No Time To Die- Review

For a film called No Time To Die, the latest instalment in the Bond franchise sure as hell took its damn time to finally release in cinemas. After some lengthy delays, Daniel Craig’s final adventure as James Bond is here. How does the action heroes last shot go down?

 

Clocking in at a whopping 163 minutes, No Time To Die is one heck of a beast. But having a longer running time can usually mean good things; it allows the film to really flesh out its narrative, especially when telling a big story. So you’d think this would mean that we’d get a unquestionably engaging story, mixed interesting villain for Bond to go up against?

Not quite. Rami Malek is a disappointing and lacklustre villain who only serves as a vehicle to push Craig’s Bond to his inevitable conclusion. And this is a shame, Malek is a fantastic actor with the right roles, and his villain could have been fantastic. But not showing up until almost halfway through and having nothing unique about him, this was a huge let-down.

And it’s even more disappointing when considering that most of the villains in this era have been quite bad. The few exceptions being Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chifre and Javier Bardem as Raoul Silva. Malek’s Safin will go down as one of the most forgettable Bond villains.

And whist that’s a damper, Daniel Craig absolutely shines here. Coming back with his charisma showcased in Knives Out and matched with some decent writing for his character, it was the first time I’d seen Craig make James Bond feel human. His characterisation over the last 15 years has usually been action hardman killing like he had no time to die.

But Craig brings the character back down to Earth, showing emotion for the first time since Vesper’s death in Casino Royale. And it’s a joy to watch him perform, with his quick wit and cheeky one-liners. And a breath of fresh air after he looked so bored and uninterested in 2015s slog fest Spectre.

And partnered with Craig is Lashana Lynch as a new OO Nomi, and Ana De Armas as a new recruit agent Paloma. They have some fantastic chemistry with Bond, especially with Ana De Armas. Although that should come as no surprise, given that Craig and De Armas worked closely together on Knives Out and should have had more screen time together in this.

Whilst the casting is really great, the story tying them all together is a bit meh. Malek’s generic Bond Villain wants to typically destroy the whole world, with lazy and uninteresting motivations. Going back to what I said previously, Safin is a vehicle to take this whole 5 film narrative to it’s conclusion.

With trying to create an old school bit of espionage in this modern era made this story feel a bit out of touch. Attempting to mix in the new threats of bio weapons, whilst something new, is a mere substitute for whatever mass weapons of destructions were around 60 years ago when Bond first hit the silver screens. Rather than trying to bring any new or unique aspects to these new weapons such as the human impact, it comes across as genuinely boring and a wasted potential of what could have been one of the most interesting threats Bond has faced.

Yes, there are disappointing aspects to this film. And that was always going to be an inevitability coming off the back of Spectre and trying to wrap up a retconned narrative. But, No Time To Die is a lot of fun. And for the almost 3 hours I was sat in the cinema watching this, I was engaged from start to finish. It’s partly what you’re already expecting, and partly what you’re not.

And No Time To Die acts as perfect bookend to 2006s Casino Royale. If that was the Prologue to Daniel Craig’s James Bond, this is the Epilogue and does a damn decent job of that.

No Time To Die is in UK cinemas September 30th

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