There’s a promise at the end of Daniel Craig’s fifth and final performance as James Bond: Bond will return.
Let the rumors begin. Who will play 007 next? After all, there have been six actors in the six decades – starting with “Dr. No” in 1962 – that writer Ian Fleming’s character has been onscreen.
But time enough for that. “No Time to Die” is a solid, action-packed sendoff for Craig.
Director Cary Joji Fukunaga (“Beasts of No Nation”) also wrote the screenplay with Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. He gives this outing a lush look, with eye-popping action sequences – my favorite involving a terrific motorcycle scene – and all the glamor and exotic landscapes we expect in a Bond film. (I saw it in an IMAX theater at Cinemark, Davenport.)
The first action takes place when Bond visits the grave of his late romantic interest Vesper Lynd (played by Eva Green in “Casino Royale.”) But Bond remains in the company of Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), whom you may remember from “Spectre.”
There are two bad guys this time around. Rami Malek plays Lyutsifer Safin, who has a plot to take over the world. Then there’s the return of Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) with his bionic eye.
Bond decides to retire, and is temporarily replaced by another 007 (the entertaining Lashana Lynch.)
As for Craig, he’s engaging, once again, as a man filled with past hurts and regrets who nonetheless feels it’s his duty to find a kidnapped scientist. We see Bond pull at his cuffs – a signature move – as he walks into an upscale setting. And we still get Aston Martins, Omega watches and cocktails.
We also get splendid explosions, gunfire galore and a gorgeous Hans Zimmer score that’s one of the finest of the year.
The movie is overly long – it’s the longest of the Bond films – but the ending is worth the wait.
Now that’s what audiences will have to do until the next 007 is announced.
Running time: Two hours and 43 minutes.
Rated: PG-13 for violence, sexual situations and foul language.