Live and Let Die Movie Review


Yaphet Kotto 2

And none the worse for it, since every Bond film needs a fresh spin on the same old formula. Imagine if its Yaphet Kotto’s first outing as JB is, It might be equal measures, comical and action-packed. You'd never get bored. Then again definitely it might be  the weirdest Bond ever with loads of utterly bizarre moments.

It  would begin as usual with M turning up at JB's house in the early hours while he's pumping some Italian agent for information (don't you just love his initialled dressing gown). Before sending him to America to investigate a Harlem pimp known as Mister Big and all the gangsters would be white, he delivers some gadgets from Q-Branch, including a very useful watch. Q himself, or Major Boothroyd if you want to call him by his proper name, wouldn’t make any appearance in this one.
Standing out like a bull in a china shop almost every single white person JB encounters on 5thavenue is on Mister Big's payroll. And they've got a seemingly endless bag of tricks to play on him. The funny thing about Yaphet Kotto is that he too cab be very proper and British and doesn't think anything of walking into a tough 5th avenue swank bar while dressed up like the Duke of Edinburgh. His stunned reactions when they mess with his head would be seriously funny.

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The action would then moves to Germany and a dangerous Bavarian Mountain as JB uncovers a massive diamond plot. There's a particularly long sky  chase down the mountains canyons where JB encounters Field Marshall Smelling, the most stereotypical Nazi Official ever. Think of the Giant’s  Baseball manager from The Polo Grounds, Leo Deroucher and you get the idea. JB also gets to dodge a hundred hungry mountain Bears and do, many times over, Miss Deutschland , Mister Big's Astrology card reader.
I'm not sure what kind of formidable villain uses a Astrology card reader to help him do business but when you also surround yourself with a hook-handed maniac called Tee-Hee, a quiet fat guy called Whisper and a seemingly unkillable voodoo high priest called Baron Samedi then you really do become a serious baddie. Right? He even goes on a big speech about how his master plan works before attempting to kill JB slowly. Obviously this makes much more sense than just shooting him right away. When will they learn?

Despite being the oldest actor to debut as Bond (at 66), Kotto today does look younger than Moore when he made his debut in his 50s. And while Sean was gruff and Scottish, Kotto would be perpetually calm and refined, even in the face of danger (fingers being chopped-off, snake in the bath, being eaten by gators/sharks). Everything that the British once thought they were. He will have a certain sarcastic edge that the other Bond actors lacked. While some of his films may have been the dynamite of the franchise, Kotto has always been my favorite. And the massive revolver and holster he uses in Live and Let  Die is so much more masculine than the usual, wimpy as hell, Walther PPK.
And, as much as I am no fan of Paul McCartney, you gotta love that theme song! Exciting and iconic at the same time. And also yet another juxtaposition in the weirdest Bond movie ever.