Dir: Cary Joji Fukunaga | Wri: Neil Purvis Cast: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Rami Malex, lea Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes | Action Drama 163’
It seems rather ironic that the latest James Bond was thrice postponed because of Covid, since one of many plot elements is a weaponised virus. No Time to Die is being declared the best Bond movie ever; although I still feel that accolade belongs to From Russia with Love, and Goldfinger easily the most fun).
A nightmare rather than the usual 007 daydream, Daniel Craig’s James Bond is what ‘The Iron Mask’ was to Douglas Fairbanks’ D’Artagnan, with Craig’s Bond looking much older than before, and continuing to bear the scars from the pre-credits sequence throughout the film that follows.
There are three eye-popping action scenes (and the film is thankfully free of the unrelenting use of steadicam that is such a trial in modern films), but Ana de Armas is grievously underused as the nearest thing it has to a traditional Bond girl. Much more of the massive 163 minute running time is devoted to hushed talk in which little of Phoebe Waller-Bridges’ much-vaunted wit is in evidence; while the villains’ lair owed more to the German silent cinema than the swinging sixties, housing poisonous plants straight out of the final scenes of You Only Live Twice (the book not the film); likewise the chilling confrontation with a returning Christoph Waltz as Blofeld briefly wheeled on like Haghi in Spione. @Richard Chatten