Jamaica, the birthplace of James Bond where English author Ian Fleming created and wrote the novels about the British spy, has been showcased once again following the release of the movie No Time to Die.
The third instalment on the Caribbean island about secret agent 007 follows in the footsteps of Dr No (1962) and Live and Let Die (1973), with this motion picture being lead actor Craig Daniel’s swansong in the role.
With No Time to Die filmed in 2019, the release of the 25th Bond movie was rescheduled three times from the original planned premiere of April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But was it was worth it the wait?
The slower than usual opening of the film sets up the audience for what becomes an emotional roller-coaster ride, with the world’s favourite spy constantly proving that he is both a lover and a fighter.
This thriller offers plenty of references to previous Bond movies, beginning with the opening titles’ nod to Dr No and ending with Louis Armstrong’s love song of We Have All The Time In The World that was the theme tune to 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – George Lazenby’s one and only outing as 007.
No Time To Die and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service have their similarities including the fact that they are both exceptionally long films and the leading lady is smothered by Bond, who shows too much intimacy in an attempt to prove that he has a heart behind his rugged appearance and gallant persona.
Director Cary Joji Fukunaga ensures that the usual ingredients are on the menu to fill the global appetite for a typical high-octane Bond blockbuster to keep hearts beating.
Breathtaking stunt work runs riot for around the majority of this 163-minute adventure that comprises edgy fight scenes, seemingly endless gunfire, thunderous explosions and edge-of-your-seat vehicle chases. By throwing in a baddie and a rogue Russian should have meant this movie would come up trumps.
However, it does not. This is due to the fact that Bond turns his attention to fighting for whom he loves, namely Dr Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), against the villainous Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek).
Safin and Dr Swann kick off the movie in sensational style, before Jamaica is showcased where Bond has entered retirement with his lover. The couple share a house on a breathtaking bay in Port Antonio, overlooking the crystal clear azure Caribbean waters.
Then American CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) tempts Bond back into the spying game, with the new 007 Nomi (Lashana Lynch) also wanting him to return to MI6. This is when the Portland capital of Port Antonio is exhibited with a couple of songs from Jamaican icon Shaggy blasting away in the background of the bar/club.
Curvy and stunning Lynch, who proudly boasts Jamaican heritage, only plays a bit role to Craig who as a co-producer seemingly wishes to be seen in every shot.
The rest of the talented actors also have to play second fiddle to the brash Bond, with Cuban-born Ana de Armas’ exceptional comedic appearance as Paloma far too brief.Familiar faces from Spectre, the previous 007 movie, such as Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), M (Ralph Fiennes), Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) also all have to settle for supporting roles to the main man.
Overall this seems to be a muddled movie that is incoherent from the start, as the object seems to be completing the pieces of the jigsaw from the Skyfall and Spectre films.
Craig rightly steals the show as the fearless powerhouse he has been as 007 since 2006, but the main baddie role of Safin ruins his farewell.
Safin is a facially-scarred megalomaniac with an island lair, so there is an obvious throwback to the evil Dr Julius No played so brilliantly by Joseph Wiseman. Yet Malek’s slow speech and emotionless acting was never going to be a match for Bond’s action man antics, and accordingly he seems a weak character as a rapscallion.
Jamaica gets back on the screen with Kingston Harbour cleverly used to portray somewhere in Cuba. But Port Antonio is portrayed again, the movie cast and crew impressed by the north-eastern coast resort having spent six weeks in April/May 2019 at the Geejam Resort in Port Antonio.
England, the Faroe Islands, Italy, Norway and Scotland were other locations as Bond’s treacherous mission takes twists and turns.
With time flying by thanks to the superb directing and editing, the initial two-thirds of the movie are brimming with excellent entertainment levels. This is despite no real solid storyline and the film feeling extremely disjointed as Bond tries to combat dangerous new technology by various villains.
Then it simply falls apart as the now dated macho characteristics of Bond vanish. Instead it becomes cringeworthy, as love dominates the world’s longest running franchise. This means that Craig superb portray of 007 is diluted by taking away his ultimate confidence and strength of character.
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