You Only Live Twice (1967)

Posted in Reviews by - October 19, 2013
You Only Live Twice (1967)

The first Bond film to use unarmed combat as one of its central themes (more specifically, martial arts of Japanese origin), this was officially Connery’s penultimate outing as 007 and possibly his best – or at least a close second to Goldfinger.

Bond fakes his own death on the behalf of MI6 to travel incognito to Japan and investigate a spate of recent space-jackings where manned rockets are being stolen from outside the earth’s atmosphere. The Americans are blaming the Russians as the space race heats up, but the real culprit is bald cat-loving menace Blofeld and his consortium of shit-stirring uber-crims SPECTRE who plan to utilise international tensions to start their own nuclear war.

Luckily, Bond has a first class degree in Oriental Studies from Cambridge University and can skewer a Japanese assassin faster than he can undo a bra strap. He’s soon donning Asian make-up to live among a secretive ninja sect, learning their ancient stealth skills and swanning about in a kimono.

This is one of the first on-screen representations of the ninja in a western film and director Gilbert understandably sticks with the sensational aspects; the gravity defiance, the pyrotechnics and sword skills. The action may look campy but this is vintage Bond after all, and it contains some of the series’ best additions: great cars, great gadgets (a self-assembly helicopter with missile launchers; a gun disguised as a cigarette), a script by Roald Dahl and Nancy Sinatra’s title song – surely Bond’s most iconic theme.

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