Three years ago we started out our son Jeffrey, then almost 9, with his
first Bond film (DR. NO) and then proceeded to see every "official" Bond
picture in order right up through the latest (THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH).
There are two Bond films that aren't part of the official Broccoli family
canon -- CASINO ROYALE (1967) and NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (1983). (The
Broccoli family, the producers of the Bond series, guard the rights like
Dobermans.) We saved these two offshoots until after we had seen the "real"
Bond pictures. The two are pretty terrible. CASINO ROYALE was so awful
that I still haven't gotten around to writing a review of it.
NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN begs the question of whether we are ready to feel
sorry for James Bond. Do we want a Bond who is unsure of himself? A Bond
who is a middle aged guy acting like a senior citizen? And do we want Sean
Connery, in his last appearance as 007, to impersonate a B-movie actor
playing the role? I think not.
This time, a way-past-his-prime Bond is off to a "health farm", sent there
by M (Edward Fox, all of the supporting cast is different). He is sent
there to rid himself of "free radicals" in his system
Director Irvin Kershner can't manage to get a decent performance out of any
of the cast, but, given how incredibly weak Lorenzo Semple Jr.'s script is,
maybe it was hopeless. The by-the-numbers script, which is a lame remake of
THUNDERBALL, has SPECTRE stealing two nuclear bombs to use in a big
Long, hackneyed fight sequences drag on and on, and the special effects are
nothing to write home about. Typical of what passes for a surprise in the
unimaginative script is a pet snake thrown in the front seat of a car in
order to cause an accident by distracting the driver.
Even the Bond film's signature opening title sequence is completely missing.
And the dull music throughout isn't worthy of a Bond movie.
"I certainly hope we're going to have some gratuitous sex and violence," Q
(Alec McCowen) tells 007. "I hope so too," he replies. In NEVER SAY NEVER
AGAIN, we get these standard ingredients but the results are as flat as
bread without yeast. Bond movies should first and foremost be fun. NEVER
SAY NEVER AGAIN is as dull as dishwater.
NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN runs a long 2:17. It is rated PG for sexual
situations and violence and would be acceptable for kids around 9 and up.
My son Jeffrey, now almost 12 and a big Bond fan, just sat staring at NEVER
SAY NEVER AGAIN. He gave it ** only, he said, "because it was a Bond." He
complained about everything from the horrible music to the long, boring
fights. He said that it just didn't feel at all like a Bond film.
We saw the film on DVD. It is also available on VHS tape.
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes