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Film / Never Say Never Again

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Algernon: Good to see you, Mr. Bond. Things've been awfully dull 'round here. I hope we're going to see some gratuitous sex and violence in this one!
James Bond: I certainly hope so, too.

The one with Bond and the villain settling their differences... with a video game duel.

An "unofficial"note  James Bond film released in 1983, starring Sean Connery and directed by Irvin Kershner (director of The Empire Strikes Back). It's a remake of Thunderball, with two nuclear warheads stolen by SPECTRE and used in a blackmail attempt against the nations of the world. Bond is sent to investigate the only lead, Domino Petachi (Kim Basinger in her Star-Making Role), sister of the pilot who performed the operation. The filmmakers intentionally decided to have Connery play an aging James Bond — though notably, Connery is actually younger than Roger Moore, who was still the current 007 in the Eon films at the time. Michel Legrand composed the soundtrack.

This movie was the result of an odd legal situation whereby Kevin McClory, who had co-written a movie script with Ian Fleming that would become the novel Thunderball, was allowed to retain the rights to that film's story and the characters who appeared in it. This included SPECTRE and Blofeld, who consequently were retired from the official Bond films after 1971's Diamonds Are Forever, not appearing again until 2015's Spectre when Eon Productions finally re-obtained the rights (it also forced Electronic Arts to rename SPECTRE to the comparatively cutesy-sounding OCTOPUS when they adapted From Russia with Love into a video game).

It was in direct competition with Eon's Octopussy, which came out the same year. McClory never followed up on this film to continue his goal of making his own James Bond franchise to rival the Eon series, due to the constant legal disputes with Albert R. Broccoli in doing so and having only the Thunderball novel to work with.

This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Consent: In both this and Thunderball Bond seduces the nurse attending him at the health clinic. Notoriously though, the encounter in Thunderball is a case of borderline rape and Bond virtually / actually blackmails the nurse into sleeping with him. It's ambiguous how serious he was being or whether she honestly felt threatened by it, but it can be nonetheless uncomfortable to watch. Here, the encounter is explicitly consensual and no blackmail — joking or otherwise — is involved at all. Rather, she's interested and Bond sweetens the deal with gourmet food.
  • Adaptational Name Change: A lot of them.
    • François Derval becomes Jack Petachi, and thus Domino's surname is Petachi as well.
    • Largo goes from Emillio to Maximillan to reflect the casting of Brandauer.
    • Fiona Volpe becomes Fatima Blush.
    • In a bit of a gag, Largo's yacht is renamed "Flying Saucer," the English translation of "Disco Volante," which was the yacht's name in the original film and novel.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
  • Affably Evil: Both Largo and Fatima Blush.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Q decides to test fire the pen gun on the same range as Bond while standing behind him, firing at the same targets Bond is firing at and without warning Bond that he's about to fire.
  • Aside Glance: The film ends with Sean Connery winking at the audience.
  • Auction of Evil: Largo eventually sells Domino to be auctioned as a sex slave before Bond saves her.
  • Ax-Crazy: Largo. Made pretty literal when he demolishes part of the Flying Saucer's dance studio with an ax in a jealous rage.
  • Beard of Evil: Blofeld has an immaculate goatee.
  • Blood Knight: Fatima Blush. Aside from being a Femme Fatale, she also revels in murdering her rivals and sexual conquests.
  • Bond One-Liner: Wouldn't be a Bond movie without one.
    Fatima: Oh. I got you all wet.
    Bond: Yes, but my martini is still dry.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Domino's brother, thanks to some heroin encouragement.
  • Broad Strokes: Rather loosely follows the plot of the film Thunderball rather than the novel, with an update to the 80's and a motorbike for Bond to ride.
  • Choke Holds: James uses a sleeper hold on a mook guard during the opening and an assassin uses a sleeper hold on one of the attendants at Shrublands.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Largo comes across like this at times.
  • Cool Bike: Algernon the quartermaster finishes work on one and gives it to Bond to use in a Chase Scene at the film's midpoint. The bike can deploy an oil slick and has a rocket booster that lets it jump over cars (once).
  • Complexity Addiction: Fatima passes up several opportunities to assassinate Bond with a gun, knife or explosive in favor of a convoluted ambush using remote-controlled sharks.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Invoked by Fatima Blush who slips and falls into Bond's arms on their first encounter.
  • Cut Apart: 007 is having sex with a girl as a bomb ticks away under his bed. Cue explosion in a room across the courtyard from Bond and Bond Girl.
    Bond: Well, it proves we made the right decision.
    Fishing Girl: About what, darling?
    Bond: Your place or mine.
  • Da Chief: Bizarrely, M plays a strange British variation of this trope. The film acknowledges this M is explicitly not the same character as Bernard Lee's.
  • Die Laughing: Fatima Blush gets shot in the gut by Bond's Pocket Rocket Launcher and the rocket does not goes off immediately, so Fatima spends her last seconds on Earth guffawing like a maniac and raising her gun trying to shoot Bond, who knowingly is rolling behind cover.
    Bond [after he pops out of cover and sees the mess] "Not perfected yet"!
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Unlike in Thunderball, Blofeld delivers a far hammier version that even includes his Right-Hand Cat!
  • Domestic Abuser: Largo. Initially, he's "just" insanely jealous. Once he thinks Domino has fallen for Bond, Largo becomes outright abusive toward her.
  • Driving into a Truck: While James Bond is riding a motorcycle, the enemy mooks force him to ride up a ramp into a truck so he can be captured. However, as the ramp is rising up to trap him he guns it and jumps the motorcycle over the ramp and out of the truck.
  • Eye Scream: Domino's brother has surgery on one of his eyes to pass a retina scan. This comes complete with a close-up of the hideous stitched-together monstrosity. Once it heals properly though all it looks like is that he has slight heterochromia, and as Fatima notes, when he has his contacts in you'd never notice anything at all.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Parisian police fails to notice that the "boxer in training" is wearing dress shoes with black socks or that they're actually in their underwear.
  • Fake-Out Opening: The opening of the film is just a test exercise.
  • Fast-Roping: Done during the opening.
  • Femme Fatale: Fatima Blush; for many the sole reason to see the film. Barbara Carrera doesn't Chew the Scenery, she has a four course meal plus dessert.
  • Friendly Enemy: The Affably Evil Largo towards Bond.
  • Gadget Watches: Bond uses a watch with a built-in laser to cut open the manacles holding him and escape.
  • Gasp!: Fatima's inital reaction to spotting Bond with night vision goggles. When Jack asks her if she knows who he is, she gleefully replies, "Oh, yes... James Bond. 007."
  • Giant Mook: Lippe, presumably this film's version of Count Lippe. Naturally, played by Pat Roach.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Largo is extremely possessive of Domino. Seeing Bond dancing with her turns their antagonism from professional to quite personal.
  • Groin Attack:
    • While Bond is fighting the SPECTRE assassin at Shrublands part of their battle occurs in a kitchen. After Bond throws a pan of water in the assassin's face he kicks him in the nuts and runs away.
    • Fatima threatens to perform this on Bond with a bullet from her gun.
      Fatima Blush: You're quite a man, Mr. James Bond, but I am a superior woman. Guess where you get the first one?
  • High Collar of Doom: One of Fatima's many outfits.
  • Hospital Hottie: Another of Fatima's many outfits.
  • Indecisive Parody: The film can't quite seem to decide if it's a harsh satire of the Eon series or if it's a regular James Bond film. Plainly satirical scenes (such as Bond's discussion with M at the beginning) are side by side with normal Bond-style scenes, and a blatantly middle-aged Bond certainly doesn't help matters (though Moore was a few years older than Connery and starring in Octopussy at the same time, even he felt he was too old in the next Bond film, A View to a Kill, and he definitely looked too old).
  • Improvised Weapon: Bond defeats one Mook with his urine.note 
  • Improvised Zipline: During the opening.
  • Instant Sedation: During the opening (so it probably wasn't real).
  • Jerkass: M, who is far more cynical and doubtful of Bond's abilities here than perhaps any incarnation of M from the official series.
  • Keep the Reward: When Bond beats Largo at the "Domination" video game, theoretically winning over $300,000, he turns down Largo's money in exchange for a dance with Domino. Subverted in that Largo's jealousy makes the dance a much bigger sting than losing money.
  • Kick the Dog: Largo auctioning Domino to some lecherous Arabian slavers. He'd generally been Affably Evil up until this point so this scene seems like it was included just to make Largo out to be more of a bastard.
  • Kitchen Chase: The assassin trying to kill Bond at Shrublands follows him into a kitchen and a fight breaks out, complete with a terrified female chef.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Fatima's final encounter with Bond.
  • Made a Slave: Largo's final way of disposing of Domino is to sell her as a Sex Slave.
  • Meaningful Name: "Small-Fawcett". Doesn't take Sigmund Freud to get that joke.
  • Memetic Badass: Invoked with the gag that Bond might be so badass his piss can burn a man's face, and potentially even kill.
  • Mistaken for Servant: Domino mistakes Bond for the masseur. As she is an attractive woman in a towel, he doesn't correct her and does the job (as any gentleman would).
  • Ms. Fanservice: Domino is played by Kim Basinger. Barbara Carrera as Fatima is rather fetching as well.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Bond spends time aboard the Flying Saucer as an unwilling but well cared-for guest.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The title has nothing to do with the plot. It refers to Connery returning to the role of Bond after pledging to never play the character again. Connery's wife suggested the title, and she's listed in the credits for it. (Thought it does get almost-dropped at the very end, with a literal wink.)
  • No OSHA Compliance: The staircases in Nicole's house definitely don't look safe for anyone prone to losing their balance.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now!: Blofeld says this as the warhead is being sent to the target.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Though not younger by that much, but Bond is definitely showing his age - which is M's complaint (though this incarnation of M would appear to have difficulty running an ice cream parlour, nevermind MI6, so he can't complain about having Bond on his payroll).
  • Overt Operative: Lampshaded by Bond, when Nigel Small-Fawcett is yelling Bond's name to attract his attention, then acts furtively when talking to Bond. The fact Nigel is played by Mr. Bean and Johnny English makes it funnier. invoked
    Nigel Small-Fawcett: [yelling] Mr. Bond! I say Mr. Bond! Nigel Small-Fawcett, British Embassy, Nassau.
    James Bond: Nice to meet you Nigel.
    Nigel Small-Fawcett: Sorry I'm late, but as you're one of these undercover jollies, I took the precaution of not being followed.
    James Bond: And that's why you shouted my name across the harbor?
    Nigel Small-Fawcett: Oh God, did I? Oh I'm sorry! Damn! Damn! Sorry I'm rather new to all this!
  • The Pen Is Mightier: When it's a pocket-sized rocket launcher, it is.
  • Pocket Rocket Launcher: One of the gadgets James Bond is provided by Algernon the quartermaster is a miniature rocket launcher disguised as a fountain pen. Bond ends up using it to blow up SPECTRE agent Fatima Blush when Blush, eager to obtain proof that she was the one who killed the legendary James Bond, orders him to write a letter at gunpoint.
  • Product Placement: Atari, of all things. A particularly ironic case of this at that, considering that this film was released in the year 1983. To be fair, the games shown off are stand-up arcade cabinets, which continued strong throughout The '80s and early 90's.
  • Punch Catch: During the fight between Bond and the SPECTRE assassin at Shrublands, Bond throws a punch at the assassin and the assassin calmly grabs Bond's fist, demonstrating his tremendous strength.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: One of the SPECTRE assassins is so tough that he not only shrugs off Bond's punches, but pulls a Punch Catch.
  • Punny Name: Nigel Small-Fawcett...small faucet.
  • Race Lift: Felix Leiter, who is played by African-American actor Bernie Casey.
  • Revealing Cover-Up: SPECTRE'S attempt to keep their activities at Shrubland's a secret not only attract Bond's attention, but point him in the direction of Domino - and by extension, Largo.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Blofeld wouldn't be Blofeld without having his white Persian cat.
  • Running Gag: The bit about "eliminating Free Radicals."
  • Sealed with a Kiss: It's a Bond film, it's expected.
    Small-Fawcett: M says that without you in the Service, he fears for the security of the civilized world!
    Bond: Never again.
    Domino: Never?
    Soundtrack:Never, never say never again, never, never say never again!
    (Bond winks to camera and moves in on Domino. Credits Roll.)
  • Self-Plagiarism: Screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais reused a joke from the first episode of Porridge:
    Fill this glass.
    What, from here?
  • Shark Pool: Fatima Blush turns the Caribbean into a giant version by sending electronically controlled sharks to attack Bond after placing a Tracking Device on him.
  • Shoe Phone: Subverted at least once. The "gyroscopic bomb" disguised as a cigar case turns out to be just a cigar case. And then there's Q's mini-rocket launcher disguised as a fountain pen.
  • Slave Market: Bond rescues Bond Girl Domino Petachi from slave traders, where she'd been shackled to a post and put up for auction. Domino had been sent there as punishment for betraying Big Bad Largo.
  • Smoldering Shoes: Played straight when Fatima is killed by one of Q's devices.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The theme is a light, easy listening tune, and it's first played during the opening training sequence where Bond beats the crap out of everyone.
  • Spanner in the Works: Keep in mind, James stumbled onto the plot while he was on holiday in a health spa.
  • A Spy at the Spa: Bond poses as a masseur to get information from Domino.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: "She could have turned."
  • Stocking Filler: Fatima Blush has Jack Petachi hooked on heroin to force him to obey her. She carries a hypo filled with the drug in a garter belt (under a nurse's uniform no less), and exposes it while taking out the hypo. On YouTube starting at 1:05.
  • Straw Feminist: Fatima Blush certainly prides herself on being an empowered woman able to control any man she wants, but when Bond implies that he was not impressed by her performance while making love, she nearly goes to pieces, frightened and embarrassed by the idea that her sexual prowess is anything less than stellar. For a brief moment, Fatima actually begs Bond to assure her that making love to her was the greatest experience of his life - right before she resumes threatening to shoot him in his privates, and she took great delight in murdering her "rival" for Bond's affections as well. Again, Sigmund Freud, field day.
  • Take That!: Algernon's quip about hoping to see some "gratuitous sex and violence" was aimed at the "official" Bond films which had become cartoonish. Granted, this film's not much better in that regard.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Fatima's death blows her up completely.
  • Threatening Shark: Fatima sends electronically controlled sharks to attack Bond after placing a Tracking Device on him.
  • Tracking Device: Fatima Blush plants one on Bond so her electronically controlled sharks can home in on him.
  • Tranquillizer Dart: James uses a sleep-poisoned blowgun dart on a Mook guard at the beginning.
  • Truer to the Text: There are a handful of moments that definitely go back to the original novel rather than the previous movie — the most obvious being the final death of Largo, where Domino shooting him underwater goes much closer to how it's described in the book.
  • Under the Truck: During a chase scene Bond dives under a truck with his motorcycle and exits the other side.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: Discussed. Bond's new boss is dissatisfied with his performance during the simulated training missions (he died once and lost his legs in another mission). Bond then points out that training missions cannot be compared to the real thing as the adrenaline boost is missing.
  • Villainous Friendship: Largo and Blush are both homicidal psychopaths but they seem to be on genuinely friendly terms with each other, and Largo has to remind her at times that he is her superior. They are otherwise on first name terms and he personally chose her to "recruit" Jack Petachi.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Fatima Blush has not one, not two, not even three, but four times to just shoot Bond, but merely settles for trying inane things like trying to get him eaten by sharks, blowing him up, killing Nicole for no reason, and trying to get Bond to put her in his memoirs. This last one gets her killed.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: While it employs the plot and character names of Thunderball, Bond mainstays which Eon wouldn't allow such as the Leitmotif and the Bond Gun Barrel are absent.
  • You Are Number 6: Largo calls Fatima "Number 12" at one point to remind her that they have a strictly professional relationship. This, when she was going to kiss him for giving her an order to kill Bond's female assistant.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Jack Petachi has served his purpose (replacing the dummy warheads with real ones), he is killed off by Fatima.
  • You're Insane!: Delivered by Domino to Largo. Largo just smiles and agrees.
  • Zeerust: The arcade game Domination, very much so. It was supposed to be advanced and futuristic, but it comes off as LESS advanced than the games in the game room in the casino that Domino had just been inside.


Never Say Never Again

It's a Bond film, it's expected.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / SealedWithAKiss

Media sources: