Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Never Say Never Again

Never Say Never Again; action, UK, 1983; D: Irvin Kershner, S: Sean Connery, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Kim Basinger, Barbara Carrera, Bernie Casey, Max von Sydow, Rowan Atkinson

The secret organization SPECTRE uses a US Air Force pilot to load two nuclear warheads during a NATO training mission and sink them in the sea. SPECTRE then retrieves the two warheads and blackmails governments, demanding billions of $ or else they will detonate the warheads anywhere they want. James Bond is sent to stop that scenario. He tracks down Largo, a member of SPECTRE, and - despite getting captured - manages to escape with his girlfriend Domino in Palmyra, the Middle East. The first warhead is discovered in Washington, while Bond and other agents stop and kill Largo before he can detonate the second one along the Arab oil coast.

Even though he famously said he would never again play James Bond again after "Diamonds Are Forever", Sean Connery returned 12 years later in order to play the role one last time in this film. Evidently, "Never Say Never Again" is crammed with ironic jabs at this, from the title up to the final scene where Connery's Bond winks at the audience, but it is not among the best Bond films, since the authors treat it more as a franchize that enters the "clash of the Bonds" - Moore's "Octopussy" was released that same year - than as a true film with wider possibilities. There are some neat details about the ageing Bond getting ready for retirement since such a difficult physical job is a too big of a strain for him, but some deeper, emotional moments about transience are absent, and the storyline is just there to be flat. "Never..." has a fair share of 'rough' edges - for instance, the bizarre CGI sequence of Bond and his nemesis Largo playing a 3D video game; the clumsy moment where Bond is captured on Largo's ship but still manages to freely distract him and kiss his girlfriend... - and director Irvin Kershner is not quite in his top notch shape, even for the predictable Bond genre, yet the film is saved from mediocrity thanks to two comical characters (feminist villainess Fatima who is so full of herself that she even forces Bond to write down that sleeping with her was his "greatest rapture in life" and Rowan Atkinson in a small, but deliciously comical role as the clumsy agent Nigel) and several comical moments, no matter how cheesy some of them are (Bond's urine burning the bad guy's face, for instance).

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