One good thing about this latest James Bond film “No Time to Die,” is this is supposed to be Daniel Craig’s last adventure as 007. When Craig won the role in 2005, he quickly distanced himself from even Bond’s Walther PPK by telling OK! magazine: “I hate handguns. Handguns are used to shoot people and as long as they are around, people will shoot each other. That’s a simple fact.” As he was then about to play a character who uses guns to save people from villains, it’s a shame he couldn’t appreciate that guns are often used by law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from the violent criminals in our society.
Regardless of his ignorance, this latest film—like Craig’s other work—is a disappointment. And I am not even comparing Craig to Sean Connery’s portrayal of James Bond; though I will say that Craig could have learned something from Keanu Reeves’ character John Wick. Like Connery’s version of Bond, Wick is defined by action. We learn about Wick by what he does, not via soap-opera-style monologues. In this latest Bond, however, director Cary Joji Fukunaga has given us a Bond who is symbolic of the modern, weak men who, I suppose, made this film, not the confident action hero with a “license to kill” that Bond was always supposed to be.
Craig might loathe the Second Amendment. Fukunaga might, too. What they miss that “John Wick” doesn’t, is the Bond character needs to be running for his life from beginning to end. Instead, we get a talky, insecure man who is embarrassed by his own occupation and the tools of his trade. The plot is woven with some loud and garish blocks of CGI action, but these cartoonish absurdities would have a hard time making it in an animated movie made for nine-year-old boys. They leave us with a totally self-absorbed, artless anti-Bond film—an actor playing a special agent who loathes his part and the very tools that are used by millions of people to stay safe, but who so wants us to feel the angst he has for himself.