British Secret Service agent James Bond (Roger Moore) is placing flowers at the grave of his late wife when he is interrupted by the vicar. He tells him that his bosses have called and there is a new mission for him, and sure enough a helicopter lands nearby to take Bond away. However, once they are in flight, the pilot is electrocuted and a voice sounds over the intercom, the voice of an old enemy who takes remote control of the craft and plans to crash it, killing Bond. He reckons without 007's ingenuity, and soon he is flying the helicopter, picking up the villain and dropping him into a tall chimney. Then it's back to the office...
What was that introduction all about, given it has nothing to do with the rest of the film? Reputedly it was a dig at the rival Bond producers who would be using Blofeld in their film Never Say Never Again, proving that they didn't need to dredge up an old baddie from the past when they could do just as well without him. Once that's out of the way, the plot can begin and Bond is assigned to Greece so he can track down the whereabouts of a sunken defence system at the bottom of the Mediterranean. You'll notice there is no science fiction element to this instalment of the long running series.
And that was because, as happens every so often in Bond movies, that it was decided that the previous effort was too silly and it was time to get back to basics (see also 2006's Casino Royale). For this reason some consider For Your Eyes Only the best of Moore's Bonds - supposedly Moore is one of them - as it keeps the over the top bits to a minimum and leaves the comedy to a few quips. It's as if Moonraker never happened. And for the most part this method is effective, as the film boasts excellent stunt work and plenty of it to keep up the pace.
Unfortunately, nothing especially memorable happens to rank up there with the classic Bond sequences. Say what you like about Moonraker, you didn't forget it in a hurry, but if you were to sum up this one what would you say about it? The one with the ice skater? The one with the better underwater bits than Thunderball? The one with the transsexual (not that you'll ever be able to spot her)? Once Bond gets to Greece, he finds himself mixed up with one of his least passionate leading ladies, Melina Havelock essayed by Carole Bouquet, who is out for revenge.
This is because her parents have been killed by the mystery villain who wants to capture the defence system and sell it to the Soviets. It's up to Bond to stop him, and after briefly getting captured he realises he might have a lead, if he can get away. There's a fun car chase in Melina's Citroen 2CV, which is battered around but still drives in a quirky example of product placement (real 2CVs came with bullet hole stickers as part of the promotion!), and then it's off to the Alps and that ice skater, Bibi (Lynn-Holly Johnson), where the action works to pack in as many winter sports as possible. As a nod to Moore's advancing years, he gets to turn down Bibi for being too young, but we're still meant to ignore that he is obviously getting too old for the role - and this with two more to go. Not bad, then, but it's in danger of being overrated; watch out for the bizarre comedy coda, too. Music by Bill Conti.