I’ll never say ‘Never again’ again
‘Cos here I am in love again,
Head over heels in love again, with you.
I’ll never say ‘Never kiss you’ again
‘Cos here I’m kissing you again,
That’s just the thing I said I’d never do.
I walked away and said goodbye,
I was hasty, wasn’t I
I missed you so I thought I’d die,
And that I have always thought was the inspiration for the title of this James Bond film. It’s Never Say Never Again, from 1983. This was 21 years after Dr. No, the first film based on an Ian Fleming novel and centered on his recurring character, James Bond. Scottish actor Sean Connery played the lead roll in the first James Bond film, and this is the last time he played that roll.
The movie follows the now well established theme established by the first movie. Bond is a handsome and daring British MI-6 operative, and every performance dictates he have bountiful sex with one or more knockout females. In film after film we see these women unable to resist James Bond’s masculine charms, something all my male readers can relate to. A rigid requirement of each script requires that Bond take enormous risks and prevail against astronomical odds in deadly combat. This film fits the formula.
Here is a short synopsis, illustrated with screen shots from Hulu. Wikipedia lists the players.
- Sean Connery as James Bond, MI6 agent 007.
- Klaus Maria Brandauer as Maximillian Largo, who is based on the character Emilio Largo. Billionaire businessman and SPECTRE Number 1, SPECTRE’s senior-most agent.
- Barbara Carrera as Fatima Blush, based on Fiona Volpe; SPECTRE Number 12, assigned to hunt down and kill Bond.
- Kim Basinger as Domino Petachi, sister of Jack Petachi and girlfriend/mistress of Maximillian Largo. The surname was changed to Petrescu for the Italian release of the film.
- Rowan Atkinson as Nigel Small-Fawcett, Foreign Office representative in the Bahamas.
- Bernie Casey as Felix Leiter, Bond’s CIA contact and friend.
- Max von Sydow as Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE.
- Edward Fox as M, Bond’s superior at MI6.
- Gavan O’Herlihy as Captain Jack Petachi, a USAF pilot used by SPECTRE to steal the nuclear missiles, and Domino Petachi’s brother.
- Alec McCowen as Algernon/Q, Double-0 section Quartermaster who issues specialised equipment to Bond.
- Ronald Pickup as Elliott, a government agent working under M.
- Pamela Salem as Miss Moneypenny, M’s secretary.
- Prunella Gee as nurse Patricia Fearing, a physiotherapist at the clinic.
- Pat Roach as Lippe, a SPECTRE assassin who tries to kill Bond at the clinic.
- Anthony Sharp as Lord Ambrose, Foreign Secretary who orders M to reactivate the Double-0 section.
The credit sequence shows Bond penetrating a heavily guarded villa, definitely beyond any of my readers’ price range. He defeats defender after defender, killing some, rendering others temporarily indisposed, until he finally makes his way to the object of this escapade. A ravishingly sexy damsel lies on a bed, her hands and feet secured by cruel restraints. He enters the boudoir and cuts the hapless lass free. She stabs him.
But it is not real. It was only a training exercise, and number 007 failed to take into account the damsel may have, during her capture and sexual exploitation, become bonded with the enemy. M, Bond’s immediate supervisor chides him for his lack of foresight. Bond lays it off to his adrenaline level being down. There was no live ammunition involved. M observes Bond is getting stale and fatigued, and he orders him to a rehabilitation center.
Meanwhile Ernst Stavro Blofeld, head of SPECTRE, sets in place a scheme to hold the world hostage.
An American Air Force officer named Jack Petachi has been compromised, and he is in the same clinic, having had his eye modified to fake the retina scan of the American president. Psychotic killer Fatima Blush is Petachi’s fake nurse in the clinic. She works for SPECTRE. They plan to employ Petachi in their scheme to steal two nuclear weapons.
While Bond is convalescing from exhausting sex with a comely clinic staff member, he looks out the window and notices Blush and Petachi engaged in a violent struggle. All that does not matter, because we shortly see Petachi spoofing the President to induce an automatic loader to replace dummy warheads with the real thing in two exercise missiles.
The scheme goes off as planned. The missiles take off with the real warheads and are recovered from the ocean by SPECTRE operatives. We know SPECTRE will not allow Petachi to survive the plot, and sure enough, as he leaves the Air Force base in England, Blush follows him. She comes alongside on an open stretch of road and tosses a large snake into his car through an open window. He crashes the car and is killed. She finishes the matter by placing a bomb in the wrecked car and setting it off.
Q makes a visit. He shows off some new gadgets for Bond, including a pen that fires a powerful missile. He also promises a tricked up motorcycle to follow.
The scene moves to the Bahamas, where pursues Maximillian Largo, billionaire businessman working with SPECTRE. He teams with a comely wench, named Nicole, also in pursuit of Largo. They engage in underwater and also undercover relations. She is also interested in pursuing Largo.
Bond boards the yacht and is immediately found out. Blush is there. They get acquainted.
Blush and Bond join in an undersea expedition, and she attempts to kill him by planting a shark attracting device on him. He eludes the trap, and she is furious. The scene moves to France, where Largo has taken his yacht, and Nicole joins the pursuit. Bond crashes Largo’s swank charity event, and Largo responds by inviting Bond to play a game he has invented. It’s about world domination. Bond defeats Largo, and Largo is furious.
Largo’s main squeeze is Domino Petachi, sister of the dead officer. She does not know her brother has been killed until Bond gives her the bad news. He does that as the two are dancing a sensuous tango at the ball. It’s a visually fascinating performance, entertaining movie viewers and burning off excess celluloid.
Bond goes to look for Nicole and discovers Blush has murdered her. There is a furious chase through French Riviera streets with Bond on the trick motorcycle in pursuit. Several SPECTRE operatives join in, but Bond contrives for them to wreck out. He corners Blush in an Medieval castle, where Blush gets the upper hand. All the while she has shown to be psychotic, and now Bond plays against that. As Blush holds the pistol, Bond gives her the idea she needs to demonstrate her domination. She now wants him to sign a statement before he dies. He pulls out Q’s deadly pen, and that is the end of Blush.
Off to North Africa, where one stolen bomb is being deployed. Bond learns from Largo the other bomb is stashed below the President’s office in Washington. The disarm code is decrypted and used to disarm that bomb. But Largo has Bond bound with chains in a castle dungeon while he has Domino put up for auction in the local slave market.
But Bond has the trick wrist watch from Q, which has a built in laser. He uses the laser to cut through his chains, and he commandeers a horse, riding it into the slave market square and rescuing domino. Pursued, Bond, with Domino on the back, jumps the horse off the castle parapets and into deep water.
With allied forces converging, the attempt to deploy the second bomb is defeated, and Domino kills Largo with a spear gun while he fights with Bond under water.
Bond and Domino enjoy some down time in a sumptuous spa.
But Bond’s MI-6 handler shows up and Bond dumps him in the pool before he can identify himself. He wants Bond to rejoin and help save the world. Bond says never again again, and that’s the end of the movie.
Of course, it’s all contrived action and adventure with much gratuitous sex and violence. To be sure, the director recognizes this is Connery’s last Bond, signals it is a spoof, putting “gratuitous sex and violence” into a snipped of dialog.
The capers carried off in this film are off the chart and not to be taken seriously. For example, Blush wants to kill Petachi. How does she do it? She follows him in her car and tosses a snake into an open window. Really? For this to work a number of unpredictable circumstances need to converge.
- The car window needs to be open.
- The snake must cause Petachi to crash the car.
- There must be no other traffic around and no witnesses as she plants the bomb in the wrecked car.
As in all these adventure films, when the evil genius needs to kill the hero he picks the most round about way of doing it, allowing the hero to ultimately escape. I mean, Largo has Bond chained up in a dungeon. Whatever happened to putting a bullet through an opponents head and exiting stage right?
Connery became James Bond in 1962. By 1983 he was showing his age. Compare Dr. No and Never Say Never Again Again.
The immortal words are spoken for the first time.