Why James Bond is the worst spy in history

Mark Lankester
Movies Blog

James Bond is the most famous spy of all time, both in our world and the universe his movies take place in. Such as ‘Skyfall’ – out in DVD shortly. The mere mention of his name is enough to make bad guys everywhere quiver with fear and start putting chastity belts on their women because when James Bond is on the case, you know things are about to get heated. Guy just has a reputation.

And in there lies the problem because a spy that everyone has heard of would in reality be about as useful as the world’s most well-known secret. See, spying is in a lot of ways like peeing in the public pool: If you’re good at it, no one should ever know you’ve done it. However, if you want evidence of Bond’s presence and activity at any given place, you just need to follow the nearest, smoldering rubbles of blown-up mansions, crashed military equipment and lost virginities.

It’s not just the fact that Bond is about as conspicuous in his work as an explosion drabbed in a particularly colourful hat that makes him one of the worst spies in history. Even if we completely ignore the definition of a “secret agent” and think of Bond as a government operative with a license to do whatever he damn pleases, it’s still baffling that he hasn’t been locked-away in Super Prison yet.

Let’s take the very first James Bond movie, ‘Dr. No’ (1962). In it, Bond is assigned to simply investigate the murder of an SIS agent but in the film’s climax he ends up destroying a terrorist nuclear reactor, probably transforming most of the surrounding area into ‘Chernobyl 2, Terribly Mutated Babies Boogaloo’.

Then in ‘Goldfinger’ (1964), Bond determines that the best way to investigate an international criminal is to come up to him, face fully exposed, and challenge him to a golf game because apparently James Bond is just like a rare, subatomic particle: He only exists when he is being observed.

There’s more. In ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (1969) Bond is kidnapped by the head of one of the largest criminal organizations in Europe and offered his daughter’s hand in marriage, an offer which he eventually accepts. Now, if you turn to page 48 of the standard issue ‘MI6 Handy-Dandy Handbook’, you will see that marrying the daughter of a known criminal kingpin ranks just between “state treason” and “misplacing the nuclear launch codes” on the list of secret agents’ biggest No-nos.

The latter movies did little to scale back Bond’s reckless disregard for such trifling things as international laws and sanity. For example, in ‘Moonraker’ (1979) Bond “accidentally” poisons an entire room full of people and in ‘The Living Daylights’ (1987) he refuses to take out (what looks like) an enemy sniper only because she had a pair of breasts. But perhaps the worst instance of Bond’s genitalia ruining everything comes from ‘Live and Let Die’ (1973) where Bond takes Jane Seymour’s virginity which robs her of her PSYCHIC POWERS.

I’d give anything to see Bond try to explain to his superiors how he took away UK’s chance to study and perhaps someday utilise remote viewing and clairvoyance to gather foreign intelligence. I imagine M’s hands would be tightly wrapped around his neck before he could even finish saying “But in my defense, I was REALLY horny that day.”

The Daniel Craig series has admittedly sort of gotten around the Bond problem by showing him at the very beginning of his career when he’s still young and reckless. But really, for the same amount of money and frustration, MI6 could as well have replaced Bond with a bazooka-mounted bulldozer that runs on martinis.