Never Say Never Again Movie Review

There is a special place in movie hell for Never Say Never Again. Not that it's particularly bad -- though it's hardly good -- but because it's such a cheeseball experience with a strange and horrible pedigree.

The story goes that the remake rights for the classic Bond movie Thunderball weren't held by the usual parties due to a complicated collaboration over a few of the earlier Bond movies. Writer Kevin McClory and producer Harry Saltzman ended up in court, and ultimately was settled with the result that McClory retained the right to make his version of Thunderball. And 20 years after the original came out, he did.

Of course, the real coup is that, in the heyday of Roger Moore (Never Say Never Again came out the same year as Moore's Octopussy), director Irvin Kershner got Sean Connery to reprise his role as James Bond. The title is a nod and a wink to Connery allegedly saying after his final canonical appearance as Bond he would "never again" play the role. Ha ha! Get it?


Kershner -- whose prior film was a little movie called The Empire Strikes Back -- ultimately turns in quite a pedestrian film here, and one which has aged extremely poorly. Despite a few choice one-liners ("From here?"), Never Say Never Again is loaded with a mundane plot, a wholly ridiculous showdown with the bad guy which involves a video game than induces electric shocks, and one of the biggest fashion disasters in movie history, featuring Barbara Carrera clad head to toe in crumpled, shiny vinyl.

The story itself is a loose retread of Thunderball, involving lost nuclear warheads and a megalomaniacal Blofeld bent on using them to effect world domination -- but that plot is dispatched surprisingly quickly. Recovering the warheads is ultimately relegated to the sidelines as Kershner instead chooses to focus on, say, Kim Basinger doing aerobics on a yacht.

Still, no Bond marathon is complete without viewing this true oddity, though it's universally considered not part of the true Bond canon.

A new Collector's Edition DVD includes commentary from Kershner and a Bond historian(!) and three making-of featurettes.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : Jack Schwartzman


Never Say Never Again Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG, 1983


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