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let me begin by saying that this is easily the worst movie in the entire official ( and even unofficial ) james bond series .
it is so full of self-parody and silly characters that you would almost believe you were watching a spoof .
an omen of what is to come is provided by the pre-credits sequence , a dull affair featuring a confrontation between a man ( it's difficult to give a better description since no mention of him is made elsewhere in the movie ) and the assassin of the title .
a song with woefully terrible lyrics follows , and the rest of the movie is even worse .
the plot might have been a pleasant change from the usual rule-the-world so often found in the james bond movies of the 70s , but here we get a confused mismash about a fabled assassin , francisco scaramanga ( christopher lee , putting in a performance which is one of the rare saving graces of this movie ) who someone has apparently payed one million dollars to in order to remove roger moore's 007 .
there is also a flimsy connection with the energy crisis and a missing solar cell with 95% efficiency .
it's as much of a mess as it sounds .
bond is " helped " in his task by mary goodnight ( ekland ) , whose character couldn't possibly be any closer to the stereotypical bimbo .
during the course of the movie she gets locked in both a closet and a car trunk , blunders around a control room accidentally setting off a laser and serves no purpose in enhancing the plot whatsoever .
maud adams ( later to star in octopussy ) is a much more stronger and useful character , but she hardly features in the movie .
scaramanga's lackey is a dwarf called nik-nak , who rather fittingly is also possibly the silliest henchman in the series , serving up annoyance and weak dialogue in equal measures .
worse still is an almost total lack of action throughout the whole movie .
there is but one fight sequence about fifteen minutes in ( not counting a ludicrous scene where two teenage girls beat up several dozen trained martial artists -- another misguided attempt at humour ) .
the solitary car chase might have been a highlight , but the " action " is interrupted on a frequent basis by a redneck sheriff ( j . w .
pepper , played by clifton james of live and let die " fame " ) yelling stupid comments out of the passenger window .
he is easily the most irritating character in a james bond movie .
even his presence could have been made bearable by one of the most impressive car stunts in cinematic history , a 360 degree twisting loop jump over a broken bridge -- could have been , except somebody got the idea to dub a mocking whistle tone over the final print .
on top of that debacle , the whole end of the film is an anticlimatic sequence in scaramanga's " funhouse " .
the only good thing that came out of this movie was that the producers had to make the next film in the series ( the infinitely superior " the spy who loved me " ) a great film in order for the bond franchise to survive .