A S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Agent has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find their targets before they are detonated.A S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Agent has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find their targets before they are detonated.A S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Agent has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find their targets before they are detonated.
Moore is my favorite Bond, but Connery makes a strong case for himself in this unusual outing. The only serious Bond film not made under the aegis of the classic Eon Bond series, "Never Say Never Again" is an irreverent return to the well. Soft on action, it's nevertheless strong on character and clever dialogue.
Bond, it's made clear right away, is a man in disfavor. No matter how many times he has saved the world, his new boss thinks little of his fat lifestyle. "Too many free radicals, that's your problem...Caused by eating too much red meat, white bread, too many martinis." "Then I shall cut out the white bread, sir," Bond smartly replies.
An early fight sequence in a spa represents the movie's high point action-wise, with Bond and an attacker fighting their way through a kitchen, a bedroom, and a laboratory before Bond finally douses his opponent, ironically with no small help from those free radicals. Humor is liberally applied in the film, rather more cleverly than most of Moore's outings, though Connery seems to be having more fun sending himself up as a result of Moore's less egotistic example.
Was it because he was making a good chunk of the gross? Or was it working for less stingy producers? Whatever it is, the screenplay serves his laid-back style well, and the result is richer and more entertaining than Connery's prior two Eon Bond outings, "You Only Live Twice" and "Diamonds Are Forever".
The 1980s were not a good decade for Bond, whether it was Connery, Moore, or Timothy Dalton. Leg warmers, video games, and ugly sports cars are all in evidence, and the Bianca Jagger sunglasses Klaus Maria Brandauer is seen wearing in his first scene do him no favors. Forget first impressions. Brandauer's role as the chief villain, Maximilian Largo, is one of the best in any Bond film, with Brandauer enjoyably playing up his character's menace and mania. At one point, he allows Bond free roam of his situation room, with a martini to boot, and his dancing eyes and mad, engaging grin make for compelling company throughout.
The best thing in this film, other than Connery, are the Bond girls, shot with more attention to personality than normal in Bond films, a testament to cinematographer Douglas Slocombe and director Irvin Kirshner. Barbara Carrera was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as the villainess Fatima Blush, every bit as crazy as Largo and even nicer to look at. She doesn't last the whole movie; you almost need her gone in order to focus on the others.
Kim Basinger's breasts and buttocks should have had their own agents for the screen time they get in this film, but I'm not complaining. Basinger's a rare beauty who in this early role as Largo's mistress mixes incredible hotitude with a childlike vulnerability that brings out the Bond in me, and many others I suspect. (Her lips and cheekbones are pretty sweet, too.)
It's not a well-constructed film. It's a knockoff of a better Bond movie with a sloppy storyline, a terrible score, and a flat ending. But it does have Connery, proving his was the definitive take on cinema's definitive secret agent, even if he steals a page or two from my 007, Mr. Moore. The end result is entertaining enough, so I'm not complaining.
- Nov 30, 2009