|In anticipation for Bond 23, a.k.a. Skyfall (view trailer) coming on November 9th, 2012, Ted and I are starting a new monthly series called 007 CHATTER… look for it sometime in the first week of each month.
I’ve also added a new category for this, so click on 007 Chatter on the category drop-down menu for all Bond-related posts.
In my opinion there has never been a great villain in a Bond film, there were some decent ones but I’m still waiting for the Hans Gruber or The Joker type of villain to appear in a Bond flick. With the upcoming Skyfall, I do hope Javier Bardem can pull off a great villain that I’ve been craving in a Bond film since well forever.
That being said, there were so many bad Bond villains throughout the franchise, below are my top three worst Bond baddies and henchmen/women.
Max Zorin and May Day from A View to a Kill
This was a tragedy, how could you have Christopher Walken playing a villain in a Bond flick and yet his role was so badly-written? I mean come on, it’s Christopher Walken, he could’ve been the best Bond villain ever had the writers came up with a better concept for his character. Instead what they came up with was to have him play a mad industrialist who’s trying to monopolize the tech world by destroying Silicon Valley, really? I think Steve Jobs has done a better job of that and he didn’t even have to kill millions of people to accomplish it. Then they decided to include a henchwoman played by Grace Jones; she’s one scary woman and not in a good way. I’ll leave it at that.
Maximilian Largo and Fatima Blush from Never Say Never Again
There were so many things wrong with this remake of my favorite Bond film, Thunderball. First, Sean Connery was way too old to play Bond, it was creepy watching him romances the very young Kim Basinger. Then somehow they decided not to make the movie exciting, seriously try watching this flick and not fall asleep. In an interview, Irvin Kershner (yes the same director who made The Empire Strikes Back) said he didn’t want to include too many action scenes in the movie but was forced by the studio to shoot a couple of additional of action set pieces. If you saw the movie then you know how lackluster those sequences looked on the screen, Kershner flatly admitted that he just didn’t care for those scenes and decided not to put much effort into directing them. Well Mr. Kershner you accomplished your mission.
But the worse offense to me was the casting or should I say miscasting of the main villain. In the original film, Largo wasn’t a great villain but the actor who played him did a decent job with it. In this remake, Klaus Brandauer was cast as Largo and he might be the least intimating Bond villain ever. I remember the first time I saw this film, when his character appeared on screen, I tried hard not to laugh because he’s such a dorky looking person that I thought, really he’s supposed to be Bond’s main antagonist? Now I thought the casting of Barbara Carrera as the henchwoman Fatima was a good idea but he character was so boring that she didn’t add much to the story, she’s no Xenia Onatopp. To be fair though, the character from the original film wasn’t that strong either.
Dominic Greene and Elvis from Quantum of Solace
I’m one of the few people who enjoyed this film but again they totally miscast the main villain. Mathieu Amalric played the CEO of the mysterious Quantum organization and he was just wrong for this role. He’s not a bad actor by any means but for a Bond villain, I wanted to see someone who’s intimating and can actually kick Bond’s ass. Now I understand that most CEO of big companies look more like Mathieu Amalric, for example Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates came to mind. But in a film world, I want to see a bigger than life person not some dorky looking dude.
To add insult to injury, the filmmakers thought hey why not include a henchman who looks like pedophile and not have him doing anything except looking creepy throughout the movie. The role of Elvis was played by Anatole Taubman, I had to look it up on imdb to make sure since his name was never utter in the film. Of all the henchmen in the Bond franchise, he’s probably the least intimating of the bunch.
Mr. Big/Kananga from Live and Let Die
Now, my picks are focused on the main villain. They’re agonizingly-bad enough on their own without the *help* of a henchman.
Brad Whitaker in The Living Daylights
I was watching The Living Daylights the day I wrote this. I like this movie, mind you, but man, what the heck was the casting manager thinking casting Joe Don Baker as the shady arms dealer. Up until then, I actually quite like the double-crossing General Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé) and Pushkin is played by the always-watchable John Rhys-Davies. But Whitaker is just sooo cheesy, I mean, even Art Malik as the as the Afghan Mujahideen leader is a thousand times cooler than this guy. The moment he appears I swear this movie just stoop down a few notches to become a barely B-movie action flick!
Such a shame considering how classy Timothy Dalton is as Bond. Even his death being pinned under a giant Wellington statue is rather lame, though his personal war museum of himself dressed up as historical military leaders like Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, even Attila the Hun is preposterous fun.
Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies
I think the idea of a media mogul as a Bond villain is quite clever and timely for the beginning of the 21st century, now if only they cast someone remotely interesting. Johnathan Pryce had zero charisma and his overacting didn’t help matters. I find it hard to believe him in the role of a headlines-obsessed, power-hungry megalomaniac.
I find him to be a weak villain in every sense of the word, he never even fight Bond or anyone in a hand-to-hand combat, and he manages to mock Michelle Yeoh’s Wai Lin’s Kung Fu moves. I mean she’s a skilled Chinese spy, I kept wishing she’d just break his neck in one swift kick!! When Bond finally offed him with his own sea drill (ouch!), it wasn’t a moment too soon.
Renard in The World in Not Enough
Now, unlike the two I mentioned above, Renard is actually played by a capable actor, Robert Carlyle. So it’s a pity that he’s written up to be such a feeble character. It had so much potential, I mean the guy has a friggin’ bullet in his brain which makes him immune to pain as it destroys his senses. You’d think he’d be this cool, bad-ass baddie, but he barely has any screen time and ends up playing second fiddle to his lover Elektra.
Now, I actually like French actress Sophie Marceau in the role of an oil heiress who falls for the man who abducts her. Interesting story if it had been explored a bit better, but the whole two-villains idea falls flat here. Poor Carlyle, not only does he have to put up with having this constipated look throughout the movie, he also has to put up with Denise Richards playing a nuclear scientist!!
Nick Nack (Hervé Villechaize) in The Man With the Golden Gun
Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens) in Die Another Day
Now that you’ve read our pick of the worst Bond villains, check out my wish-list of actors I’d like to see as 007’s nemesis.
Well, those are our choices, folks. Now, who’s YOUR pick of the worst Bond villain ever, let us know in the comments.