3 October 2003 | barnabyrudge
The only Bond remake. Pointless but fun.
Never Say Never Again got its title because Sean Connery had said in the 1970s (shortly after Diamonds Are Forever) that he would "never" do another Bond film. However, in 1983 he was persuaded to return to the role for a one-off special, a remake of his fourth entry Thunderball, and his wife rather humorously said to him that in the future he should make a point never to say never again. This film actually came out close to a Roger Moore entry in the series (Octopussy), and although Connery had more admirers as 007 than Moore, it was surprisingly Octopussy that scored a bigger box office hit.
Connery's Bond is older and more vulnerable than we remember him. His boss, M, doesn't hold him in very high regard and actually suggests that he take some time off in a plush health spa. During his time here, Bond uncovers a strange plot and the further he delves into the mystery the more he discovers. It seems that his old adversaries SPECTRE, fronted by the nefarious Blofeld (Max Von Sydow) have stolen two nuclear warheads which they will detonate if they are not paid an extortionate ransom. Chief overseer of this hideous plan is Emile Largo (Klaus Maria Brandeur), and Bond pursues Largo around the globe in an attempt to stop him, visiting such places as Monte Carlo and North Africa during the course of the mission.
The music by Michel Legrand is poor by series standards. It sounds rather similar to his music for the sleazy 1981 movie Your Ticket Is No Longer Valid, and is really ill-suited to this Bond production. However, in terms of villains, they've come with a couple of great ones for this film. Largo, as personified by Brandeur, is smooth but deadly, and hench-woman Fatima Blush (the sensual Barbara Carrera) is uncommonly disturbing. Rowan Atkinson also has a fairly good role as a dim-witted agent assigned to "help" Bond. The big action sequences are quite good, especially the horse chase around the North African sea-fortress and the motorbike chase, although some of the underwater moments are tough to understand because it's hard to figure out who is who behind the diving masks.