You Only Live Twice (1967)

You Only Live Twice (1967), directed by Lewis Gilbert.

Is James Bond dead? No, just undercover in Japan to prevent Blofeld from starting World War 3. He fits right in until they make him up to look Japanese and people start staring at the stooping Scotsman.

Like iron to a magnet he is drawn to the secret island rocket base under an exploding volcano to face hundreds of minions serving the evil overlord, who this time has piranha rather than sharks in the tank. That's bold screenwriting.

On the one hand Bond #5 is a real Connery adventure and the large-scale ninja assault on the island is pretty epic. On the other, plot quality takes a serious dive, although it's not as bad as his next -- Diamonds Are Forever (1971) -- where they just give up even trying. The nonchalant chitchat with the exotic orientals becomes painful, although Japan is impressively modern-looking for the 1960s.

John Barry score, with Nancy Sinatra singing the title song.

Available on Blu-ray.