You Only Live Twice (1967)

When a NASA shuttle is stolen from orbit and disappears, war between the Soviet Union and the United States seems imminent. In order to stop this nuclear war, the British government steps in to investigate…

You Only Live Twice is a good action movie – the story line is a lot clearer than some of the previous movies and the pace of the movie is well handled. It does, however, have a lot of off references to Japanese culture, and it affects the film’s watchability today as it really comes off as insensitive at best. If you can take that part of the film as it was intended in its time, however, You Only Live Twice is a good fun action film.

Sean Connery wraps up his (first) tenure as Bond with a respectable performance – it’s not as good as Goldfinger, and is negatively affected by some pretty dodgy racial stereotypes, but overall he wraps up five films with a solid finale.

We see a bit more of some of the minor characters in this movie, and see M and Moneypenny in a very Naval setting, showing the more military side of MI6. ‘Tiger’ Tanaka’s ninja academy provided some decent action and some reasonably believable good-guy support, though one wonders what Bond could learn in a few days at a ninja academy that his military training hadn’t already gone through…

Sean Connery.
Connery well up to the standard we’ve come to expect.  Not his greatest, but a good performance by any standard.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Donald Pleasance).
The classic mega-villain right down to the eye scar. There’s a reason that he is so often parodied.

Bond Girl:
Kissy (Mie Harna).
Bond’s ‘wife’ for his cover story, she unfortunately adds little to the story line, but really shows the movie’s outdated values.

Bernard Lee.
Bernard Lee is, as always, a solid M, but still plays only a minor role here.

Desmond Llewelyn.
Little Nelly steals the spotlight here, but Q helps sell it with his limited screen-time.

Lois Maxwell.
Lois’ Moneypenny continues to lighten up the exposition-heavy scenes.

‘Tiger’ Tanaka (Tetsuro Tamba).
Tanaka helps out Bond as his Japanese equivalent – with a whole school of ninja at his command. A decent offsider who is played well.
Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi).
A japanese agend who is savvy, and comes through in a pinch.

Two words – Little Nelly. One of Q’s standout moments – it really shows the fun that can be had with the gadgets!

1967 Toyota 2000GT
Bond doesn’t actually drive it, but it’s far too nice a car not to mention.  Don’t be fooled by the badge, this is a genuine classic.

You Only Live Twice is a decent movie that suffers more from the advances of society in racial  tolerance than it does from anything particularly wrong with the film in its day. A solid action film if you can look past the outdated handling of Japanese culture.


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