Action Adventure

Review: ‘No Time to Die’ Marks the End of an Era for an Iconic Action Hero

September 29, 2021Ben MK

For nearly six decades, the name James Bond has been synonymous with some of cinema's most iconic scenes — from Sean Connery's close call with a laser in Goldfinger to Pierce Brosnan's dive off the Hoover Dam in Goldeneye. With Daniel Craig's notably grittier portrayal of the character, however, moviegoers have bore witness to the most ambitious reinvention yet for Ian Fleming's debonair super spy. And with No Time to Die, Craig is marking the end of his 15-year run as 007 by taking the franchise where it's never gone before — though not before hitting some familiar beats along the way.

Set five years after the long-running series' last installment, Spectre, Craig's fifth and final Bond outing finds James retired from her Majesty's Secret Service and living off-the-grid in Jamaica, after a violent ambush by Spectre agents in Italy forces him to bid arrivederci to his new love, psychiatrist Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux). But when those same agents steal a dangerous bioweapon codenamed Heracles — and a Russian nanobot expert named Valdo Obruchev (David Dencik) — from a secret MI6 lab in London, it's up to the former 007 to once again suit up and save the world. Only this time, it's not his old nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) that James will be going up against, but rather a new adversary named Lyustsifer Safin (Rami Malek), whose penchant for over-the-top theatrics and poisonous plants threatens to wipe out the majority of the planet's population in one fell swoop.

Enlisted to help the American government with its efforts to track down Heracles and Obruchev by CIA agents Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) and Logan Ash (Billy Magnussen), James must partner with a novice spy named Paloma (Ana de Armas) while also trying to outwit his successor at MI6, an eager and extremely skilled 00 agent by the name of Nomi (Lashana Lynch), whose motivations to beat James to the target come directly from his former boss, M (Ralph Fiennes), himself. Little does James realize, however, just how far Safin is willing to go to leave his mark on the future of human civilization. And when the flora-obsessed supervillain kidnaps Madeleine and her young daughter in order to lure James to his island fortress, located deep beneath a former missile silo, the result will not only have audiences gasping for breath, it will also alter the course of the fan-favorite franchise forever.

Of course, the question on most viewers' minds will largely revolve around where the big screen spy series goes from here. And although No Time to Die doesn't explicitly address that uncertainty in any specific way, there should be little doubt that the powers that be have every intent on continuing the franchise well into the foreseeable future. As for Craig's final turn in the role, longtime Bond fans need not worry, as both he, director Cary Joji Fukunaga, and Fukunaga's co-writers, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, give it their all to ensure that this 25th Bond film delivers on everything that viewers have come to expect from the 007 brand.

From the globetrotting narrative and Hans Zimmer's rendition of the classic James Bond theme music to the plethora of high-tech gadgets and the as-deadly-as-they-are-sexy Bond girls, there's not a stone left unturned when it comes to the fan service that marks the series' long-awaited return to multiplexes. Suffice to say, after a six-year absence, it's almost refreshing to see that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

No Time to Die releases October 8th, 2021 from Universal Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images, brief strong language and some suggestive material. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 43 min.

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