NO TIME TO DIE – Review by Susan Granger
For Daniel Craig’s final performance as James Bond, he still has his license to kill, Aston Martin DB5 and enough weaponry to subdue countless henchmen.
This 25th installment begins with a Norwegian backwoods flashback as a helpless, young girl witnesses a mysterious, masked killer stalking her and her mother, determined to wreak revenge for what her father did to his family.
Then, accompanied by Billie Eilish’s theme song, there’s James Bond in his retirement home in Jamaica when his CIA buddy Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) asks for help tracking a missing Russian scientist.
Too bad Bond’s subsequent side trip to Cuba is so short. That’s where he teams up with kickass CIA agent Paloma (Ana de Armas, Craig’s co-star in Knives Out).
Bond is next seen driving through Matera, an Italian hilltop town, with his girl-friend Dr. Madeline Swann (Lea Seydoux), heroine of his 2015 adventure Spectre. When they’re ambushed, it’s obvious that neither has been totally honest with the other about their respective pasts.
Reporting back to MI6, where he’s greeted by Moneypenny (Naomi Harris), Bond discovers that his prized 007 designation has been given to another agent, Nomi (Lashana Lynch), and she’s not about to part with it, threatening, “You get in my way, I‘ll put a bullet in your knee – the one that works.”
Apparently, M (Ralph Fiennes) oversees Heracles, a secret project which has created nanobots (DNA poisons), specifically targeted at the nation’s most dangerous enemies. With help from Q (Ben Whishaw) and a detour to interview villainous Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), Bond and Nomi pursue malevolent Lyutsifer Satin (Rami Malek) to his secret, high-tech island lair.
Inclusively scripted by Robert Wade, Neal Purvis, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and director Cary Joji Fukunaga, it’s episodic, action-packed entertainment.
During his 16-year James Bond tenure, Daniel Craig has acquitted himself admirably, second only to charismatic Sean Connery. And in this final chapter, Craig clearly demonstrates his dramatic chops.
On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, No Time To Die is a highly enjoyable 8, coming to an emotional conclusion.