Never Say Never Again (1983)

Never Say Never Again (1983)

“Good to see you, Mr. Bond. Things have been awfully dull around here.”

Synopsis:
With support from his top agent Largo (Klaus Maria Brandauer), SPECTRE head Ernst Blofeld (Max von Sydow) puts the world in nuclear jeopardy by replacing two dummy warheads with live ones, and demanding ransom. When aging James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent from a health spa to investigate, he soon encounters and seduces both Largo’s psychopathic assistant (Barbara Carrera) and his mistress (Kim Basinger).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • James Bond Films
  • Max von Sydow Films
  • Nuclear Threat
  • Sean Connery Films
  • Spies

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that “it was great to see Sean Connery return as James Bond after a dozen years, during which time he insisted he’d never play the part again.” Notably, Connery “initiated this project itself” and “it was not part of the ongoing Roger Moore series being produced by Albert Broccoli”; a quick read through any of the reviews linked below — or Wikipedia’s entry on the film — will give a sufficient overview of why this ended up “not [as] new material, but a remake of Connery’s fourth Bond film, Thunderball.” Peary points out that while “Bond’s a bit older,” “every woman he sees is attracted to him and he still can outwit the vilest of villains,” and he notes that Bond’s “pain game ‘Domination’ [with Brandauer] is a highlight.” (I agree, though critical opinions are decidedly mixed on this.) He writes that a “very athletic Barbara Carrera (giving her best performance) as the cheerful assassin Fatima Blush and blonde Kim Basinger as Domino, Largo’s innocent girlfriend, make lasting impressions”, and argues that the “film is exotic” (which Bond flick isn’t?), “well acted, and stylishly directed by Irvin Kershner.” He posits that this “would be one of the best Bond films if the finale weren’t disappointing”, and in closing makes the following plea: “When will filmmakers realize that underwater fight scenes don’t work because viewers usually can’t tell the hero and villain apart and they know doubles are being used?” (Excellent points; I agree.)

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Klaus Maria Brandauer as Largo
  • Barbara Carrera as Fatima
  • The “World Domination” game

Must See?
No, though of course Bond fans (especially “Connery-as-Bond” fans) will want to check it out.

Links:

One thought on “Never Say Never Again (1983)

  1. ⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    There’s no such beast as a Bond film that’s a bad film, but NSNA would get my vote as my least favourite. It’s still good entertainment but it just feels … slack.

    The direction is listless, the score and theme tune dull and Connery is playing it like Moore; all one liners and quips, only it’s not right for him. Basinger is dull, but Carrera and Brandauer are good if not as good as Lucianna Paluzzi or Adolfo Celi in Thunderball (1965).

    Watchable, fun but not a patch on the EON films. I hope you will also cover the other unofficial, non-EON Bond; Casino Royale (1967).

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