Having never been a fan of Roger Moore's take on Bond, I have to say that, with the exception of Live And Let Die, I barely remembered the likes of The Spy Who Loved Me or For Your Eyes Only. So revisiting those was a bit of a must.
The Spy Who Loved Me is Moore's fourth movie and as such lacks the oomph and general quality of the first couple of outings but it does fit into the pre-Moonraker category not only literally (it IS just before Moonraker :P) but also in terms of it being before Moore's films started getting really, groaningly ridiculous. This one sees Bond face a nutty villain with an underwater/overwater lair who enjoys sending people through an elevator down to a shark-infested pool of death Team America's Kim Jong Il-style. 007 is joined by Russian Agent XXX who is played not by Vin Diesel but Barbara Bach, queen of B movies and... whatever Caveman was meant to be. Sadly, she really is the weakest link in this movie performance-wise making her character kinda hard to really take to, even with those gratuitously skimpy outfits.
It's the villains that really make this movie with Curt Jurgens' Karl Stromberg a man whose plan it is to destroy the entire world in order to start a new world... under the sea.
UNDER. THE. SEA.
Now THAT's what I call a megalomaniac!
Who wants to live under the sea?! EVERYTHING is on land! And it's crazy-wet down there... Besides, he's gonna need people to build this idiotic-ass dream, way more people than however many live in his big spider-shaped lair, so killing everyone doesn't strike me as the best move. I also wonder why he didn't just buy an island or something and just build his "Atlantis" around it straight-away instead of breaking our balls with his missiles and shit. Like, try out a small Atlantis before building the real thing? There are so many things wrong with that plan it's actually too much fun to list them all so I'll spare ya. The Spy Who Loved Me is also the first appearance of Jaws (Richard Kiel), the henchman to end all henchmen: a very, very tall dude with metal teeth and a very limited vocabulary. He plays out a lot like a vampire, weirdly enough, biting people's necks to kill them, and often gets outsmarted by Bond but in the end Jaws is an undefeatable force even a shark couldn't stop.
The film itself is ok, its third act feeling a tad too long but otherwise it's unlikely you'll get too bored with this one. I mean, not much happens plot-wise when you think about it but the villains really make it worthwhile and Moore does well despite the corny one-liners, silly ski-suits, bad bluescreen effects and clunky fight scenes. He is given a fun car/submarine to play with, the film does build-up to a decent climax which at least feels big in scale and the score is disco-rrific: the most 70's you'll ever hear that Bond theme. I like it. Oh, I should also mention Carly Simon's chillaxed theme which is fine in itself but makes a bit of a soporific Bond song, add to that silhouetted 007s on trampolines in the background and you've got yourself one random opening title sequence.
Overall, The Spy Who Loved Me may be one of Moore's less memorable titles but definitely not one of his worst. It actually has a lot going for it and if it weren't for its few flaws it could have really stood out as one of his best. As it stands, though, this is a fun little Bond flick that simply shouldn't be taken too seriously and should just be enjoyed for what it is: the last decent one before Moonraker (the next decent one after that being A View To A Kill, a million years later).
Silly and dated but not bad.