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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jan 24, 2022



       HENRY CAVILL - born in Jersey, an island in the English Channel, he's Superman

                               CHARLIE COX - English - Born in London, best known as Daredevil


                                          SAM HEUGHAN - SCOTTISH like Sean Connery

WE’VE seen all the James Bond films since it started in 1962 with the Scottish Sean Connery as the very first 007 in “Dr. No”. 

We read somewhere that Ian Fleming, who created 007, didn’t approve of him then because he was just a brick layer, a ditch digger and did other unglamorous jobs before he became an actor.

But “Dr. No” became a worldwide hit, made Sean Connery a superstar and it started one of the most successful film franchises in cinematic history. 

There is no denying the late Sean Connery looks good whether dressed to the nines in Savile Row suits or undressed in his bed scenes showing off his hirsute chest. 

He really brought Fleming’s character to life, with an irrepressible touch of humor. It’s clear, even if he’s being tortured by the uber villains he has faced on screen, that Sean is always having a blast as Bond, obviously confident in his inherent superiority above all of them.

This is obvious right in that scene in "Dr. No" where he introduces himself after winning in a game of cards: “Bond, James Bond.” Right there and then, you know he owns the character. He plays it with so much fun, sophistication, tongue-in-cheek humor. He is the most well equipped 007 and all the others pale in comparison.

Sean made a total of seven films as 007 from 1962 to 1983: “Dr. No”, “From Russia with Love”, “Goldfinger”, “Thunderball”, “Diamonds are Forever”, “You Only Live Twice” and “Never Say Never Again”. 

Although he won the Oscar best supporting actor award in 1987 for “The Untouchables” and was voted by People’s Magazine as the Sexiest Man of the Century in 1999, he never achieved such as big a success as he did in playing James Bond.

Other actors who played 007 are George Lazenby (one movie), Roger Moore (also seven films), Timothy Dalton (two films), Pierce Brosnan (four films) and the last is Daniel Craig (five films.)

Craig has a long and stiff upper lip that makes him look like the most “masungit”, grumpiest Bond who never smiles. He started as Bond in “Casino Royale” in 2006 and ended his stint as 007 after 15 years in “No Time to Die”, the 25th film in the entire series. Craig says it’s his final outing as 007 and so we see him being killed in the film’s finale. 

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, who co-wrote it with three other writers, he is best known for the acclaimed “Beast of No Nation” and “True Detective”. 

He is the first American (of Japanese-Swedish descent) to direct a James Bond film. The other directors are mostly British. 

“No Time to Die” starts with a flashback prologue showing a young girl, Madeleine Swann, seeing her mom murdered by a man. She runs away and falls into a frozen lake but the man saves her.

“No Time to Die” is a continuation of the last 007 film, “Spectre”, where we met Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), a former Spectre agent who is the father of Madeleine (Lea Seydoux), a psycho therapist. The main villain there was Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), who turns out to be Bond’s foster brother.

 He hates Bond with a passion as their dad showed more affection to Bond than to him. It’s Blofeld who earlier caused the death of the woman Bond loved, Vesper Lynd (Eva Green.)

“Spectre” ended with Bond and Madeleine going away in Bond’s Aston Martin. In “No Time to Die”, we see them still together in Matera, Italy, where Vesper’s remains were laid to her final rest. Madeleine tells Bond to visit her grave and while he’s there, a bomb explodes but it fails to kill him. 

He returns to Madeleine and sends her away, believing she has betrayed him to Spectre. He retires in Jamaica but an old friend from the CIA, Felix (Jeffrey Wright), asks for his help to rescue a kidnapped scientist, Obruchev (David Dencik ), who is kidnapped from an M16 laboratory by Spectre. 

A menacing new villain armed with a new biotechnology also surfaces. This is Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek), the assassin who killed Madeleine’s mom in the prologue. He wants to get Obruchev’s Project Heracles with its nanobots that can infect humans by touch and will put the world in danger.

Bond declines to help Felix, but the head of M16, M (Ralph Fiennes), calls on him and also asks for his help. He learns that they have a new agent named 007 and it’s a black woman, Nomi (Lashana Lynch).  

Bond chooses to help Felix instead and goes to Cuba where he teams up with Paloma (Ana de Armas, Craig’s co-star in “Knives Out”), another CIA agent, where they learn that Blofeld, even if he’s still imprisoned, uses a bionic eye to still give orders to his henchmen and they are assigned to kill Bond with a mist. 

But it misfires and kills all the Spectre members instead. Soon, more double crosses follow. Bond also learns that it’s Blofeld who masterminded his being bombed at the cemetery while he’s still in jail.

Bond is reunited with Madeleine and finds out that they have a five-year old daughter, Mathilde, who Madeleine won’t admit at first. She reveals that it was his father, Mr. White, who killed the parents of Safin upon the orders of Blofeld. Safin gets to kidnap Madeleine and Mathilde and takes them to his missile base in an island between Japan and Russia where Safin is using the Heracles nanobot technology to decimate the world's population. 

It is here that Bond will make his final sacrifice as a missile strike is about to hit the island. As the film ends, we’re made to believe that Bond is having his last stand there. But do you think he really made a final exit? Of course not, give it a few more years and no doubt the series will be given another reboot, with another actor playing James Bond. 

The difference of “No Time to Die” is that it has given Bond a family. He has become a father in an attempt to make his final film more moving and heartbreaking. It’s also revealed here that Q (Ben Whishaw), the agent who makes all those impossible gadgets for Bond, is gay and is having a date with another man.

The action sequences are spectacularly executed, particularly the first action set piece where Bond and Madeleine are surrounded in their bullet proof car by enemies all over and you’d really wonder how they will be able to get out of their predicament. 

But the film is just too, too long at 2 hours and 40 minutes, with a convoluted plot with two villains, an old one and a new one that just don’t justify its running time. Even the core premise of the nanobot biological weapon of mass destruction sounds like so much spy movie nonsense. 

After winning an Oscar as Freddy Mercury, Rami Malek overacts here all over the place as Lyutsifer. Maybe he doesn’t really like the name they gave him so he just gives it an over-ranting but, ultimately, underwhelming performance. He doesn’t come out scary or intimidating at all but just preposterous.

Craig also doesn’t have much of a chemistry with Lea Seydoux. You don’t really root for them as a couple. Eva Green has a more smoldering presence than her. Aren’t there any prettier and sexier European actresses around? Ana de Armas is certainly a much more perky, more spunky presence on screen than Seydoux. 

So will you mourn for Bond? Of course not. We all know 007 is unkillable, indestructible. Here, he’s not even shown going out in a blaze of glory, but it’s really about time Craig retires as he has minimal sex appeal and is already losing his hair. 

This is meant to be a send-off for Craig for his final 007 film, but it appears more to us as a send up. More good riddance than a touching goodbye.

So we’ll just look forward to the next actor who will play 007. Our biggest bet is Henry Cavill, who has the good looks, the hunky build and hirsuteness a very masculine Bond calls for. Some say he’s already known as Superman and The Witcher. 

But who cares? Roger Moore was The Saint before he became Bond while Pierce Brosnan was Remington Steel for five years. But Eon Productions still hired them as Bond. 

Our next bet is Charlie Cox, best known as Daredevil (he did a cameo in “Spiderman: No Way Home”). Also Sam Heughan, the Scottish actor best known as Caitriona Balfe’s rugged leading man in the long-running costume TV series, “Outlander”.