I just saw Live and Let Die. Oh dear.
This movie is extreme in many ways. As Moore's debut as 007, he really does a great Bond, being both suave and threatening if needed. The problem is that the writting doesn't give him that much to work with. The character of James Bond has become a living legend in-universe, and as such, everyone knows who he is. I mean, the super-secret spy being constantly under surveilance and him not really knowing is quite a clash with his character. I was expecting an "I knew you were looking at me, dear chap" during most scenes, but no, he really doesn't realize he's being watched. And this I fear is the major problem with the movie: the writting. It is all over the place. The acting in general is quite good all around for both main characters and extras, the motivations of the characters seem quite well established, but then we get to a slow pace that brings everything to a crawl, actions that should simply not have happened, and plot points that appear out of nowhere (when did they show the watch could be used as a rotating saw??). It also feels somewhat pointless, like they wanted to make a Bond movie out of a plot that really shouldn't bother him. Bond is a british spy, and the bad guy's plan only affects the US. The only reason he really has to intervene is the death of multiple british agents. Why does the bad guy kill them? Kananga has no reason to keep Bond alive, none whatsoever, and yet he tries to execute him in the most confusing of ways. I think I've complained about the villains not just shooting Bond before, but Kananga himself (disguised as Mr. Big) tells his henchmen to just kill him and be done with it! They acknowledged the problem and did nothing to solve it! That's just frustrating. There's also the fact that the last third of the movie becomes a massive cartoon. From the henchmen leaving Bond alone to be eaten by the crocodiles (just keep an eye on him, or drug him so he can't escape), to the boat speed chase through the swamp that crashes to a wedding, someone's pool, a couple of hillbilly cops... then it goes to rescue Solitaire to the old town where the whole village is celebrating a voodoo sacrifice with her, Bond appears and shoots the animatronics of the Baron Samedis, then infiltrate the very complex underground lair, where Kananga, instead of shooting them, decides to throw them into a shark pool. But not just throw them, no. They are very loosely tied to a crane and veeeeeryyyyyy slowly pulled down into the water. That kind of dumb is amazing, but it gets better, because then Bond uses his saw watch, which had never shown that could do that, get free and fight Kananga one on one. Once they end in the water, you'd think he would find his demise by shark attack, right? Karmik and cinematic, right? WRONG. Bond puts a gas bullet into Kananga's mouth while fighting, which INFLATES KANANGA TO THE POINT OF MAKING HIM FLOAT IN THE AIR AND EXPLODE! What. the. fuck. It thew me for a loop, for sure, but I'm not sure if it works in the logic of the movie.
Also, about the elephant in the room. The setup is quite colourful and entertaining, and I was not really bothered with the 70's blackspolitation style the movie decides to go. It's much more disconcerting the more fantastic elements of the film, like the card reading powers of Solitaire, or the out of the blue appeareance of the Baron at the very end of the film. I don't think James Bond and the mystical work together, and I'll be happy if they just sweep this under the carpet.
Overall, this got better as it went along, but it is definitively a so bad it's good movie. A solid 6/10. While other Bond flicks are better put together films, this one is a mess, but it has just enough elements to make it worthwile.