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NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (1983)
Director Irvin Kershner's NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN is a lively, highly entertaining James Bond adventure.
The film opens with a newly appointed, politically correct "M" (Edward Fox), who has nothing but disdain for the 00 agents. "M" sends Secret agent 007 James Bond, who is nearing retirement to a health farm, after Bond makes a mistake or two in an agent field test. Along with the regiment of dandelion salads, plus all that the world of Schrubland offers, and medical regiments to cleanse his body of toxins, the incorrigible James is his usual babe magnet self. During one encounter with a physical therapist giving him a personal session in his bed, he is drawn to a room close by, when he hears a supposed nurse, Specter agent Fatima Blush (Barbara Carrera) slapping, knocking around and yelling at her U.S. Air Force officer patient, Captain Jack Petachi (Gavan O'Herlihy ) who had just had eye surgery on his right eye.
When Bond peaks through the patient's outside window, he inadvertently discovers part of an elaborate plot by Specter to steal nuclear warheads, before he has to quickly leave. Bond doesn't realize how the involvement of this officer helps Specter steal atomic Tomahawk cruise missiles until the dastardly deed is done, and this U.S. Air Force officer is found killed by foul play, probably at the hands of his tough love? abusive nurse. The next day, bad guys try to kill him and he is naturally obliged to destroy the health club in the process of defending himself, which gets him in even more hot water with the new "M." However, when the elaborate Specter plot, under the direction of the villainous Ernst Blofeld (Max von Sydow), who holds his customary white kitty,
"M" is ordered by his superiors to activate the 00 agents, specifically James Bond, to help get the missiles back, and to stop and /or kill Ernst Blofeld and his nasty co-horts. James Bond follows the trail of Specter to the Bahamas, where the suspected planner of the deed, Maximillian Largo (Klaus Maria Brandauer), a subordinate of Ernst Blofeld, has his yacht anchored. The lovely Domino Petachi,(Kim Bassinger) who is the sister of the doomed Air Force Officer Captain Petachi is the current girl friend /hostage? of Largo. The plot thickens, and the action flows from one adventure to another, in the familiar spirit of the James Bond films.
Irvin Kershner, a well-known director of action adventure films, including "The Empire Strikes Back," does a wonderful job with putting exciting action sequences together, as well as directing this fine cast. Also worth noting is that Kershner's trademark can be found in this action yarn. A specialty of Kershner's is his gift of directing actors whose characters are out of sync with society, and try to find ways to fit in. His insight of Maximillian Largo makes this character more than a one dimensional evil personality. Also, James Bond finds himself at odds with this new "M" who doesn't respect what he has accomplished in his long, life risking service to his country.
Sean Connery is in great form for his James Bond comeback. After avoiding 007 for years, he really wanted to do him again, and this desire really shows in his last performance of this character. Connery gets plenty of superb opportunities "to charge, swim, punch, speed, smash, and snog his way through," various adventures to accomplish his assignment.
Barbara Carrera, as the dastardly bad girl
killer psychopath, Fatima Blush/#12, gives a delicious performance,
portraying a woman who really enjoys her work as a bully and
assassin. Check out her water skiing ability! When James winds
up in the Bahamas, Fatima happens to run into James on purpose,
has a intimate session with him on her boat, and then tries
to set up his death for the first time, using motivated predators
of the deep. This begins a series of attempts by Fatima to do
in James Bond, which she finds very frustrating, as Bond is
hard to kill.
The entertaining script, by Kevin McClory, Jack Wittingham, & Lorenzo Semple Jr., based on Ian Fleming's original concepts and story, adds humor, and flights of fancy to the action adventure genre, which enhances the overall entertainment of the film. The writers all had worked on "Thunderball," and fully understood how a James Bond film should be written, adding touches of their own.
A favorite scene involves Connery discovering a dead body, of his beautiful French agent co-hort, INSIDE a waterbed, which was the work of Fatima. How in the world did she do that? The matter of how the body could possibly end up there is never dealt with, which is part of the film's off the cuff charm.
The gadgets are advanced and entertaining, such as laser watches and cornea transplants. Because of governmental budget cut-backs, one of the gadgets provided by Q (the late Alec McCowen) to James isn't quite perfected. After having to use it in a tense situation with bad gal Fatima, James experiences a moment or two of uncertainty, looking down a menacing barrel of a gun that is aimed at a personal, much loved part of his anatomy. Luckily for James and the rest of womanhood, he is saved when the gadget manages to work just in the nick of time.
Quote: Fatima Blush to James Bond: "You're quite a man, Mr. Bond, but I am a superior woman. Guess where the first shot goes?" (She's holding a gun on him as he sits on the ground with his legs spread).