007 You Only Live Twice (1967)
Plot: Agent 007 and the Japanese secret service ninja force must find and stop the true culprit of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is provoked.
Our cold opening starts out in the coldness of SPACE. NASA astronauts are about to embark on a mission. Suddenly, ANOTHER SPACECRAFT pops up and steals the NASA craft, cutting the cord to one of the astronauts, who will now be left to float around in space forever. Or until he dies. Which would probably be pretty quickly. Don't feel too bad. The USSR, USA, and UK hold a meeting about this. The US will be sending another space ship up, and if it is attacked, they'll see it as an act of war. However, the UK believes the ship came from Japan. Their man in Hong Kong is working on it now.
CUT TO: James Bond about to bang. "Why do Chinese girls taste different from all the other girls?' I guess this woman didn't like that question, since she folds up his bed, then has dudes come in and blast it with machine guns. SWERVE! James Bond is DEAD!
Title sequence is neat, with a lot of Japanese fans and lava. Dope ass song. Great sound on that guitar. Roald Dahl wrote the screen play to this. You might remember some of his other work, such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Matilda.
The story of Commander Bond's death has made the papers. Then we see Bond's naval burial. His body was then taken by two divers and delivered to a submarine. Oh shit, Bond is alive! SWERVE! And not only that, Moneypenny and M are on the sub. MI6 doesn't believe that the Japanese themselves have the means to launch such a rocket, and it is up to Bond to figure who does. Now that he's dead, hopefully people will pay less attention to him. I love that M's office on a god damn submarine is still full of wood and books. Of course, Bond took Oriental languages at Cambridge, so he doesn't need the translation book. Fucking show off.
After being shot out of the sub like a torpedo, Bond ends up in Tokyo. Great shots of mid-late 60s Tokyo. Looked 20 years ahead of NYC. Then we get to see some sweet, authentic sumo wrestling. Bond meets his contact and believe he's being set up for a trap. OH, and the code word for all the contacts is, "I love you". Moneypenny couldn't even get him to say it to her as a joke. Shit was rude as fuck.
007, after some questionable thoughts on this potential double cross, meets with Mr. Henderson, who tells him about Tiger Tanaka. Before he can tell Bond who he thinks is behind the rocket launch (it's not Russia or Japan), he's stabbed through the wall. Bond catches up with the killer and breaks his fucking neck. No questions asked. Then pretends to be the killer to get into the get away car, driven by The Rock's grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia. They have a fight scene that sees Bond get thrown through a wall, use a couch as a weapon, and hit a gnarly back body drop. It was almost more of a chop block. A good scrap, though. Wouldn't you know it, Bond happens upon a safe while looking for booze. Then steals whatever was in there and is able to make his escape.
He meets back up with Aki, still thinking he's being set up for a trap. He threatens her with his gun, then falls down a trap door down a long slide that sees him land in a chair in Tiger Tanaka's office. Nothing is ever easy with these spy folk. Tiger's main office is all metal/concrete and high tech, but he also has an office on his personal underground train that is very similar to M's with all the wood paneling. Tiger has straight up CSI tech, where he can find a micro dot on a paper, then find the picture, and zoom in like 500% on any point of the picture. Tiger takes Bond to a bathhouse, where he informs Bond that in Japan, men come first, women come second. "I might just retire here." This is so strange, since these two men are taking baths while going over business. I think, if you look closely, you can see Connery's dick in the water. Now that Bond has met Tiger Tanaka, Aki can drop the character and fuck Bond. "I think I will enjoy very much serving under you"
Bond returns to the scene of the fight, this time as Mr. Fisher. Everything has been fixed. There are cameras and an x-ray in the office, so this dude (Mr. Osato) knows who Bond is and that he has a gun. He lets Bond set up a deal for liquid oxygen, which Bond found out about from the documents in the safe, and is used for rocket launches. He then sends out assassins to kill him on the way back to his hotel. This leads to a car chase, and we find out that Aki has a fucking video screen to talk to Tiger in her car. She's facetiming in 1967. And Tiger calls in a helicopter to drop down a magnet to throw the car chasing them in the ocean. That's fucking gangster. Which, by the way, Bond somehow is able to watch on the monitor. I don't think anyone thought about the logic of that, but it looked cool. Tiger calls Bond "Zero Zero" instead of "Double 0", which is kind of interesting.
This leads Bond and Aki to the docks/shipping yard for the company, which of course turns into a shootout/chase/fight scene. Really awesome helicopter shot of it all on the roof. In general, this has a ton of neat shots and cinematography. Still, he's captured and held hostage. He some how mind fucks, then literally fucks his to be torturer to set him free and team up with him. But then the next scene she tries to kill him in a plane. WHOSE SIDE IS SHE ON? Bond is able to crash land it and escape before it explodes. It's a big fucking explosion, too.
OH SHIT. Q is in Japan! Right, now pay attention, 007. Q brought with him a portable helicopter named Little Nelly. It has rocket launchers, flame guns, smoke ejectors, and air mines. Bond uses it to fly over the island to search for where the company's ships could be unloading, and this leads to a HELICOPTER CHASE SCENE! Fuck yes. He takes out 4 of them with Lil Nelly. And then Nelly is never used again. Legit had Q come all the way to Japan just to cause a helicopter battle scene. And it was dope.
The Russians have sent up their space ship, and it, too, was stolen. You wanna know where this shit is going? Inside a hallowed out volcano that Bond flew over. And that god damn Blofeld is behind this. Blofeld is trying to double cross the men who want a war between Russia/English. They're implied to be Chinese, but this wasn't actually stated. The woman who failed to kill Bond TWICE, known as Number 11 , is fed to Blofeld's piranhas. She and Osato are actually members of SPECTRE. SWERVE! This is the first time we actually get to see Blofeld, and he's portrayed by the wonderful Donald Pleasence.
Now that Bond and Tanaka know where the enemy base is, Tanaka takes Bond to his NINJA TRAINING SCHOOL! Tiger doubles as Q and M in this. It's cool. But now, he's going to make Bond a Japanese man. They do this by dying his skin, giving him a shitty wig, putting on eye prosthetics. And he had to marry a villager who is also an agent. All to blend in. The 6'4 hairy dude with a thick Scottish accent. Literally the only thing that looks different about Bond is his wig is worse and his eyebrows are thicker. A lot of people point to this whole thing as super racist Bond shit, but you legitimately would have no idea he was supposed to be Japanese if you hadn't seen the scene before hand. Evil ninjas kill the Aki when trying to assassinate him, and James ends up marrying another of Tanaka's agents, Kissy Suzuki. Tanaka had told him that she had a "pig face", but he was quite pleased to find that wasn't the case.
While the audience figured it out earlier, Bond didn't find out about the volcano until he was trying to bone near there and saw helicopters flying in. Of course, Bond sneaks in, and of course, he's captured. Blofeld explains that causing the war between USSR/USA will create a new superpower. And then the fucking NINJAS lead an assault into the volcano. That poor fucking cat is losing its mind around all the explosions on set. Blofeld fucks up killing Bond like 5 times, then Bond fights his heavy, Hans, who gets eaten by the piranhas.
Bond remotely blows up the spaceship, then Blofeld uses a key to make the volcano erupt. Bond escapes and just as he's about to bang his "wife", M's sub surfaces.
Interesting set of women here as Aki and Kissy, particularly Aki, were shown to be very competent agents themselves. Both had sets of skills that without them, Bond wouldn't have been able to do much at all on the mission. Kissy was more sexualized and less of a factor, as she was a replacement for Aki late in the film, but it was her diving skills that allowed Bond to find the cave and get to the volcano. Number 11, well she kind of sucked, since she failed to kill Bond multiple times, but she was a bad guy. Or woman. She just wanted to fuck Bond for her benefit, not due to his charms. And to be fair to her, it would have been pretty hard to see Bond surviving being trapped in a free falling plane that had been blown up with a flare.
The main toy here was Little Nelly, the portable one man helicopter that was in the movie literally just to have a big action scene. It served no role in the plot, as Bond actually flew over the base and had no idea, but only found out about it when he was trying to bang Kissy near it later on. Tiger Tanaka, however, had some cool shit. In addition to the ninja stuff, he had Aki's car outfitted with a TV screen for communication, had a helicopter with a giant magnet to throw cars around, and cigarettes that would shoot bullets. That was actually a movie long running joke, where people told James how bad smoking was for you, until near the end when it saved his life.
Overall, this is one of the most enjoyable Bonds from start to finish. Great cinematography, and the Japanese flavor added a lot to the movie. Tiger Tanaka was cool as shit. Dude was like M and Q wrapped together, but was friendly and actually got his hands dirty with Bond. It really changed the whole dynamic in a positive way. Women are treated exceedingly well for a Bond movie, especially a Connery one, and at no point is the Japanese culture treated with anything but respect. The bathing scene was odd, but even Bond thought it was odd. He went along wit it out of respect for Tanaka and his culture. None of the stereotypes from the time period make it into the film, and there are multiple comments about how surprised the Japanese are that Bond is as cultured as he is...for a European. The plot never really falls apart, and while it does drag a bit around the 90-100 minute mark, that's pretty common for a lot of movies.
So basically, it's dope. Watch it.