“No Time to Die” (2021) / Z-View

No Time to Die (2021)

Director:  Cary Joji Fukunaga

Screenplay:  Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Story by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga

Starring: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Christoph Waltz  and Billy Magnussen

Tagline: Bond is Back

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Five years ago Bond (Craig) was almost killed in an assassination attempt that appeared to be setup by Madeline (Seydoux), a woman he deeply loves.  After putting her on a train and vowing to never see her again, Bond dropped off the grid.

Now Bond has been contacted by Felix Leiter (Wright), his friend and CIA contact.  Leiter wants Bond’s help in capturing Lyutsifer Safin (Malek) and taking down Project Heracles – nanobots created to kill people based on specific DNA codes.   Bond agrees and finds himself at odds with his MI6 (British Secret Service) as well as the new 007 (Lynch)!  The stakes are raised when Project Heracles is used against SPECTRE and Madeline becomes involved.

No Time To Die is the bookend to Daniel Craig’s Casino RoyaleNo Time to Die doesn’t feel like a typical James Bond film.  It is grimmer.  There’s no subtle winks at the audience.  There’s a weight and sadness to Bond. Let’s break it down…

The Story: I liked the story. As with most James Bond films the stakes are high and probably never higher.

Craig’s Bond:  My favorite James Bond film is Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig.  I thought he was perfect as James Bond who is just coming into MI6.  He’s not yet the suave Bond who is capable to handle every situation.  With that said, Sean Connery remains my favorite Bond.  So, getting back to No Time to Die, Craig is now an older Bond.  He gets the opportunity to show us the suave Bond, but there’s a weariness to him.  It works for this film, but my preference is the Bond that Sean Connery embodied.

The Opening / Song:  Usually Bond films open with a big stunt.  No Time To Die takes a bit to get to the stunt sequence, but it should satisfy fans.  Billie Eilish provides the opening song.  I thought it was just okay and the same with the title sequence.

New 007:  Lashana Lynch plays the new 007.  I like the rivalry between Lynch and Craig; as well as their growing respect.  Lynch is good in what she’s given to do and has charisma.

Paloma: Ana de Armas is Bond’s new partner early in the film.  She’s pretty and believable in the action beats.

Madeline: Léa Seydoux returns and is believable as the woman that James Bond would fall in love with.

MI6: Ralph Fiennes returns as M.  This time he’s at odds with Bond.  Their scenes are tense and I loved their exchanges.  Ben Whishaw returns as Q.  He has a small but important role; he’s not just the gadgets guy any more.  I love Naomie Harris as Moneypenny.  I can never get enough of her.

Felix Leiter:  Jeffrey Wright is such a great actor.  It is great that he had an expanded role.

Lyutsifer Safin:  Rami Malek is perfect.  Safin is scary not because of his physical presence, but his voice and look (this dude never blinks) let’s you know you’re dealing with a cold blooded killer.

Blofeld: Christoph Waltz returns in a small but pivotal role.  The movie is better by having him.

Primo (Cyclops):  James Bond films are famous for their memorable henchmen.  Dali Benssalah excels as Primo, the killer with the bionic eye.

Logan Ash:  Billy Magnussen plays a character you love to hate… and does it well.

I really liked No Time to Die.  I can’t say it exceeded my expectations, but it did surprise me.  There’s a twist I didn’t believe was coming.  No Time to Die makes a good bookend to the Daniel Craig Bond era and rates 4 of 5 stars.