Movie Review – No Time to Die (2021)

The name’s Battler. Bookshelf Q. Battler.

I’ll have a banana daquiri. Fresh, not frozen.

BQB here with a review of the latest Bond flick.

If there’s one universal rule about the Bond franchise, it’s this. Every Bond incarnation usually has one fantastic, blow-out film and then the rest are OK or subpar at best. For Pierce Brosnan, his great was Goldeneye. For Daniel Craig, his knockout was Skyfall. The rest are too old for me to parse through, and perhaps all of Sean Connery’s were great, but ultimately these flicks can be hit or miss and on occasion, you’re left wondering what were they thinking.

Daniel Craig has been at the Bond game a long time now and the world has been through a lot of changes. First, he had the unenviable task of reviving the franchise in the post-9/11 world. After the Twin Towers fell, audiences had less of a tolerance for Bond’s sillier side. Sure, it’s always a good time when he saves the day with the help of one of Q’s wacky gadgets while delivering a clever one-liner, but we viewers collectively grew up and realized that what a nation’s intelligence service does (fails to do or doesn’t prevent) matters. Thus, Bond had to get more serious…yet somehow retain the fun.

Flash forward another decade and a half later and Bond’s womanizing ways have also become tres passe. How much more can society chip away at this beloved character? First, we told him he has to stop being funny. Now we’re telling him he has to stop bagging babes which is hard because he has a track record of getting it on at least three times per film. There’s always one random hottie who is just a fling, then a good hottie he has to work with, and also a hottie dating a villain he has to convince to switch sides…with his studliness.

Truth be told, Bond films are the ultimate male fantasy. We dudes dream of being handsome, suave, sophisticated, driving the cool car, able to get any woman we want…and seriously, y’all have no idea how getting any woman you want is a superpower. Women never have to worry about finding a man. Women can just poke their head out the window and shout, “I want a man” and they will all come running, but a man? Most men have to really work for it and are lucky if they find one in their lifetime and are luckier still if they don’t screw it up. Meanwhile, Bond finds oodles and they all seem like they all feel very lucky and happy to be with him, even to the point where it leads to them being painted with oxygen depriving gold paint or befalling some other terrible fate.

As if that weren’t enough changes for Bond, the women want in on the action. They aren’t just happy to be Bond’s eye candy. They want their chance to murder the bad dudes and save the day too.

Tall order for a movie but somehow it delivers.

Going into it, I heard a lot of bad reviews, people chanting the old “go woke, go broke” mantra. While I think we all have to embrace diversity, I have noticed that some films/franchises go to eye-rolling lengths (see the latest Superman comic with Supes french kissing a pink-haired man he apparently dumps Lois for more.)

I didn’t find that here. I think the film managed to straddle the line between wokeness and Bond’s patented studliness.


They had Bond settle down. Ingenious, no?

The plot? Bond finally meets the true love of his life and gets hitched. On his honeymoon with Madeleine Swann, he gets sidetracked by villains henchmen because he’s Bond, so why wouldn’t he? This leads him down a rabbit hole toward a war between uber baddies Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) and Safin (Rami Malek) over a virus that can be tailor made to target anyone its wielder desires (and thus we understand why the film’s release was delayed from its original unfortunately time date during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, though I suppose it’s not like the producers could have ever foreseen how their plot would come too close too reality when they made the flick.)

Bond does get his side-babes, but only in the form of co-workers/spies Nomi who has taken up the 007 mantle in the wake of Bond’s retirement (Lashana Lynch) and Paloma, a Cuba based spy who claims to only have three weeks of training (Ana de Armas who I intend to propose to one day if my self-publishing enterprise ever makes me rich…unless she’d take me as poor. What the hell? Ana on the off chance you’re reading this…and I’ve embarrassed myself. Moving on…)

At any rate, Bond doesn’t bang these women because he’s a changed man now. He’s found the love of his life and is now a one woman man so no other babe will do. And the babes don’t come onto him because they’re professionals and they don’t mix business with pleasure. Hell, they don’t even seem interested…because they aren’t. Nomi, if anything, taunts him over being the new 007. So they’re just colleagues who work together to save the world and there’s no hanky panky that will lead Bond to a trip to MI6 HR and a vigorous drubbing on Twitter.

Ultimately, I found the ways in which the wokeness was blended in, baked into the cake, as it were, clever. We can’t really complain that Bond isn’t snogging chicks two, three at a time because he has finally found true love and frankly, for the past few films, we’ve seen a Bond who has become saddened by the love and leave ’em or worse, see them deep-sixed by the villain lifestyle. We dudes who like seeing babes on the screen still get to see them but we have to see them as experts in the espionage trade who get the intel through tactics and guile and not just by flashing their boobs (although let’s face it, in real life, one boob flash is all it takes for even the most stalwart villain to give up the launch codes because men are that basic.)

I won’t give up much more other than to say SPOILER ALERT the film does close Craig’s iteration of the franchise, which is unheard of in Bond history, because usually, the films just keep going until the Bond actor either gets too old, or the films get stale, or enough time passes that Hollywood says we haven’t done a Bond film in awhile and hey, there’s a new British actor on the scene who would fit the bill.

Thus, I suppose this means the next Bond version will be an actual reboot. Strange, because somehow the Bond films never get rebooted. It’s just as if Bond has somehow existed for 50 years as one man or another. There’s that old fan theory that perhaps there have just been a series of British spies who go by the name James Bond, 007. Either that or we just understand that Bond just exists and we don’t blink as he moves from one generation to the next.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. It’s by no means terrible as the critics are saying. It is a bit confusing though these films often are. Skyfall still remains Craig’s best. Quantum of Solace is still the worst. Spectre is middling. This one and Casino Royale are decent. To Craig’s credit, he only had one stinker, shaken, not stirred.

I am curious though how the next Bond iteration goes, or if they’ll have one. I mean, he can’t be a one-woman man forever and the character is a dude who is so damn sexy that women throw themselves at him, even if it means their peril as they switch sides and give up their villainous boyfriends. Maybe this ultra macho stud is a casualty of the woke era or maybe he’ll be back in ways we heretofore will never expect.

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7 thoughts on “Movie Review – No Time to Die (2021)

  1. Chel Owens says:

    “Women can just poke their head out the window and shout, β€œI want a man” and they will all come running…” is something my husband has told me lots of times. Not ever having much luck with males running at me, I never believe him.

    That and your “one boob flash is all it takes for even the most stalwart villain to give up the launch codes because men are that basic” crack me up.

    Oh… back to movies: yes, “Skyfall” was the best. I don’t love the villain the best, but that is NOT to say he did a bad job.

    P.S. Have you seen “Artemis Fowl?” Poor Judi Dench…

    • In my and your husband’s defense, did you actually poke your head out the window and say, “I want a man?” I mean, I didn’t say that necessarily leads to good men.

      I was actually thinking about writing one of my twisted short stories about a female spy who just saves the day with boob flashes.

      I’ve had this argument with liberal people, why making a female James Bond is just like saying women aren’t complete until they turn into men or something…that James’ superpower is that he can charm the villain’s girlfriend into giving up the save the day info. I am very old and I have yet to even charm a woman into making me a ham sandwich so I am always impressed when James talks women into giving up the nuclear launch codes.

      I didn’t see Artemis Fowl. Does Judi die in that too?

      • Chel Owens says:

        πŸ˜€ He didn’t say that brought out the quality males, either.

        And I agree with you on the “making women like men” point. I think that may have been what I scrabbled for in my post complaining about Cpt Marvel. Agreed that getting nuclear launch codes from sheer manliness is mighty impressive … but I do think you could get a ham sandwich. You know I think more highly of your dating prospects than you do.

        Oh. My. “Artemis Fowl” is terrible. Storyline all over the place. Plot holes. Bad acting. You just.. have to waste the two hours for a single line Dench delivers.

    • BTW I was a little miffed the weapon in this movie is somewhat similar to the weapon in Toilet Shocker, the sequel to Toilet Gator. In Toilet Shocker, it is revealed that the members of a famous army unit stole a golden statue of Saddam Hussein and dressed it up as a civil war general so they could hide it in plain sight and cash in when the heat dies down. Years later, a protest of the statue causes the secret to come out and a villain sends electric eels into their toilets to bite their butts, threatening to kill them with electric shocks unless they give up the statue. Turns out the statue contains a device that can pop out of Saddam’s butt and shoot out a virus that can be tailor made to pinpoint and kill anyone.

      So alright the Bond movie is only the same in that it has a virus that can target specific people.

      Anyway, I’m kind of at an impasse with my toilet animal novels. I’m a little afraid to publish them because I might offend someone. I might be a relic and maybe I missed my window to be a comedy writer because my sense of humor is circa late 1990s to early 2000s

      • Chel Owens says:

        I think you overthink. Yes, you’ll offend people. Duh. (How’s that for 90s?)

        The Gator books are very heavy-handed humor. Keep polishing and they’ll be a fun read for your target crowd. In terms of continually hoping they’ll millionaire-ize you, I’ve decided that not even Stephen King could make it in today’s book market.

      • I’ve created a whole world. There are Russian spies with a toilet shark that eats the enemies of a Putin like president. There’s a toilet monkey who helps an Ocean’s 11 like team pull off heists (he wears scuba gear and he pops out of toilets and unlocks doors, hacks computers so the team can get into vaults etc). There’s a hostage rescue team that uses a toilet anaconda snake to rescue hostages…i.e. if the hostage can get to the bowl and hold their breath then the anaconda slithers up, eats them, slithers to safety and spits them out unscathed on the other side. Drug cartels that smuggle drugs across the border in toilet fish. Toilet piranha used as hitmen fish. I have a vague idea that it all culminates in a final novel with toilet kaiju i.e. giant sea monsters who pop out of toilets and try to destroy the world.

        I don’t know I just have this multiple novel world in the works with heroes and villains fighting over the fate of the world using toilet animals for good and evil.

        But I guess I’m afraid to put them out because everyone is aghast at humor now.

        I’ll give you an example. There’s a villain who is a klansman who says horrible things but its only meant as a buildup so you cheer when goes to the bathroom and gets eaten by a toilet gator. I feel like, in context, the horrible things are ok because they are meant to steer the reader to cheer when he gets eaten but I think the younger crowd doesnt want bad things said for any reason. Thus you have these lame movies on Netflix where even the villains are super woke. I mean, come on, they’re villains. How can I cheer for them to be defeated if they aren’t doing and saying evil things.

      • Chel Owens says:

        I read part of some. πŸ˜€ You’ll need a thick skin and reasonable expectations about reception, is all. I’ve had to change my expectations regarding the glory of publishing to recognize that it will be a lot of work for mostly myself.

        Besides the woke culture, people just don’t read.

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