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No Time To Die (PG13)

Starring Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux, Rami Malek

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga

​​​​​​​There are long movies that leave you wanting for more, and there are those that are just, well, long. No Time to Die, falls in the latter category: At 163 minutes, it’s the 60-year-old franchise’s longest instalment — and one hell of a way to end Daniel Craig’s five-film run as James Bond. Just give the audience more bang for their buck, right? Perhaps. Some folks, however, might find this a bloated and underwhelming affair, more exhausting than exciting; mostly, it feels like a corporate obligation. The 25th 007 adventure — directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective, Beasts of No Nation) — sees the M16 superspy recalled from retirement (nothing says white male privilege like chilling out in a private villa in Jamaica) to recover a programmable bioweapon (isn’t that WMD in Hobbs & Shaw as well?) from Rami Malek’s scar-faced bête noire Safin. Some knowledge of Spectre is required, notably Bond’s ties with ex-flame Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) and megalomaniac and foster brother Blofeld (Christoph Waltz). The story is overcrowded and undercooked, and its mix of pathos and action uneven (Mission: Impossible: Fallout did a better juggling job). Lashana Lynch is a nice addition to the series as a Double-O operative while Ana de Amas’s rookie CIA agent Paloma’s all-too-brief appearance comes across like an after-thought. Malek’s Safin is a big disappointment: he’s so unremarkably restrained, almost as if he’s afraid to outshine Bond — it’s his movie after all. The third act is problematic, especially if you don’t buy into the Bond-Swann relationship (how can he when he’s still hung up on Vesper Lynd?). It never hits the poignant high notes of similar send-offs like The Dark Knight Rises, Logan and Avengers: Endgame. Even if it does, it’s quickly cheapened by four words in the end credits. What a shame  (2.5/5 stars) 

Photo: UIP

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