Bond in Review: Never Say Never Again Part IV

 

Nicole drops Bond off at Largo’s fancy fundraiser, which he quickly gets in by intimidating a guard with a device that he pretends is explosive (in fact, just a fancy cigar box).

As we enter a Casino, one wonders if we’ll get a fancy round of Bacarrat, or even poker or crap tables. But nope! The casino, it turns out, also functions as an arcade, showing that this particular Bond, like Wargames, Tron, and the Last Starfighter, wanted in on the whole video game mania (although the plot of course doesn’t revolve around video games as much; just this particular sequence).

Some Bond fans have remarked that one of the extras looks like Timothy Dalton. I seriously doubt it, though. Dalton at the time was pretty much established in Britain, and it wouldn’t make much sense for him to have a one second cameo in a Connery movie.

His face just doesn’t seem anywhere near as severe as Dalton’s, either (The eyes and mouth, especially). Sure, the hairstyle, and thick eyebrows, as well as the tux are similar to his “License to Kill” Casino look, but yeah, I’m not buying it anyway.

Image result for Timothy dalton license to kill casino

Just for comparison’s sake, here’s a look at Dalton in 1983, the year NSNA, from a similar angle.

Funny thing is, McClory did consider making a Dalton James Bond film as a rival to the Brosnan ones-another remake of Thunderball, called “Warhead 2000” (About the least Bondy title one can think of), where he would face off against Connery as Largo or Blofeld! One of the stranger Bond film concepts…

This is also the only scene where we see Fatima really interact with Largo as well. It’s clear she sort of has feelings for him, sort of a mutual sadism.

It’s pretty much the analog to this scene from Thunderball, although there was really no chemistry at all there.

 

Bond mean while, is cozying up to Domino by buying her a drink, despite their awkward last encounter, and asks about her brother, but Largo quickly intervenes, introducing his own video game-Domination. This is perhaps one of the best remembered and unique scenes in the film. The official Bond films wouldn’t really deal with anything really video-game related until Die Another Day, where Bond dons VR glasses for a simulated takeover of MI6. (and they of course figure into the film’s later Moneypenny gag).

The game, played over a long table with a holographic display in the middle, sort of parallels the plot, involving the two nuclear missiles. Gameplay wise it seems a bit like a 3D version of “Missile Command”.

Of course this being a Bond film, there’s some real world stakes, such as electrically-charged joysticks that’ll shock you if you lose, and of course Largo and Bond start to pump them up to near lethal levels, something that almost kills them both.

Bond, being Bond of course wins the game, and we get a great line from Connery as Largo asks: “Do you lose as gracefully as you win?” to which Bond replies, “I wouldn’t know, I’ve never lost”. Bond’s only request is a dance with Domino.

Whereas in THUNDERBALL Bond revealed the details of her brother’s death to her on an empty beach, here he’s doing it while they’re dancing the tango. It’s a pretty well shot sequence, and I like Kim Basinger’s expressions here as she sort of tries to keep a look between composed and shocked.

Bond’s facts about her brother seems to be confirmed by Largo being kind of dodgy on the subject of her brother, but Largo invites him over to his yacht anyway.

Meanwhile, back at the villa he shares with Felix and Nicole, we’re given the somewhat nasty and disturbing shot of Nicole drowned in a small pool, pretty much confirming her as this film’s Paula (Although Paula took her own life to avoid leaking information, the culprit here is Fatima).

Bond notices Fatima get away, and we pretty much get this film’s gadgety chase scene, this time with a motorcycle. This is something also rather unique. While many motorcycles feature in Bond chase scenes, there’s only been a few with Bond himself as the rider apart from this one-the Goldeneye escape where he jumps from it to a falling plane, “Tomorrow Never Dies” Saigon chase, the short one in Quantum of Solace (where he mainly uses it to help get on the boat) and the Istanbul chase that is part of Skyfall’s opening….and none of them were Q brand, just something Bond just picked up on the way. This one has rocket launchers and boosters.

It’s an OK scene, not the best chase scene but still fairly interesting and with some decent stunts. It’s cut short by Fatima who derails it, and she then traps Bond, and like Red Grant in Never Say Never Again, wants him humiliated and her own ego puffed up.

Of course Bond, like the earlier scene with Grant, can’t resist getting a few insults in just to provoke-and then of course, the pen rocket-which has a delayed reaction, causing Bond to nearly get shot.

But in the nick of time, it ignites and soon there’s just two smoking high-heeled shoes remained of Fatima.

Although I think the death of her Thunderball counterpart is still a bit funnier with the added Bond pun.

 

To evade the police, Felix shows up and remarks at the skill Bond handled her, but then we get a kind of goofy exit as just some guys exercising around the place.

 

 

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