Sean Kottke's Reviews > The Man With the Golden Gun
The Man With the Golden Gun (James Bond, #13)
by Ian Fleming
by Ian Fleming
The least satisfying of Fleming's Bond books, likely because it wasn't quite done when the author died. Bond, presumed dead after the climax of You Only Live Twice but brainwashed by the KGB, reappears and attempts to assassinate M. Re-programmed, Bond is then sent on a purportedly low stakes assignment, to eliminate the flamboyant criminal Scaramanga, who has become inconvenient to MI-6. A plot involving American gangsters teaming up with the KGB to commit all manner of organized crime and commodities market manipulation is uncovered, with gun-fetishist Scaramanga in the center. The action is limited, and as distinctive a villain as Scaramanga is, he doesn't really get to do much. Ho hum. The movie had a chance to improve on the source material, with the always awesome Christopher Lee as Scaramanga, but by playing so much for laughs (like the improbable return of redneck sheriff JW Pepper from Live and Let Die) and not giving Scaramanga a cleverly ominous evil scheme (he steals solar power technology to create ... a laser gun), it's as weak an entry in the film canon as the book is in Fleming's library. Both incarnations have a lot of set-up (I especially like Scaramanga's surreal fun-house lair in the movie), with weak pay-offs.
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