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No Time to Die


Stars: Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Rami Malek, Christoph Waltz, Ana de Armas, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, David Dencik, Billy Magnussen, Dali Benssalah, Rory Kinnear, Hugh Dennis

Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga

'Q - hack into Blofeld's bionic eye and see what you can find!' Yes, Bond is back and, after a slow start, the thrill-filled opening sequence set on the Italian coast swings into a series of outrageous stunts, as it seems that Bond (Craig) has been betrayed to SPECTRE by his life partner Madeleine (Seydoux).

Five years later and Bond, safe in the knowledge that his arch-enemy Blofeld (Waltz) is locked up for good, has left the secret service and retired to Jamaica and a life of sun, sea, fishing and local talent. Retired, that is, until his old comrade Felix Leiter of the CIA (Wright) drags him into another bid to save half the world from extermination.

Despite its great length the film follows a familiar 007 pattern from then on, with Bond improbably dodging lashings of bullets, mooning over lost loves, crossing verbal swords with M (Fiennes) and ending up on an island hideaway with a 'poisoned garden', where he tackles the number two villain before finally tangling with number one (Malek). 'We have to destroy this whole facility,' grates Bond at the climax, finally twigging the enormity of the villain's ambitions.

It gets very talky sometimes in between the action and you may wish you occasionally had a fast-forward button on hand. The good guys are all, well, good, Craig and Fiennes especially, but Waltz and Malek are boring and pallid villains, depending on facial disfigurement for whatever menace they can muster.

De Armas, though, catches the eye (how could she fail with that cleavage?) as another agent, in a delightful sequence that hearkens back to older Bond escapades. More of this character please.

There's a huge shock at the end; it's hard to see the producers following this development up, but I'm sure they'll manage in a couple of years' time. This is good stuff in the main, if far from the best Bond to date.

David Quinlan

UK/USA 2020. UK Distributor: Universal (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). Colour by Company 3.
164 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 30 Sep 2021