Awesome poster, right?
Yeah well don't get your hopes up, people, this is Never Say Never Again, the 1983 "remake" of Thunderball directed by Irvin "Empire Strikes Back" Kershner and starring an aging Sean Connery in his last outing as 007. Being an unofficial Bond flick, get ready for some unofficial Bond assness.
For starters, Sean Connery not only looks waaaay too old for the part but he is barely trying giving a near-catatonic performance throughout. He also has THE worst wardrobe spending most of his time in pyjamas, bad cream-coloured suits or bath robes. Remember David Niven in the old Casino Royale? Frighteningly, he made a more convincing Bond in that movie than... Bond himself! Next to Connery's performance in this, Harrison Ford in Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull looked like a fresh-faced newborn.
From the offset, you know you're in for something thoroughly unimpressive. The theme song is about as exciting as a lullaby and the uninventive titles, set to dull footage of trees, make the start of this late entry into the franchise already feel tired and tedious. We then see Bond fight a bunch of guys on rooftops in what seems like slow-motion but is in fact full motion just... very slow full motion and several hours later the plot of the film finally begins.
What follows is the introduction of old Bond's lesser cast of supporting characters: an especially weasely M, a forgettable Q and Mr Bean (yes, Rowan Atkinson is sadly in this) who prompts more frowns and unsympathetic sighs than laughs during his cameo. The humour in Never Say Never Again is so dated that every pun, every joke comes crashing down like a ton of bricks. I'm sorry but I don't necessarily want to know if Bond will be getting a colonic anytime soon... call me crazy!
What kills the film, besides the soporific plot and the wildly disinterested Connery has to be the pace. What a dull excuse for a Bond film and from the guy behind the most exciting Star Wars film to date! No tension, no suspense, no action, no urgency: Never Say Never Again gets everything wrong in terms of what makes a Bond film fun and unique. The film looks cheap, boasts an awful disco/ballad soundtrack, clunky sets, idiotic gadgets and set-pieces, there's no real effort here. Even the likes of Max Von Sydow (Blofeld lol) and Kim Basinger (Bond girl number 4) are wasted.
All that said, there are some lols and a couple of redeeming features to this belated mess. For one thing the female villain spontaneously explodes and disintegrates at one point leaving only her shoes: always funny. For another, a sequence involving Bond and antagonist Largo playing a video game, as silly as it sounds, is actually pretty cool. The dated nature of the film gives it a so-bad-it's-good feel occasionally which keeps you from falling asleep every so often. But that's really it, otherwise there is very little to enjoy here.
Everything about an official Bond film is missed: the theme song, the music, the budget, the action, the stunts, the style... everything. Connery should have left well enough alone and contented himself with Diamonds Are Forever because he looks about as lost here as he did in Zardoz and the film puts a stain on Kershner's career I really wish I hadn't heard of. Well, there is S*P*Y*S also...
Overlong, silly, boring, unnecessary, Never Say Never Again is the most forgotten Bond title for a reason: it blows.
A stinker you might want to steer clear of.