After decades in Her Majesty's Secret Service with a license to kill, is it really possible for James Bond to just be James Bond, and not 007, and lead a retired life of happily-ever-after? Well…
Story: James Bond has to come out of retirement to thwart a potential threat to mankind involving a bio-engineered weapon of mass destruction. Doing so, though, comes at great personal loss for him.
Review: The whole world, it would seem, is going ga-ga over Daniel Craig’s last outing as the suave spy James Bond in No Time To Die. Does it deserve a standing ovation? I’m not so sure; it’s not a great film by any measure, but it’s not bad either. It’s best summed up as a love story with some action thrown in for good measure and it works for the most part.
No Time To Die opens with a now retired 007 (Craig), living it up with Madeleine (Lea Seydoux) in Italy, after the events of 2015’s Spectre. Once a spy, always a spy; there is no such thing as retirement. There’s also plenty of room for mistrust, so his instinct is to send Madelaine packing on the next available train and, hopefully, never to see her again, after a run-in with the baddies that involves an immaculately choreographed and captured chase sequence. How are these guys guns for hire if they can't even get one past Bond? But more importantly, how could they have known his location if not from her?
The story then picks up five years later, when Bond’s friend from the CIA, Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) asks him for a favour that he just cannot turn down; there’s a bioweapon at play and it is set for mass destruction. Over the course of events, he not only runs into his replacement, Nomi (Lashana Lynch), the new 007, but is also reinstated into Her Majesty’s Secret Service, as he races against time to stop the big bad villain from killing thousands of innocent people.
That brings us to the villain of this tale. Rami Malek as Lyutsifer Safin is probably the weakest link in this tale. Nothing about Safin comes across as even remotely terrifying, even when you know he is about to unleash a bio-engineered weapon on unsuspecting masses. What a wasted opportunity! He should perhaps take a leaf out of Ana de Armas’ book. In the limited screen time she has as new CIA recruit Paloma, she gives us a great display of what she can do with only a ‘few weeks of training’, as she matches Bond shot-for-shot, quite literally, in Cuba. Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Wishaws’ Q and Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny are delightful.
Verdict: There is a lot of press surrounding Daniel Craig’s last James Bond film. It’s best to set the hype aside and watch it. Rest assured, you will find all the regular tropes of a typical Bond film here too, but there’s also quite a bit of melodrama. Also, Billie Eillish’s title track sounds a lot better and more haunting in the theatre, especially given the timing it starts playing. Go give this a watch and say good bye to Craig's 007!