James Bond: 5 Great Moments of Unintentional Humor (part 2 of 2)

James Bond: 5 Great Moments of Unintentional Humor (part 2 of 2)

Live and Let Die (1973): Kananga Revealed

We come to one of my personal favorites, with this one from Roger Moore’s debut as 007.

James Bond: 5 Great Moments of Unintentional Humor (part 2 of 2)

In Live and Let Die, Bond goes up against Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), a diplomat from a small island in the Caribbean looking to make a killing on a huge heroin shipment. He keeps this little bit of trivia a secret by posing as Mr. Big, a Harlem gangster, and for roughly the first three-quarters of the film, Bond is meant to be unaware of this.

James Bond: 5 Great Moments of Unintentional Humor (part 2 of 2)

The audience (and I like to think Bond, too), however, has figured it out long beforehand, because while Yaphet Kotto is a fantastic actor, his voice is a little too distinctive to hide behind a bad prosthetics job.

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But the reveal is quite funny, though not for the reasons I’ve listed. Kotto, as I said, is a very good actor, and he gives Kananga a nicely low-key, suavely menacing personality that makes for a splendid villain. He only goes over the top in one scene, and it’s when he unmasks in front of Bond.

James Bond: 5 Great Moments of Unintentional Humor (part 2 of 2)

It begins with him ripping off a piece of the mask, gradually getting more and more pissed off as he tears the face away, until he rips off his wig and slams it down on the ground so hard I expected it to explode on impact.

James Bond: 5 Great Moments of Unintentional Humor (part 2 of 2)

It’s a bravura piece of acting that is way, way funnier than what was probably intended.

James Bond: 5 Great Moments of Unintentional Humor (part 2 of 2)

Licence to Kill (1989): The Worst Bunch of Seamen on the Water, and Journalism at Its Finest

We end with two entries from Licence to Kill, the second outing for Timothy Dalton as 007, which finds him going after drug dealer Robert Davi, who’s fed his buddy Felix Leiter to a shark on his wedding day.

James Bond: 5 Great Moments of Unintentional Humor (part 2 of 2)

The film is grim and gritty, with some surprisingly violent moments (overall, it’s quite excellent) but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some laughs, as well. While Dalton’s Bond was fairly serious (most of the humor with him was rather dark), Robert Davi as Sanchez does have a few funny moments… as well as one that comes by accident.

In the beginning of the film, Bond and Felix capture Sanchez in an audaciously over the top stunt sequence, and he’s taken into custody of the DEA. As he’s being loaded into the van, a flock of reporters bombard him and the agents escorting him with questions.

You get the normal stuff one would expect (where is he being taken, why did he come out of hiding), but the gem is this little number from an off-screen reporter.

Reporter: Are you really Colombian?

Oh god, that kills me every time. It’s not the line itself, but the fact that I could absolutely see some dipshit reporter coming up with that one and blurting it out in real life. I can also imagine his cameraman just snorting derisively as he walks back to him after the van leaves.

 “Heh, did that pendejo just ask what I think he did?”

You can find something similar in Die Another Day when Graves parachutes in. I’d bet good money that most of the extras playing reporters were actual British tabloid reporters, because very few actors can come across with the right level of snobbishness and/or vapid stupidity that the real deal can.

The second thing that makes me laugh is a little more complicated and is, in a way, quite brilliant when you think about it. After Felix gets gnawed on (surviving, because I guess when you hang out with James Bond you absorb whatever keeps his hair from getting mussed), Bond sets out to destroy Sanchez’ operation by turning him against his employees.

Bond seduces his girl, he gets Sanchez to trust him, and most importantly, he makes off with a large amount of money being delivered by Milton Krest (Anthony Zerbe) to the villain. Krest uses a marine research vessel as cover, and his crew is, to put it mildly, rather Gilligan-esque in terms of their seaworthiness.

James Bond: 5 Great Moments of Unintentional Humor (part 2 of 2)

Put it this way: I don’t ever want to be on a boat where the captain can’t properly identify a manta ray, and uses gun-toting goons who are too goddamned lazy to check for a body after firing into the water for a few minutes after a saboteur has screwed up my money laundering operation…

Uh, not that I have one, or anything.

James Bond: 5 Great Moments of Unintentional Humor (part 2 of 2)

What makes this brilliant is that it works out great for Bond, as I have to figure this is what Sanchez is thinking after Bond insinuates that Krest is looking to off him:

“Krest… hmm. Well, he does employ some real pinheads. Never really cared for that. I prefer my guys to be well-trained and have their acts together. Yeah, he might be looking to pull something.”

James Bond: 5 Great Moments of Unintentional Humor (part 2 of 2)

And the end result?

Caption contributed by Ed


That’s it for now. Come on by my blog for more great stuff.

Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: James Bond: 5 Great Moments of Unintentional Humor

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  • Ricardo Cantoral

    In defense Quantum, Bond wanted to make Mathis’s death look like a robbery. As for Goldeneye, the shoot outs are choreographed in such a generic and uninspired fashion, it’s not even funny. Martin Campbell staged these sequences mechanically with soldiers simply running up to be shot and the tired old cliche of enemies missing point blank. 

    • edharris1178

       Fair enough but the way it was edited gives it an unintended feel.

      • Ricardo Cantoral

         Trust me when I say I don’t blame you being confused. Quantum of Solace’s editing is completely retarded. One of the worst films ever made.

  • The_Stig

    Golden Gun could have been so awesome. You had Roger Moore before his Bond got stale (Yeah!), Christopher Lee as the titular assassin that charges a million dollars a hit (Hell yeah) Britt Eckland as the Bond Girl (oh yeah). The plot could have and should have been an international game of cat and mouse pitting the world’s greatest spy vs the world’s greatest hitman in a battle of wits and intrigue. I mean, you’ve got Christopher Effing Lee, there’s no reason it couldn’t have been awesome. Instead we got, well…The Man With The Golden Gun. Yeah. 

    • Ricardo Cantoral

      The source material was lousy to begin with. As a matter of fact, I’d gladly take the film over the book. 

      • The_Stig

        I’m not saying the book was good, I’m saying they could have gone another way with the source material. Christopher Lee deserved better.

        Regardless, the Golden Gun prop itself was badass.

  • John Wilson

    I like Quantum of Solace. It was a mice change and was interesting.Well for me:).

    • Marvin_Arnold

       Be careful when you change your mice. 😉

  • Thomas Stockel

    I sometimes wonder what the hell directors were thinking when they make these decisions.  You watch the last five minutes of Golden Gun and no one sat there and decided “Wow, that was dumb.”  Were they trying to make every Roger Moore film end the same way, was that the intention?  Or is Mister Mendo right and it was just lazy writing, they copying and pasting the plot of Live and Let Die?

    Anyway, good review.  In reading it I am amazed the franchise has run for, what, twenty three movies?  Incredible.

  • Andrew

    As funny as Kananga’s reveal was, it pales in comparison to his death scene, where he blows up like a balloon and pops, sound effects and all.

    • edharris1178

      I always found that more jarring than funny.