NO TIME TO DIE (2021)
Daniel Craig says goodbye to his tenure as 007 in this final flick that wraps up some of the story arcs that were woven within his now five films. This adventure picks up where Spectre left off with Bond (Craig) retired from active duty and romancing Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux). When Spectre attacks and Bond feels betrayed, he parts ways with Madeleine and goes off to live a solitary life in Jamaica. Five years later, he is drawn back into action, when CIA buddy Felix Leiter asks for help, when a traitorous MI6 scientist (David Dencik) hands a dangerous new nanotechnology over to vengeful madman Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek). Things get even more difficult when he finds Madeleine is somehow involved.
Twenty-fifth Bond is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga from his script and story with Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Pheobe Waller-Bridge. Fukunaga brings the action, intrigue, glamourous locations and sizzling romance we expect from this series, while adding a stronger than usual emotional undercurrent with Madeleine and Bond’s personal drama at the center of things. There are some dynamic actions scenes, some fun new characters—like Lashana Lynch’s double-o, Nomi and Ana de Armas’ scene stealing CIA agent, Paloma—and an effective and fiendish villain in Rami Malek’s Safin. The nanotechnology tech was an interesting plot MacGuffin and added some nice tension and a couple of chilling scenes. We also got a welcome return to the maniacal villain with an island lair for Bond to infiltrate, which makes for an emotionally charged climax. If the film has any drawbacks, it’s that at 163 minutes, it could have used a bit of a trim, with some of the scenes between Bond and Madeleine stopping the film’s momentum at times. Otherwise, this was a fitting and solid entry for Daniel Craig to say goodbye with.
A very good cast with Craig in top form as Bond. He plays a man weary of world intrigue and hardened by too many betrayals. He is still lethal and dangerous when provoked. Léa Seydoux is good as Madeleine Swann and gets a much meatier part this time to play. Rami Malek is an effective and spooky villain as the scarred and vengeful Lyutsifer Safin. He is a man with a deadly purpose and he is one of the creepier Bond villains in some time. Malek plays him disturbingly calm and it makes him all the scarier. As mentioned, Lashana Lynch and Ana de Armas were welcome new additions as new double-0 and ditzy but dangerous CIA agent respectively. Returning cast members Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Moneypenny, Ben Whishaw as Q and Geoffrey Wright as Felix, all perform their parts strongly. We even get a spooky cameo by Christoph Waltz as Blofeld. A top notch cast.
In conclusion, it may have been a tad too long and deviates from the action a bit more often than needed, but it is still a solid Bond flick and a proper farewell to Daniel Craig as 007. We get a worthy Bond adversary, some lovely and lethal ladies and some really good actions scenes in globe hopping locations. In the end, what more do you want from a Bond film?!
Rated 3 and 1/2 (out of 4) Aston Martins