007 Never Say Never Again (1983)

 
 

Starring: 

Plot: A SPECTRE agent has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find their targets before they are detonated.


Oh where to begin with this story. This movie is based on the book Thunderball, which was previously made into the movie of the same name in 1965, also starring Sean Connery. In 1958 Ian Fleming, Kevin McClory, Ivar Bryce, and Ernest Cuneo had written the original draft of Thunderball as a screenplay to be the first Bond movie. In 1959, McClory released a movie called The Boy and The Bridge, which was poorly recieved. Fleming lost faith in McClory as a writer and distanced himself from the project. In the meantime, McClory brought in experienced screenwriter Jack Whittingham to help finish the script. Once finished, Fleming wrote the novel version of Thunderball based on the screenplay. 

Before its release, McClory and Whittingham sued to prevent publication of the book. The court ruled that the book could be published, but McClory and Whittingham could return to the courts on the subject at a later date. Two years later, in 1963, Fleming and McClory were back in court over the book. Fleming was in poor health at the time (he died less than a year later) and was convinced to settle the issue. Ultimately, McClory was granted literary and film rights for the screenplay, while Fleming was given the rights to the novel. A deal was made between EON Productions and McClory that would not allow McClory to make his adaptation for ten years after EON's version was released. McClory began work to get his script on screen in 1975, but lawsuits from EON over copyrights halted the production. The film was finally made in 1983, with the title being a reference to a Sean Connery interview stating he would "never again" play the role of James Bond after a falling out with Bond producer Cubby Broccoli. 

The movie directly competed with the "official" EON Bond movie Octopussy, but was not as successful. Legal issues arrising from various lawsuits led to EON eliminating SPECTRE and Blofeld from their series going forward, and the group and character would not return to the series until 2015's SPECTRE.


Due to the lawsuits and various rights issues, the trappings of traditional Bond movies were missing. There was no gun barrel opening, no involved title credits, and not even a cold opening. The only thing resembling the Broccoli movies is a theme song that has the title of the movie in the lyrics. And it sucked. The intro is Bond, played by the returning Sean Connery, involved in a sneaking mission of a jungle compound. Somehow, Connery looks better here than in his last try at Bond 12 years earlier. Bond saves a tied up girl only for her to stab him. As it turns out, this whole scene was a training exercise. Bond failed. He'sis put on a strict diet and exercise routine and sent to a clinic to remove all free radicals. 

At the clinic, Bond has to take a piss test and get a colonic. Somehow, he manages to flirt with the nurse over A URINE SAMPLE. Too much swag. Deep inside a hidden passage in a bank, SPECTRE is having a meeting. Blofield in this movie retains his fluffy white cat, but gains a head full of hair and a beard. "In matters of death, SPECTRE is strictly impartial." Just a secret meeting of bad dudes, thinking up bad plans for bad things. Number One calls in with a video conference, and he looks like he looks like a lost member of the McPoyle family. The plan is to force US pilot Captain Jack Petachi, who happens  to be at the same clinic as Bond, to wear a contact lens that simulates the right eye of the president of the United States in order to switch out dummy warheads for live nukes during a planned test run. You see, Number One AKA Maximillian Largo is banging Jack's sister and will kill her if he doesn't cooperate. 


Bond meets with a chiropractor. At first, he hits on her. Of course. Then she cracks his back. She's not having any of his double entendres. She does later come to his room with an offering of boring ass healthy foods. Luckily, he brought a suitcase full of vodka, cheese, foie gras, and caviar. I'm not sure foie gras or caviar would hold up well in a suitcase. Weirdly, the background music to this scene sounds like the main theme to Octopussy, All Time High.

 


Captain Jack is beaten by one of the nurses. she forces him to wear the contact lens. Bond nearly gets caught spying, accidentally tipping himself off moving the blinds. He was still seen via heat vision goggles Breh is too old for this shit, he's losing his touch.. The first attempt on Bond's life comes in the weight room, with a big burly fuck who no sells everything. Lol, Bond literally just runs away. He's an older man now, after all. The scene is completely scoreless, and goes from the weight room down to the basement kitchen, with Bond improvising Home Alone style traps. After making their way to the lab, Bond throws what appears to be acid in this mook's face. And it basically kills him. It was actually Bond's own urine sample. His pisses must be agonizing things.   


Of course, M was not pleased with all the destruction. He already has no use for the 00s, and this isn't helping Bond's case.  Poor Jack gets killed by crashing his car after having a giant snake thrown in his window while driving. Poor dude. He did what SPECTRE asked, too. The warheads were replaced with live nukes and land in the ocean. SPECTRE now is in possession of them. Blofeld video conferences into a NATO army meeting. SPECTRE wants 25% of the annual income of each country. OR HE'LL BOMB THE SHIT OUT OF YOU. The 00 program must be reactivated.

Now, Largo looks like a completely different dude from the Thunderball version. Obviously younger, not wearing an eyepatch. He has a computer lab hidden behind a two way mirror of a dance class. And he watches Kim Bassinger dance. To porn music. It's fucking weird. Oh, apparently, Kim is actually his girlfriend, which makes her Domino. Does she know about the two way mirror? He brought her a gift: A necklace of the tears of Allah. She asks what happens if she were to leave him. They laugh. Then he threatens to cut her throat if that ever happens. No one laughed.

Bond meets with Q. The gadgets included are a laser watch, a pen that shoots explosives, and nasal spray. Q's budget has been slashed, you see. Bond heads off to the Bahamas, as it seems like he is wont to do. He's met by MR. BEAN. AKA Nigel Small-Fawcet, the most British name I've ever heard. He's also doing what seems to an impression of an American doing an impression of a super snooty Englishman.  Connery Bond's suit game is still on point. Of course, he meets a hot lady who wants to fuck him. "You affect me, James." "Well, that's bad. Going down, one should always be relaxed." They were talking about diving. GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE GUTTER. But they do totally fuck. It's actually pretty graphic for a Bond movie. And of course, this was all a set up, as once they got down to the sunken ship, she sent a fucking shark after him. A GOD DAMN FUCKING SHARK. A REMOTE CONTROLLED GOD DAMN FUCKING SHARK. Tremendous. Oh shit, there are multilple remote controlled god damn fucking sharks. This broad had placed a tracking device on Bond's back. He tosses it away and grabs on a lure floating in the area. It belonged to a woman he tried to fuck earlier before Mr. Bean showed up. She did say she'd catch him later. ICU, Bond. ICU.


The shark lady saw that Bond lived and put a tracker in his hotel room. Bond comes off that other woman's boat wearing rolled up overalls with no shirt. Hillbilly Jim Bond. As it turns out, Bond chose to fuck in the woman's room, so he was not impacted by his bed being set on fire.


Interestingly, Felix Leiter in this movie is played by a black man, 22 years before Casino Royale did the same thing. I guess people forgot that this movie did it first since this isn't official EON production.  To be fair to this movie, it's an hour in and is still fairly coherent plot-wise. Most Bond movies stop making any sense about 30 minutes in. Bond sneaks into a spa as a worker and gives Domino a massage while getting info out of her. He literally just groped her for a while then slipped out. 


Of course, there is a requisite casino scene. Thankfully, no one is playing baccarat, because that game makes no fucking sense to me even after the thorough explanation in the Casino Royale novel. Instead of a card game, the main scene takes place in a video game arcade. How weird. In fact, Bond and Largo compete in a video game. It's basically 3D arcade version of Battleship. It's a weird scene all around. Bond wins the game and instead of money, he wants his prize to be a dance with Domino.


Of course, there is a chase scene, which ends with Bond shooting Number 12 (the woman who has been trying to kill him since the shark incident) with his pen gun. She laughs the wound off. Until it makes her explode. Like...evaporate. Literally nothing left of her but her shoes.


It takes about an hour and a half before the story starts to fall apart. Which, again, is an hour or so more than the normal Bond movie. Bond gets a new version of the jetpack in this, although it happens at the end of the movie instead of beginning. Of course, Bond and Leiter save the day, and Bond gets the girl. THE END.

 


I'm a bit torn on this. On one hand, Connery puts more effort into this than he did his last...probably four Bond movies. It's a solid Bond movie. On the other hand, the lack of John Barry music kills it, and the bootleg versions of M, Q, and Moneypenny are garbage. The set designs feel flat and small in comparison to Ken Adam's work. It feels like ALMOST a Bond movie. If the main character was some other super spy who fucks everyone who isn't named James Bond, it'd be a perfectly acceptable knock off in the way that Code Of Silence is a perfectly acceptable Dirty Harry knock off. 

Future movies do take some cues from this, though, as I believe this was the first movie to talk about Bond's age and the 00 program being outdated and useless in a modern era. Plus black Felix Lieter.

Also, the laser watch never had a pay off. Mother fuckers.

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