In the picture

December 12, 2021

The latest James Bond outing may be uneven but it still offers plenty of excitement and fun.

In the picture

No Time to Die   ☆☆☆

Staring: Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Lea Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, and Ralph Fiennes

Directed by: Cary Joji Fukunaga

It’s the end of an era in the James Bond universe. After portraying the iconic spy in a five film arc over 15 years, Daniel Craig bids farewell to the beloved character in No Time to Die, an action caper that may be a tad uneven but still manages to deliver a fitting send-off to the departing actor … even if its handling of the protagonist may or may not best please long-time fans of the franchise.

Craig’s final outing as the MI6 agent finds his character facing off against a foe (Rami Malek) that not only threatens the stability of the world but also knows just how to rattle Bond’s own life.

A retired Bond is inspired back into action when his old friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) approaches him for help finding a kidnapped scientist (David Dencik) who holds the key to a dangerous technology: a bioweapon containing nanobots that can target specific individuals based on their DNA.

Weaved into the action is Bond’s relationship with psychotherapist Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) who starts off as his paramour before things quickly become more complicated.

No Time to Die has all the basic ingredients of a Bond movie: scenic backdrops, fancy gadgets and vehicles, quippy one-liners, lots and lots of actions. But there are several aspects in which the film falters. Perhaps the most salient is the villain. Malek’s Lyutsifer Safin – a terrorist who initially seeks revenge upon those who wronged him before turning into a generic evil baddie for some reason – is woefully underdeveloped. His introduction in a flashback scene at the start is absolutely riveting, but the film ultimately doesn’t give him the depth or detail that the character requires, nor does it make full use of Malek’s considerable talents.

Likewise, the romance between Bond and Madeleine isn’t quite as convincing as the movie’s emotional core needs it to be, possibly because the actors lack onscreen chemistry, which is something that becomes even more apparent when you see the effortless rapport between Craig and Ana de Armas – even though she is in the film only too briefly (playing a CIA agent who assists Bond in Cuba), the actress’s presence still stands out.

That said, the writers could have put Armas to better use. Her appearance does feel inessential and tacked on, like the story took a detour just for the sake of featuring her in the movie.

Also, while you don’t exactly go to a James Bond film for realism, even still there are several things in the film that might leave you scratching your head. Plus, the emotional ending might tug at your heartstrings … or it may leave you fuming for one of several reasons.

Despite all that though, No Time to Die still has plenty to offer in the department of fun. There are several cool action set pieces, some nice call-backs, quite a bit of fan service, and yet another strong central performance from Craig who spent the last decade and a half proving that he was indeed a worthy choice for the coveted role.

Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection

In the picture