As a former Navy SEAL sniper it’s hard for me to watch action movies. I count rounds in gun magazines, watch people sweep each other with guns (you’re out of the SEAL Teams for this alone), and see people yelling at each other on targets whereas they should be silent or whispering into squad radio headsets.

HOWdamnfreakingever, the Bond movies have something magical about them that has me letting all that slip by.

No Time to Die actually had pretty decent tactics and the weapons were insanely well done.

“Eric, let’s go see the new Bond flick, dude!”

Vaccine cards in hand, my Navy SEAL buddy, and heterosexual life-mate (joking not joking) Eric Davis was in the city, and last night we bromanced out and saw No Time to Die in a crowded New York theater.

“Damn that was good…” said Eric when the curtain came down.

I have to agree with him.

I’ve been a fan of the James Bond franchise since I can remember and No Time to Die was one of the best modern Bond movies in years.

No Time to Die has all the ingredients that make up a great Bond movie: Beauty, chic style, guns, badass music, fast cars and bikes, great stunts, political tension, sex, explosions, stealth jet submarines, cars with mini cannons, exploding eyeballs, and creepy bad guys.

James Bond cars
The Badass Cars of Bond

Check, basics covered.

Speaking of bad guys… Rami Malek playing, Safin, is soooo good.

This was honestly the first Bond movie I watched that felt like it had real storytelling soul.

It also represented a ground-shaking shift into the next era of Bond; you’ll have to watch yourself to see why.

Amazing storytelling regardless of the shameless product placement that will slip past the uninitiated anyway. Omega, Heineken, and Nokia were among the brands mixing it up with 007.

Also, it’s kinda cool to see someone you know in Bond’s espionage world. In the movie, my Puerto Rico surf buddy and incredible actor Jeffrey Wright played the American CIA case officer and beloved Bond bud, Felix.

Ian Fleming, the mysterious creator of James Bond

Read Next: Ian Fleming, the mysterious creator of James Bond

Jeffrey Wright Felix No Time to Die
My Puerto Rico surf buddy and talented actor Jeffrey Wright playing CIA case officer Felix. (MGM and Eon Productions)

Hat tip to the amazing actors, writers, crew, and director Cary Fukunaga for adding 2,000 leagues of depth to an entertaining franchise that has remained shallow for years.

I had to google Cary because I know his work (in hindsight) but wasn’t a name I’d recognize until now.

 

Who Is This Cary Guy?

Cary Fukunaga Lá Seydeux Daniel Craig
Director Cary Fukunaga on the left with the stunning Léa Seydeux and the aging like fine red wine Daniel Craig in what appears to be Italy.

As the Indie Wire wrote about Cary Fukunaga,

“Over the decades, many filmmakers have catapulted from Sundance breakouts to commercial auteurs, but few have amassed an eclectic body of work like Cary Joji Fukunaga. In the 12 years since his acclaimed immigration thriller ‘Sin Nombre’ put him on the map, Fukunaga has navigated virtually every layer of the film and TV landscape: After his lavish Jane Eyre adaptation, he helped catalyze the potential of A-list movie stars on television with Season 1 of True Detective, then became the first guinea pig for Netflix’s move into awards-friendly filmmaking with the haunting war epic Beasts of No Nation.”

After Maniac his head-spinning sci-fi miniseries for the streamer, Fukunaga switched modes once again with the ultimate studio gig as the director of No Time to Die, the 25th entry in the James Bond franchise.” 

 

Set Locations

One thing I’ve always enjoyed about the Bond franchise is the exotic locales to which viewers were transported before the age of the face-turning traveler posts that litter Instagram like leftover spilled food in a New York subway.

The locations in  No Time to Die did not disappoint and included Italy, Jamaica, Norway, the Faroe Islands, and London.

There’s an opening scene with someone trapped under ice, gazing up to the surface out of the air. It reminded me of the opener to the Steel Fear sequel, Cold Fear, that John and I just finished. Actually, not quite finished, our agent Anne Speyer will have some quality time at the foot shaper. She’s amazing at shaping narrative and pace.

Welcome to Norway. Toyota 1 – Land Rover 0. (MGM and Eon Productions)

 

Music

 

The Gist with No Spoilers

Perhaps the hardest thing for me was trying to write this review without any major spoilers and could have been many, including the finale which charts a new and welcome path for the modern Bond franchise.

We also learn about the MI6-created DNA targeting smart nanobots that kill on contact. This is very imaginable and scary as fack (misspelled on purpose) to think about these days, coming off a global pandemic.
This is the launching point and I’ll leave it here because any more would be too much.
Paloma No Time to Die
Crashing the Spectre pajama party and getting warmed up in Cuba with agent Paloma. (MGM and Eon Productions)

Final Thoughts

There’s a revealed complexity to James Bond in No Time to Die that is unlike any other Bond movie.
Daniel Craig clearly passed the Torch to the gorgeous 00 rated Lashana Lynch “Nomi,” and this could be exciting with director Cary at the helm.
“M” appropriately and powerfully quotes American author Jack London at the end of the movie.
“The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”
I was shaken but not stirred at the gut-punch ending.
Channel your inner Bond and go see, No Time to Die.  You can thank me later. You can watch the movie’s trailer here.

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