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REVIEW — “No Time To Die”

A Bond farewell for Daniel Craig as 007, No Time To Die will leave you shaken and stirred.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Dr. Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) drive through Matera, Italy in NO TIME TO DIE, an EON Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios film. Credit: Nicola Dove © 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

No Time To Die picks up shortly after the events of Spectre and finds a now retired Bond and Madeline Swann living in Italian bliss with “all the time in the world.” However, Bond still looks over his shoulder and Madeline is haunted by a traumatic childhood memory of “l’homme masque,” the masked man who killed her family.

Daniel Craig stars as James Bond and Léa Seydoux as Dr. Madeleine Swann in NO TIME TO DIE,an EON Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios film. Credit: Nicola Dove © 2021 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

When Bond visits the grave of his deceased Casino Royale flame, Vesper Lind (Eva Green), to ask for forgiveness, he finds a SPECTRE calling card that triggers an explosion. Partially deaf from the blast, Bond is pursued by a glass-eyed baddie and is told “Madeline is a daughter of Spectre.” Can Swann be trusted? Bond confronts her and is forced to make a difficult decision as they flee in a dynamic chase scene that plays out with muted action.

After Bond’s Swann song, the action jumps five years to the violent theft of a biological weapon and abduction of scientist Valdo Obruchev (David Dencik) from an off-the-books high-rise lab. Behind the attack is Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), a disfigured maniac with an axe to grind against SPECTRE. An unfortunately undercooked-but-classic Bond villain, Safin’s murderous plan is to release biological warfare onto the world with the use of genetically targeted nanobots from his villains’ lair on an abandoned island missile silo.

Bond, now living in a tropical fishing village, is approached by CIA operative Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) to assist in locating Valdo, the weapon, and those responsible. However, his mission runs counter to his old pals at MI6 as he must race against the new 007 (Lashana Lynch) to capture all three. Their rivalry creates an exciting dynamic that tests Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q’s (Ben Whishaw) loyalties and M’s (Ralph Fiennes) patience.

M (Ralph Fiennes), Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Tanner (Rory Kinnear) in a tense moment in M’s office in NO TIME TO DIE, an EON Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios film. Credit: Nicola Dove © 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

In the film’s best sequence, the CIA sends Bond to Santiago to intercept Valdo. There, Bond is paired with a green-but-kickass CIA operative, Paloma, played by Ana de Armas. Absolutely delightful in her role, de Armas is the best part of the film. Unfortunately, her screen time and the pair’s onscreen Knives Out reunion is entirely too brief. However, she could easily handle her own spin-off, so more of her character in future installments, please.

Bond must also engage with imprisoned nemesis Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), who serves the plot in a devilish-but-brief Hannibal Lecter capacity.

A bit overlong, Bond 25 is Daniel Craig’s fifth and final outing as James Bond; however, director Cary Joji Fukunaga paints a gorgeous picture and adds a few surprising twists to send one of the most gritty and realistic versions of the character out with heartfelt emotion and style.

Now the franchise must look to the future for a worthy successor to Craig’s 007.

4/5

With a running time of 163 minutes, No Time To Die is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images, brief strong language and some suggestive material.

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