By now we would probably be eagerly awaiting the announcement of the actor to be the new Bond instead we have been eagerly awaiting the pandemic delayed release of Daniel Craig’s swansong as Bond in No Time to Die. There’s a sense of irony that a viral pandemic that postponed the release is loosely though unintentionally aligned with the films plot about a DNA targeting weapon that was part of a lethal bio-warfare project codename Heracles that M (Ralph Fiennes) instigated but now finds is stolen in one of the films action set pieces that sees TV’s Hugh Dennis popping up in a cameo. So who you gonna call?
For MI6 it would have been Bond but he is now retired to Jamiaca living alone having last been seen driving off into the sunset with Dr Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) at the end of Spectre of which a viewing is essential to follow the plot here. But Bond’s romantic history has been chequered and after being scarred by his dalliance with Vesper in Casino Royale he’s about to be burnt again. The reason for this is revealed in the Bond pre titles set up with an insight into an incident in Madeleine’s childhood which verges on horror until the film spools forward to the now obligatory and hugely enjoyable action set piece which for once doesn’t overshadow the rest of the film.
But for a Bond film No Time to Die is plot heavy and Crfiennesaig, who also produces, has taken a leaf from the MCU with the film pulling together a load of plot lines from the previous Craig era films and goes back further picking up a thematic motif from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service running through the films score. But the film makers have distanced Bond from his Mr Loverman past and gone for broke by what some may regard as woke with strong female support led by an excellent Lashan Lynch having taken over the retired 007 moniker and is helped further with an all too brief sequence by Ana de Armas as an new agent revelling in working with Bond in a pivotal sequence. It’s perhaps the films villain Safin played by Rami Malek, with an accent belonging to Borat’s brother and a face like the ‘Before’ photo for acne treatment, that could be stronger. Driven by a personal vendetta he’s a much lesser character in the Bond villain cannon though still effectively creepy nonetheless.
With the longest running time of any Bond film taking it to epic proportions it feels half as long and the action is first rate as might be expected. The gadgets are mostly gone but for a 59 year old franchise No Time to Die still has surprises up its sleeve with a number of unexpected moments the last of which is unforgettable and like nothing the franchise has ever done before. For all of the previous actors who have played the role the last film is nearly always weak justifying them leaving the role but No Time to Die perfectly book ends Daniel Craig‘s run as Bond humanizing him leaving us with the most poignant of scenes and emphasizing that despite his outrageous exploits James Bond is ultimately a tragic hero.
Here’s the No Time to Die trailer…….