A rather bloated effort despite the generous and intense servings of action, this is a half-decent final outing for Daniel Craig’s Bond.
Dir. Cary Joji Fukunaga
2021 | UK/USA | Action/Adventure/Thriller | 163 mins | 2.39:1 | English & French
PG13 (passed clean) for sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images, brief strong language and some suggestive material
Cast: Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes, Ana de Armas, Christoph Waltz
Plot: James Bond has left active service. His peace is short-lived when Felix Leiter, an old friend from the CIA, turns up asking for help, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
Subject Matter: Moderate
Narrative Style: Slightly Complex
Audience Type: Mainstream
Viewed: Shaw Waterway IMAX
There had been countless delays (mostly strategic) over the release of this new Bond film due to the pandemic, so the weight of expectations is high for this one. It is also Daniel Craig’s last outing as Bond which might make a sentimental trip to the cinema worth taking.
Cary Joji Fukunaga of Sin Nombre (2009) and Beasts of No Nation (2015), takes over Sam Mendes, who helmed both Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015), delivering a direct improvement over its immediate predecessor, though No Time to Die is nowhere near as great as Skyfall or Casino Royale (2006).
Just fifteen minutes shy of three hours, this latest instalment is the longest Bond film ever produced, and truth be told, it is a rather bloated effort, moving laboriously at certain parts (notably its second act), but when it gets to the action, Fukunaga is at least generous with it.
“Only your skills will die with your body, while mine will survive long after I’m gone.”
With car chases and shootouts abound in an array of geographical locations, No Time to Die should please those who are in it for a thrilling scenic ride; for those looking for a narrative, there’s one, albeit one that is burdened by the need to untangle the convolution of existing plotlines.
Still, Craig is fine as hell and retains his commanding screen presence. His relationship with Lea Seydoux’s Madeleine provides the film with its emotional anchor, one that is tapped, perhaps too dramatically, till the very end.
The always breathtaking Ana de Armas feels underused—she should have been cast in the film’s other double-0 role instead. Rami Malek returns as Bond’s main nemesis, though his plan to destroy humanity seems like airy-fairy science at best.
The stakes are high theoretically, but to feel them genuinely is more difficult—that’s why No Time to Die is only moderately exciting and never truly suspenseful.