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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
At once the victim of impossible expectations after years of false starts and rumors about Connery's return to Bondage and also a breath of fresh air as the Roger Moore Bond films increasingly floundered, Never Say Never Again was a welcome riposte to the worst excesses of the EON franchise in 1983, but time hasn't been that kind to it. There are certainly some horrible miscalculations, Carrera's cartoonish villainess Fatima Blush (like Faye Dunaway on steroids), Edward Fox's self-parody as M, Pamela Salem's simperingly moronic Moneypenny and an embarrassingly over-the-top Rowan Atkinson's horribly unfunny Nigel Small-Fawcett among them, not to mention that problematic and much-despised easy listening score from Michel Legrand.

A famously troubled production, with Cubby Broccoli frightening studios, investors and co-stars away through years of lawsuits and Connery taking against the film's inexperienced producer Jack Schwartzman so violently that he would reportedly hide whenever the actor came anywhere near his office, most of the scars aren't visible in the finished product. Thankfully the worst excesses of the legendary unfilmed but sadly rather silly and OTT script Connery and Len Deighton penned in the early 70s, Warhead (which climaxed with a hang-glider attack on the Statue of Liberty and boasted a villain with his own underwater lair), were also toned down, albeit largely for budget reasons. With only a watered-down version of their radio-controlled sharks remaining, this version is at least a little more grounded than the rampant silliness that had seen the Bonds stray unrecognisably far from their roots in Ian Fleming's novels. Despite uncredited co-writers Ian La Fresnais and Dick Clements pilfering their earlier movie spinoff of Porridge for some of the jokes, the more streamlined screenplay flows better than Thunderball, which was always the clunkiest of Bond scripts in its desperation to throw everything including the kitchen sink into the mix, but it's also less fun. Odder still is the very American feel to the film, with a clean, spare look that's uncomfortably at odds with Connery's previous outings.

On the plus side, Klaus Maria Brandauer is particularly good as Largo, Bernie Casey brings an easy familiarity to his role that makes him one of the best of the many Felix Leiters in Connery's tenure, and Alec McCowen and Max Von Sydow are fine in undemanding parts while Robert Rietty, who voiced Largo in Thunderball as well as numerous other Bond characters over the years, turns up briefly onscreen for a change. It's also thankfully light on the gadgets that got particularly out of control in the EON series during the 80s and the action scenes are for the most part well-handled, with an excellent fight with Pat Roach the standout despite a particularly lame gag ending. Enjoyable but no enduring classic.

After years as only a no-frills edition with just a trailer, Sony released an NTSC collectors edition that includes a heavily-lawyered three-part documentary on the making of the film, audio commentary by director Irvin Kershner and Bond historian Steven Jay Rubin, trailer and stills gallery - but do be warned that the US Blu-ray is Region A encoded and won't play in UK machines, though a UK Blu-ray is finally available as of April 2013. The picture quality is a distinct improvement, with warmer colour, but it is the UK censored version omitting two shots of a horsefall.
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on 12 April 2013
Watching Never Say Never Again is a strangely frustrating experience. Here was a chance to show the cinema-going public how a real Bond film should be made - given that this was the era of Roger Moore's raised-eyebrow silliness - and the production team had none other than Sean Connery on board, to many people the only 007. What we got was a film that in some ways was even sillier than the weakest Moore effort. Connery just doesn't seem to take the whole exercise seriously, and the insipid jazzy score destroys most of the dramatic tension. The film descends into farce when Rowan Atkinson makes an appearance (what were the producers thinking?) and Kim Basinger makes for a wretched Bond girl. On the plus side, Barbara Carrera's Fatima Blush is one of the all-time great Bond villains, and Klaus Maria Brandauer turns in a memorable performance as the quietly unhinged Largo. No complaints about the blu-ray transfer - apart from the odd sparkly and fleck of dirt, this is the best we'll probably ever see NSNA. The DTS-MA track does the job, but given this is a 30 year old film it was never going to be an immersive surround experience, short of a complete remastering job. A commentary, a handful of featurettes and a trailer round off the package. Overall it's an unsatisfying ride - one for the Bond completists and movie buffs only.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 September 2012
For me, Sean Connery was the definitive James Bond and in 1983 he reprised the role again for 'Never Say Never Again', a uneven (unofficial) remake of 1965's 'Thunderball'. It's a shame that he couldn't have bowed out of the role in a better movie than this, although I know that it was rather popular at the time, no doubt fans were just greatful to have another chance to see him as Agent 007.

It's a film with a comedy edge, I did appreciate some of this but found bits to be over the top. The storyline also seems to drag on and the acting varies. Sean Connery is as good as he can be (if a little older) with what is a rather average script, I particularly liked Bond girl Barbara Carrera, and Klaus Maria Brandaue plays a good villain. Look out for an early screen appearance by Rowan Atkinson, and Prunella Gee as Bond's sexy nurse.

Unlike so many Bond films, this one doesn't have a great opening song and to be honest, in terms of typical Bond films, not a great deal of action takes place. However, there are a few moments in the film that do hold up and some scenes that aren't bad at all (still, not enough for me to rate it three stars).

In my opinion, 'Never Say Never Again' is not actually the worst Bond film, but should appeal more to completists only. It's better to rent it instead and stick to purchasing the Bond classics. Whilst I managed to sit through the whole thing - 'Never Say Never Again' is certainly not one of them.

The DVD is very basic and the only special feature is the one trailer.
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on 17 June 2013
The blue ray picture could certainly be better. The colour isnt bad and the close ups are good but things at a distance seem a little fuzzy as if beyond the depth of field in the photography. I think it is still quite watchable and the film though not quite like the other James Bond films is not too bad. It has its moments like the motor bike chase. Sean Connery is a littleold for James bond but his acting ability pulls it off. He is certainly the star of the film.All in all not the best Blue Ray but not the worst.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2002
In 1971, following the release of Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery announced that he would "never again" play the role of James Bond. As a result, the producers brought in Roger Moore, and the series continued. 12 years later, in 1983, Connery reneged on his anti-007 vow and once again slipped into the role that had earned him worldwide fame (the reputed $5 million paycheck probably had something to do with his decision). Fans of the real James Bond exulted -- at least until they saw the movie.
Unfortunately, Never Say Never Again is a poor excuse for the veteran actor's return. The humor is over-the-top, the direction is pedestrian, and the storyline drags. Were it not for the simple pleasure of seeing Connery playing 007 one more time, this film would have been nearly unwatchable. All things considered, it's not a very good movie, but at least Connery's charisma salvages parts of it.
The hallmarks of every Bond film are the big, often-absurd action sequences. Thunderball has several, including a spectacular (if overlong) underwater climax. Never Say Never Again can boast only one -- a wild car chase with Bond on a Q-designed motorbike -- and that's choreographed without flair. With the exception of a few isolated incidents here and there, like the silly fight that demolishes a health clinic, this film fails to generate much excitement. And the absence of the John Barry/Monty Norman "James Bond Theme" leaves a musical hole that Michel Legrand's feeble score cannot plug.
The acting is variable. Brandauer is effective as Largo and Max Von Sydow may be the best Blofeld of all. Barbara Carrera is suitably sexy as the predatory Fatima. Kim Basinger is a singular embarrassment, not exhibiting the slightest wisp of acting talent. The usual "London group" of M (Edward Fox), Q (Alec McCowen), and Moneypenny (Pamela Salem) seem like impostors. It's especially odd seeing someone other than Desmond Llewelyn tinkering with gadgets.
There was a great deal of hype in 1983 about the "dueling" Bonds -- Roger Moore's Octopussy versus Sean Connery's Never Say Never Again. Ultimately, both entries were duds, with Never Say Never Again offering slightly better entertainment based solely on Connery's presence. Nevertheless, it's a major disappointment that, having lured back the original 007, the film makers couldn't offer him something better than this drawn-out, hackneyed story.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2013
This is not a part of the official series of James Bond films, so you will not hear the unmistakable guitar riff here.
It is far from being the best Sean Connery Bond film, but not the worst either.
It is however much better than all the Roger Moore Bond films and much much better than the two last ones he starred in.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 6 September 2010
For starters it perhaps best to point out that Roger Moore, due to my age, is "my" James Bond of choice. Although Goldeneye was the first Bond film I saw at the cinema, Roger Moore's films were the first I saw. Therefore although I would agree that Sean Connery was a major part in some of the best films in the series (my particular favourite being Fron Russia With Love) I don't approach this film with some revence that the "real" James Bond is back in action. In fact if anything my slight antipathy towards Connery (for reasons including, but not limited to, his seeming disdain over the years towards the film series that made him famous - although lets face it, when money talked he made two returns to the role) makes me slightly biased against this from the offest. After all it can only be seen as a money making exercise for a star who's career was suffering from a downturn in the early 1980's.

Yet there are certain things to admire about this film. Connery does indeed seem to be having a whale of a time reprising the role and the idea that his Bond is an aging man coming out of retirement (as opposed to the "official" Bond movies that preceded this (Octopussy) and followed it (A View To A Kill) where it is faintly ridiculous that Roger Moore is STILL running around as a spy at this age) is a good one, even if that promising premise is largely ignored once it's been set up. There are also some amusing, dare I say it Moore-esque, quips from Bond and a winning turn from Edward Fox.

Sadly that's where the positives, for me anyway, end. The production problems that plagued the set are obvious throughout the film as is the low-budget ethos. Indeed you only need to compare it to the film it is a remake of (Thunderball) to see that. Fatima Blush is no Fiona Volpe and Kim Basigner's Domino isn't a match for Claudine Auger's (although an argument could, could, be made to say that Maximillian Largo is a slight improvement on Emilio Largo from the original).

It's not THE worst Bond ever (I'd rather watch this than the risible Die Another Day) but not even the sight of Sean Connery returning for one last time to the role that he made famous (and indeed the role that made him famous) can overcome the low-budget cheap aroma that surrounds the picture. One for completists (and Connery fanatics) only.
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19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2010
WARNING. This region A blu-ray disc has been coded differently to every other region A blu-ray disc I've encountered so far. It unfortunately would NOT play on my all region blu-ray player, giving the message that it required a region A ONLY player. I have played many region A blu-ray discs on my player, but for some strange reason, this one must have been coded differently to stop overseas buyers from enjoying this movie.

As for the film, it's not Sean's best Bond but but it is highly entertaining anyway.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2012
It's easy to dismiss 'Never Say Never Again' as the 'unofficial' Bond movie, made during legal wrangling over who owned the rights to the character (note the conspicuously absent 'gun barrel' opening credits that were traditional in all the official Bonds of this period). However, to do so would be to write off a hugely fun adventure. Essentially a remake of the more serious 'Thunderball', this has Bond trying to retrieve stolen nuclear weapons in the Caribbean while battling lethal killers and shark-laden traps, and has barely a dull moment. Laden with gadgets, the scenery, action and direction (by 'Empire Strikes Back' director Ivin Kershner) are all great. Connery throws himself into the movie with humour and enthusiasm, Barbara Carrera is enormous fun camping it up as a Euro-villainess with a vicious streak, and Klus Maria Brandauer is suitably enigmatic and threatening as the criminal mastermind working for SPECTRE.
Great fun.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2013
Just thought i'd share my thoughts on this BluRay

The picture is great and the sound is pretty good too. Its not as good as the Bond 50 restoration that have taken place on the official 007 movies, it is still miles better than the DVD release we got a few years back.

This is a remake of Thunderball, its not as good but does have its moments (the cigarette case scene is ace). Id recommend it if your a Connery fan or into Bond. Not the best but by no means the worst Bond movie.
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