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Never Say Never Again


The summer of 1983 was, in theory, a huge year for OO7 fans. Warring producers were determined to win the summer, each with their own Bond films.

Albert R. Broccoli had Roger Moore in "Octopussy" and Kevin McClory had won his lawsuit for the right to create a remake of "Thunderball".

He enticed Sean Connery to return to the role of Bond for one last time in NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN.

It's an odd entry in the Bond canon, feeling at once like a tired knockoff and yet all too familiar as its the same story we know in Thunderball.

This time, Largo is played well by German actor Klaus Maria Brandauer from "Out of Africa" and "Mephisto". He's a great actor and he's terrific at being absolutely mad in the role.

Kim Basinger is not very good as Domino, saddled with a very bad 80's wardrobe. Speaking of wardrobe and being mad, check out what Barbara Carrera (Embryo) wears as Fatima Blush. She's not very good either, pailing next to the much more seductive menace of Lucianna Paluzzi as Blush in "Thunderball". She and Connery had real chemistry in that film. Nearly 20 years later, Connery doesn't seem to have any chemistry with anyone on screen.

52 years old when they filmed, he can still toss out a great one liner, or deliver the perfect facial expression, but he seems strangely disconnected, not even on screen for long boring stretches of the film that suffer without him.

Edward Fox (Day of the Jackal) is great in almost everything he's in, but he seems more like an eccentric great aunt complaining about her tea than he does anything resembling M.

The great Max Von Sydow (The Exorcist) is wasted as Blofeld, reduced to stroking a cat and running conference calls.

But wait, is the music score good? No, its horrible. Michel Legrand can write a great film score, "Ice Station Zebra" for example. But his music here is cheesy, all wrong and forgettable. Only Eric Serra's godawful score for "Goldeneye" is worse within the OO7 legacy.

There's little action, bad special effects and in the middle of it, poor Sean, looking a little too old for all the action. Good toupee though.

When Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) is a highlight as Bond's international connection, you know you're in trouble.

The release of the film ended up getting intentionally delayed, so that Connery's film was released in the fall, about four months after Moore's entry.

"Octopussy" won both the box office battle and the long term critical match up, being by far the more highly regarded Bond entry than Connery's last time in the role.

Connery should have stuck to his instincts and made "Diamonds Are Forever" his Bond swan song. NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN never finds the right key, stumbling its way to a D.

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