After saying he’d rather slit his wrists than play Bond again after Spectre, Daniel Craig somehow got enticed (kerching) to get back on the horse one more time. Now after numerous delays, and the world coming to a standstill because of the c word No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s final outing as Bond, is finally with us.
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga – at one point Danny Boyle was linked to it – with writing help by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, No Time to Die is an epic 163 minute end of an era. After an uncharacteristically measured and sedate start we see Bond enjoying a tropical, booze filled retirement when the CIA enlist him to rescue a kidnapped scientist. Things go awry and when the scientist’s viral techno mcguffin falls into the wrong hands MI5 need his help to avert catastrophe. The story is de rigueur, espionage stuff with the villain of the piece – Rami Malek‘s (Bohemian Rhapsody) Safin – equally bland and stale. As is the Billie Eilish theme; a whispery, Bond by numbers song.
Of course the action is where this film shines, like the exhilarating chase scene by foot, car and motorbike through the mazey streets of the Italian town Matera. As well as Bonds meeting with Ana de Armas‘ (Knives Out) wet behind the ears CIA agent Paloma, in a funny and fast paced meeting in Cuba. I wish she was in the film more.
Alas the film, whilst enjoyable, is a bit of an anti climax. The predictable plot twists and turns and the series of increasingly forgetable fights are exacerbated in the drawn out run time. The ending, albeit overly hammed up, is poignant and touching though.
Daniel Craig’s last performance is a highlight, playing the tired, mentally wounded and paranoid spy with aplomb. As with the last two films, Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris are at their quippy, humorous best as Q and Moneypenny. The much hyped ‘female bond’ is Nomi, a new double 00 agent played by Lashana Lynch – who is fiesty, ambitious and has a nice, competitive relationship with Bond.
A decent – if too long – end to the Craig era of James Bond, it is a globe-trotting, action packed and pleasantly emotive spy caper done on a grand scale.