of only two Dalton entries. More 80s music theme song, this time by A-ha. Much more serious in tone compared to Connery / Moore. John Rhys-Davies is here, years before Sliders or LOTR. No sci-fi mad scientist stuff this time, straight-up spy stuff (more or less). Assassinations, defections, Russia’s internal politics, Afghan rebels, weapons, smuggling, drug deals, faked deaths, etc. Might be a tiny bit too long. Surprisingly, I liked this one!

Jun 2021

  • Watched A View To A Kill (1985), Bond film no. 14. Moore is showing his age, luckily this is his last entry. Very 80s theme song by Duran Duran. Christopher Walken is here, as a Bond villain with a plan straight out of Superman (1978). Tanya Roberts plays a young Bond girl just 14 years before playing a middle-aged mom on That 70s Show. Random young Dolph Lundgren cameo! Kind of a ridiculous street chase scene through San Francisco. Overall not the best of Moore’s run.

  • Yesterday I saw Octopussy (1983), Bond film no. 13. Another grounded entry with no fantastical elements, with the plot centered around geopolitical concerns. Some interesting action sequences, but overall, but I found most of the movie unremarkable. India shown as an exotic place (w/c I suppose it was to Westerners at that time) with elephants and firebreathers and whatnot all over. There was one scene where the bad guy appears to have broken a genuine Faberge egg but no one said anything lol.

  • For Your Eyes Only (1981): Bond film no. 12. After the sci-fi fantasy of Moonraker, this one is more grounded and down-to-Earth, a callback to early Connery adventures. No megamalomaniacs to defeat, just foreign agents and mercs. The opening sequence pays homage to the earlier pre-Moore films, acknowledging the death of Tracy Bond and killing off a villain that looks suspiciously like arch-nemesis Blofeld. The opening song is pretty good. The rest of the film was ok, if a bit forgettable. I liked the rock climbing scene, but the ski chase and car chases felt like things we’ve seen before. Also, Moore is starting to show his age.

    Melina Havelock (portrayed by Carole Bouquet) reminded me a lot of DC’s Huntress - a crossbow-wielding woman out for revenge

  • Watched Moonraker (1979). Spectacular opening sequence. Villain reminds me of Tyrion Lannister. California -> Venice -> Rio de Janeiro. Mandatory canal chase while in Venice, obviously. Lots of of product placement. A bad guy tried to ambush 007 with a KENDO STICK. Have they heard of guns? Comically indestructible assassin Jaws appears again, and actually has a character arc this time. First half of the movie was kind of meh, but the last third of the film with the space station and the laser battles and the ridiculous villain plan kind of won me over with how campy it all was.

May 2021

  • Bond film no. 10: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). The best Moore installment so far. Excellent opening sequence. Austria; Cairo, Egypt; Sardinia, Italy. 007 and Triple-X have great chemistry. Jaws has to be the most unstoppable Bond villain / henchman. Stromberg’s Atlantis reminds me of the Legion of Doom’s base in the old Superfriends cartoon. Actually, I think his evil plan might be the best one so far as well.I wonder if I can get through the rest of these before No Time to Die actually comes out lol.

  • Bond movie no. 9: The Man With The Golden Gun (1974). Christopher Lee was a Bond villain! Beirut, Macau, Hong Kong, Bangkok. An Asian girl is introduced just for the pun in her name. Comic relief southern sheriff dude is back from the previous film. Final fight scene with Nick Nack was ridiculous. As per usual, Bond gets captured and the bad guy explains everything. Still not used to Roger Moore in the role.

Apr 2021

  • Bond film no. 8: Live and Let Die (1973).

    Moore feels a lot more “generic white guy” than Connery was. Maybe I just need to get used to him. Young Jane Seymour is here! There’s a bayou chase scene here that goes on just a bit too long and had superfluous cop characters. All the voodoo stuff felt weirdly out of place. There’s a character named Tee Hee! Most ridiculous villain death so far.

  • Bond movie no. 7: Diamonds are Forever (1971). Connery’s hair starting to go a bit gray in his last appearance. More Blofeld than I’d expected (harhar). Space laser! Plenty O’Toole seemed pointless, there just to die. A lot of cheesy lines from the assassin henchment.

    These movies would be a lot shorter if they just shot Bond whenever they caught him. The action scenes in all these old Bond films always feel so jarring compared to modern ones. Limited by the technology of their time I guess.

  • Bond movie no. 6: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). Only Lazenby appearance. He was fine, I suppose. Tracy probably best Bond girl so far. I liked the ski scenes more than Thunderball’s underwater scenes.

    Loose continuity. Was confused by Blofeld not recognizing Bond after they already met in the previous movie. Apparently, the novel order was reversed. Also, did Bond just leave him stuck in a tree assuming he was dead after hunting him relentlessly?

Mar 2021

  • Bond movie no. 5: You Only Live Twice (1967). Such Japan. Much wow. Cringe at trying to pass Bond off as Japanese. Introduction of secret volcano lair trope. Ninjas with guns! First screen appearance of the head of SPECTRE, inspiration for Dr Evil.

    That endgame scene of ninjas invading the secret volcano lair reminded me of the Simpsons episode You Only Move Twice. Bond’s “wife” never named despite being only Bond girl to survive the movie.

  • Bond movie no. 4: Thunderball (1965). This is the first one I didn’t like very much. Too many boring/confusing underwater parts. There’s a jetpack! Wasn’t there an atomic bomb aboard that boat when it exploded? And did they just leave the guy who helped Domino escape floating alone in the ocean?

  • Bond movie no. 3: Goldfinger (1964). Lot of the classic Bond tropes introduced. Bad guy’s plan was actually pretty good, even had the escape contingency. Disappointed he did not have an actual gold finger. Great fight between Bond and Oddjob.

  • Haven’t seen any of the pre-Brosnan Bond films, so I started today with Dr No (1962). Pretty good, but if this were a modern film, I’d have expected some kind of plot twist with Honey Rider, like maybe she would have turned out to be the actual Dr No