Friday, August 11, 2006


In 1983, twelve years after his last "official" James Bond film, Sean Connery played James Bond one last time in Never Say Never Again, a film directed by Irvin Kershner, who directed The Empire Strikes Back the same year. Never Say Never Again was a bit of a remake of Thunderball, for reasons too pedantic to go into here, but the interested reader can check out the Wikipedia entry for many interesting details about the film.

Never Say Never Again is a fun movie, but it's a bit weird because it was not made by EON Productions, the company that made all but a handful of the James Bond films. The James Bond theme, which usually creeps into the soundtrack whenever Bond kills somebody, or is falling out of an airplane with no parachute, or when the bad guy puts a tarantula in his bed, is nowhere to be heard in Never Say Never Again. There is no teaser and no title sequence where naked women turn into robots or do acrobatics in silhouette or rub gun barrels on their happy parts. So, it's more like a regular movie, just with James Bond in it.

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. A little variety can only help this long-running franchise.

So, yes, it's a James Bond film, but it's not really a "James Bond" film. Does that make sense? I mean, James Bond is in it, and he's played by Sean Connery (and Sean Connery IS James Bond), but it doesn't necessarily seem like a "James Bond" film without the music, the teaser, and the multi-colored naked women doing callisthenics.

Let's see, what DOES this movie have? Kim Basinger as Domino, Max von Sydow as Blofeld, and Isak Dinsen's husband as the main villain, Maximillian Largo. SPECTRE has stolen some missiles and killed the traitor with a poisonous snake and Bond goes to the Bahamas to look for the missiles and he suspects Isak Dinsen's husband (because of his bad hair and outrageous accent) and he romances Kim Basinger and he runs into the black Felix Leiter (the black Felix Leiter? - That boggles my mind!) and he plays Hologram Risk with Isak Dinsen's husband and a French girl gets killed and they track the missiles to an Assyrian temple in North Africa and they get the missiles back and they kill the bad guy. And there's a fluffy, white cat. Oh, and Mr. Bean is in the movie and he is very funny and I really liked his scenes.

The real heart of the movie is Barbara Carrera as Fatima Blush, who is Isak Dinsen's husband's main henchman/bodyguard/fixer. She is really beautiful and she has great clothes and she is freaking crazy. Without a doubt, the best villainess of all the Bond films. Terrorize me, baby!

Unfortunately, she dies too early in the movie. (Bond explodes her with a trick fountain pen. After an hour and a half of ass-whuppin', she blowed up real good!) There are forty-five minutes left in the film after she dies and, well, it's about thirty-five minutes too much.

I first saw Never Say Never Again in 1984, at a Royal Air Force base in England (near Ipswich) in an airplane hangar. Really! I remember thinking it was okay, but I really didn't remember that much about it. It's generally a good James Bond film, I can deal with the opening where you can't figure out what the fuck happened, but next time, I think I'll skip the end. What makes this movie great is Sean Connery, Barbara Carrera and Rowan Atkinson. (And the cat! I love the cat!) Kim Basinger is really pretty and everything, but her role isn't that well-written. In the book, Domino is a lot more interesting, and I wish the movie had spent some time on her obsession with cigarette packets.

NEXT: Uh, I dunno. License To Kill?


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