NO TIME TO DIE
After 15 years in the iconic role of James Bond, Daniel Craig finishes his run in a spectacular and satisfying manner. His final film shows Bond’s emotional core. “No Time to Die” continues the saga which began with “Spectre” in 2015.
Lovers Bond and Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) escaped together after the capture of Spectre leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz).
In the new movie, Bond flashes back to what seemed to be a perfect romantic idyll with Madeleine until trigger-happy thugs showed up and tried to kill him. Believing that she had betrayed him, Bond sent her away.
Five years have passed since he parted from Madeleine. The longtime M16 agent has retired to Jamaica when he is summoned by his old friend CIA Agent Felix Leifer (Jeffrey Wright) to track down scientist Obruchev (David Dencik).
The scientist has stolen a lethal bioweapon, which is deadly on certain groups, from the M16 laboratory with plans to deliver it to Spectre. In Cuba, Bond encounters Nomi (Lashana Lynch), who appears to have taken his place as a member of Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Bond manages to capture Obruchev in Cuba with the help of CIA Agent Paloma (Ana de Armas). Then he delivers the scientist to Leifer aboard a boat. But Obruchev is whisked away, and Bond is left to drown (spoiler alert: He finds a way to survive!)
Returning to London, Bond meets once more with Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q and Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny. Next, Bond’s search for Obruchev leads him to the long-captured Blofeld and also to Madeleine. He finds out that she did not betray him.
The film’s only weakness would have to be the casting of Rami Malek as madman Safin, who is not convincing as a villain who plans to achieve world domination.
A series of stunning setpieces that occur in Norway, Jamaica, Italy, England, Scotland and the Faroe Islands should keep the audience enthralled even at the film’s running time of 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Director Cary Joji Fukunaga continues to create excitement as once again (but for the last time) this particular James Bond saves the world.
3 and 1/2 Stars
Although bits of the plot prove to be interesting in this stylish neo-noir feature, so many truly bizarre characters in a weirdly twisted storyline about a valuable Warhol painting make “American Night” almost impossible to follow.
At times, director Alessio Della Valle’s mega-violent over-the-top Tarantino-like film resembles a parody of a mobster flick.
Art dealer and former forger John Kaplan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is on the cusp of success with the opening of his New York gallery, but he has unfortunate debts with “investors” represented by Lord Samuel (Michael Madsen) and with newly crowned mob boss Michael Rubino (Emile Hirsch, who appears to be a cartoon version of an evil guy).
Rubino is a would-be artist who throws paint on canvasses and then shoots bullets into each canvass. Paz Vega is Sarah, a museum curator and Kaplan’s girlfriend. Fortunato Cerlino plays a courier called Shaky, who suffers from narcolepsy.
Strangest of all is Jeremy Piven as stuntman Vincent, who spends all his time practicing martial arts so that he can get cast in an Asian movie.
Alice Reese is a member of the Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association. She reviews movies, arts and entertainment for the Herald-Banner and for KETR.