The second installment in the Bond franchise was the first one with a real pre-credit action sequence, and it opens in familiar fashion. Sean Connery, in a dinner jacket, is stealing through the grounds of a fancy estate in the dead of night, stalked by an implacable Aryan assassin. The two play a desperate game of cat and mouse among the topiary. Suddenly, Bond fires! At nothing. Silence, again. More cat and mouse. Then the assassin strikes, garrotting Bond to death with ruthless efficiency. And I’m thinking, whoa, short movie.
But, no, it’s merely some kind of gruesome test: giant floodlights go on, and a bearded man who for all we know could be Albert R. Broccoli himself emerges with a stopwatch to tell the assassin, “Exactly one minute, 52 seconds. That’s excellent.” It turns out that the “James Bond” on the ground was merely a decoy, some second-stringer in a Connery mask. What is it a test for? And how did they get that guy to dress up like James Bond so they could kill him? Wouldn’t he kind of suspect bad things were about to happen? Anyway, we won’t find out until after the credits.
Next Octopussy, 1983