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October 8, 2012

Roger Moore's Bond had serious fun

(Continued)

In Moore's movies, there is none of the realistic grit or psychological tension bookended by Connery and Daniel Craig, or the trying-too-hard of Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton. Who else but Moore could accidentally inhale some treasure out of a belly dancer's belly button, make a funny face and then get into a fist/karate-chop fight. Sure, he sometimes missed the face of a guy who nevertheless went flying from the phantom punch. But once you bought in, that was a whole lot better than watching the expensive explosions that have destroyed many latter-day Bond movies.

In Moore's best film, "The Man With the Golden Gun," you got duels and Tattoo from "Fantasy Island." In "The Spy Who Loved Me," you got a sexy spy named Triple X and a villain with steel teeth named Jaws. "Moonraker" featured Epcot trains and the return of Jaws, but as a good guy. In "For Your Eyes Only," I don't remember, but that's okay! There's no guilt in Mooreland! In "Octopussy," my favorite, knife-throwing circus twins and Faberge eggs played pivotal roles. Take Roger Moore out of these, replace him with someone with more stable eyebrows and something shaking or stirring under the surface, and the amusement is sapped.

Moore saved his sense of purpose for real life. A veteran humanitarian, he is currently speaking out in London against foie gras. But I'm happier that he is out promoting his third book about being Bond and starring in something called "An Evening with Sir Roger Moore." On Oct. 14, his 85th birthday, he'll be appearing at the Rose Theater in Kingston, England. If you are in the neighborhood, you should go. Chances are it won't be brilliant, but it will be fun.

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