Oct 14, 2020
Never Say Never Again (1983): the lost recap (part 5 of 6)
Previously on Never Say Never Again: James Bond refused to let a silly thing like a hotel bombing put a damper on his sexytime plans. We learned there’s nothing hotter than being naked and getting felt up by some random fifty-year-old dude in a bad toupee. Bond was very nearly killed by a video game, but luckily, that game wasn’t Gravitar, because he surely would have died of boredom.
Cut to Bond and Domino in a large ballroom, about to have that dance that Bond just paid $267,000 for. Specifically, they’re about to dance the tango, and there’s even a huge crowd of rich people gathered to watch.
As they dance, they whisper to each other, and Domino is trying to figure who Bond is and what he’s up to. Bond eventually tells her that despite her brother Jack being in the Air Force, he’s actually working for Largo. He then twirls her away from him and casually says, “Your brother’s dead.” Classy move, James. Next, they’ll do the cha-cha, so he can tell her that her dog just got run over!
He commands her under his breath to “keep dancing” as he explains that Jack was “used and then eliminated” by Largo. Domino is looking pretty distraught as they dance, as well she might, and the crowd looks a little concerned. Or maybe not. It’s hard to tell.
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On a balcony above, Largo and Fatima look on. Largo is ready to give Fatima another chance to kill Bond, and “this time, you’d better not fail.” Fatima goes to grab his face, but then he calls her “Number 12”, and she just walks away, looking like she’s struggling not to laugh. I guess you had to be there.
Fatima walks down the stairs, being the crazy lady she is the whole way down, dancing and throwing her hat away and shaking her hair and humming to herself. Meanwhile on the dance floor, Largo abruptly pulls Domino away from Bond, and orders an end to the tango. He compliments Bond’s dancing skills, and then invites him to the yacht for lunch tomorrow. Domino says this doesn’t work for her, because she’s supposed to pick up her brother tomorrow, but Largo lies that Jack called to say he would be late. Bond gives Domino a knowing look.
Oh hey, remember that guy in the storage closet with the alleged gyroscopic bomb, who thought he would blow up if he moved? I sure didn’t, but here he is, still holding the thing. Bond pops in long enough to grab it and thank the guy for holding onto it, and exits. The guy passes out, and then we get the expected punchline when Bond opens up the “bomb” and pulls out a cigar.
Bond returns to the villa. It seems to be dawn already, and the way this is shot, you can tell he has a not-so-great surprise in store for him. He grabs an apple off a table, and munches away as he climbs an M.C. Escher-esque staircase. A window suddenly bangs shut, and downstairs, a shadowy dark-haired figure runs past the camera.
Bond calls out for Nicole, but she doesn’t respond, for reasons that are quickly becoming obvious. Nevertheless, Bond wanders around some more looking for her. There’s more exciting apple-eating action as he stands at a bedroom door. He finally gets suspicious, and puts his apple down by impaling it on a golden statue of a Hindu goddess (Kali?). Well, now you’ve really pissed off the movie gods, Bond.
He draws his pistol and heads into the bedroom. He pulls back the sheet on what I think is supposed to be a waterbed, but looks more like a bathtub or a pool table filled with water. In a jarring edit, we get a shot of Nicole, dead and face down in the water.
Cut to a familiar pair of stilettos click-clacking down the stairs. Bond runs after her to some fast-tempo jazz, and spots Fatima hopping into her car and driving off. So Bond runs into the garage, and unties that very special trailer we saw back at the airport, revealing a motorcycle.
Bond puts on a helmet, but keeps his tux on, and then we see his stunt double on the bike, roaring out of the garage. Bond even pops a wheelie, because… well, you know. Wheelies are cool.
And so begins a high-speed chase down winding roads, as Bond’s souped-up Yamaha tries to overtake Fatima’s red R5 Turbo. Fatima speeds on, nearly colliding with the obligatory truck carrying long, metal tubes. Why is there always a truck in movie chase scenes carrying long, metal tubes? Do these tubes have any actual purpose, or are they specifically for causing scary-looking near-crashes?
Bond nearly collides with the truck, and has to slide his bike underneath it. Bond is then able to ride his bike up and down some steps, and he eventually catches up with Fatima. As they speed through a town, two other cars join the pursuit. Fatima gets on a walkie-talkie to the other drivers. “Don’t touch him, he’s mine!” And Fatima doesn’t like sloppy seconds!
They all enter a tunnel, and suddenly Bond is cornered. A large truck and a few cars block the path, and the two drivers who were chasing him get out, wielding a crowbar and a chain. These guys do realize that British secret agents are allowed to carry guns, right? Is someone going to bust out the nunchucks next?
Finally, a guy with an actual gun comes along, and motions for Bond to drive up a ramp and into the truck’s trailer. Bond obeys, and then they close up the ramp behind him. Given how slowly they’re closing the ramp, you can kind of see where this is going. Naturally, Bond takes advantage of how they’ve kindly given him what’s basically a stunt ramp, and burns rubber and goes flying over all his would-be captors’ heads.
The chase is back on. Fatima calls one of her men an “imbecile!” while Bond pops a wheelie coming back out of the tunnel. And now Bond’s bike is between two of the bad guys’ cars, so Bond punches a button on his super-secret spy bike dashboard. Actually, he’s got three buttons: one red, one yellow, and one blue. The blue button seems to lower some kind of attachment behind his rear tire, but I have no idea what that does. Then he pushes the yellow button, which causes some other kind of attachment to swing out. This also appears to do nothing.
A long last, he pushes the red button, and I don’t know why he didn’t just push that one in the first place, because this is the only that seems to do something: flames shoot out of the back of his bike, and Bond goes rocketing up and over the car in front of him.
After he jumps the car, the driver slams on his brakes for no reason. He gets bumped by the car behind him, which some way or another sends him plowing into a parked car, causing a spectacular crash. The car that was behind him also crashes, even though the driver could have easily hit the brakes or just turned a little to avoid them. I wonder if perhaps the driver fell asleep. Maybe he was watching this movie.
Bond continues to pursue Fatima’s car. He hits the Rocket Button again, and goes flying across a marina. I’m pretty sure the filmmakers thought the rocket-powered motorcycle would be as popular and memorable as Bond’s jetpack in Thunderball. And maybe it’s just me, but isn’t the dashboard the last place you want to put the bike’s Rocket Button? I mean, Bond actually has to take his hand off the handlebars and is unable to steer while being blasted forward by a rocket-powered engine. But hey, what do I know about designing super-secret spy motorcycles?
Bond then follows Fatima through an archway, and ends up inside some sort of waterfront warehouse. But soon he’s lost Fatima, and then a metal gate slides shut, trapping him inside. He motors around for a while, when suddenly something that looks like the mast of a sailboat swings out, and knocks Bond flat on his back.
He loses his helmet, and Fatima jumps out of nowhere, holding him at gunpoint. While Bond is still sprawled out on the ground, she forces him to hand over his gun. She then tells him, “Spread your legs.” Hey, that’s his line!
Fatima says he’s “quite a man”, but as it so happens, she’s “a superior woman!” She asks him to guess where he’s going to get the first bullet, and he knows with her “hatred of men” that he’s going to get it right in the nuts. Being the crazy lady that she is, she silences him with, “You know that making love to Fatima was the greatest pleasure of your life!” Bond, never one to let a gun in his face get in the way of a good one-liner, quips, “Well, to be perfectly honest, there was this girl in Philadelphia…” Someone give that man a rimshot!
She yells at him again to shut up and says, “I am the best!” Bond just humors her, saying he’s going to put her in his “memoirs” as “number one”. So she makes him prove it. She picks up a random piece of paper off the ground and tosses it at him, and orders him to “Write!”
He goes along with this, while of course pulling out Q’s pen with the Union Jack flag on it. You might have a pretty good idea of how this is going to end, but anyway, Fatima dictates the note to him. She wants him to write down that “the greatest rapture in my life was afforded me in a boat in Nassau by Fatima Blush! Signed, James Bond, 007!” Yeah, I’m not sure what her end game is here. Does she just want some kind of memento from the time they boned?
Unfortunately, Bond still thinks he’s in a comedy club working on his routine. “I just remembered, it’s against service policy for agents to give out endorsements!” Geez, Fatima, at least shoot off one of his feet or something. Anything to make him stop with the one-liners.
At long last, he fires the “pen” at her, and then immediately ducks out of way to avoid getting shot. Fatima sees that the pen has barely hurt her, and starts laughing maniacally, while preparing to shoot Bond. And then the projectile embedded in her gut starts shooting out flames. A moment later, Fatima explodes like her body is made up of at least 80% gasoline.
We get one final ridiculous shot showing that all that’s left of Fatima are her flaming stilettos. Farewell, Fatima Blush. You were an entertaining Bond villain, to say the least. I’m sorry to see you go, mainly because all we’re left with for the remainder of the movie is Blond Eurodouche.
Sirens wail off in the distance, and a moment later, the French police are at the gate, and they’ve already got welding tools that they’re using to cut their way inside. Bond is looking for an escape route when Felix Leiter suddenly pops out of the woodwork, complimenting him on “how you handled the lady!” What, was he just standing there the whole time eavesdropping? Thanks for coming through in the clutch, Felix.
The next thing we see is Bond on a bicycle, and Leiter jogging and shadow boxing. They’ve both stripped down to their underpants to make it look like they’re just two guys out getting some exercise. In their underpants. Leiter even still has on his black dress shoes and socks, but the two men get waved through by the police anyway. Leiter looks back and laughs, and this gets some upbeat comedy jazz on the soundtrack.
The jazz continues as we get a shot of the Flying Saucer in the harbor. Suddenly, we’re under the surface, and Leiter and Bond are in scuba gear checking out the yacht. Bond finds some sort of sliding door that lets him inside, but the door immediately closes behind him, preventing Leiter from following. Bond takes off his scuba tank and goggles, and climbs a ladder.
Cut to Bond coming up through a hatch, and his wet suit has mysteriously disappeared, and now he’s only wearing swim trunks. Bond’s attempt to quietly sneak aboard comes to a quick end when a butler walks up and says, “Mr. Largo is waiting for you, sir.” Bond tries to act just as nonchalant, and the butler gives him a robe and leads him off to meet Largo.
On the way there, Bond passes Domino and links eyes with her, most assuredly eye-fucking her for a brief second. Then he’s in the ship’s control room, meeting up with Largo, who cheerfully declares, “You are a bit early for lunch!” And also, most of our lunch guests board the ship above the water line!
They exchange pleasantries and Largo offers him a drink. And wow, this time Bond actually asks for a vodka martini! He doesn’t specify if it should be shaken or stirred, but maybe he’s like Daniel Craig and he doesn’t look like he gives a damn. Actually, judging by his performance, Connery himself didn’t give a damn by this point.
Meanwhile on the shore, Leiter comes out of the water, looking pissed. And even though we could clearly see his hair in the underwater shots, he’s now wearing a full hood as part of his wetsuit. Between this and Bond’s disappearing wetsuit, I have to say, great job on continuity, everybody.
Next, Bond is in what Largo calls his “situation room”. And much like Wolf Blitzer, this situation room is where he keeps track of everything going on in the world. Bond quips that Largo could “run a small government from here.” But Largo corrects him. “I could run a large government from here!” Give that man a rimshot, too.
And then we finally get a hint of what Largo actually does for a living when he explains that these days, his business is oil, which is something of a “departure” for him. Bond hopes “it doesn’t blow up in your face!” Subtle, James.
Largo simply chuckles and says he has work to do, and “time is money”. He says they’ll meet for lunch, and then just leaves Bond standing around in his situation room, which doesn’t seem like the brightest move. Naturally, Bond catches sight of a computer screen that mentions the name “TEARS OF ALLAH”.
And now Bond is strolling around the boat, completely unaccompanied. Domino tries to get his attention, but the butler shows up, and she hides. As Bond is led away, Domino is able to make some silent hand gestures at him to indicate they should meet up later in Domino’s dance studio.
In the studio, Domino demands to know what happened to her brother, but Bond shushes her. To drown out their voices, he walks over to a stereo and cranks up the bad ‘70s porno music. Largo, in his secret computer room, hears the funky jazz and opens up the wall, once again revealing the one-way mirror. He sees Bond and Domino talking, but can’t hear anything. Largo furiously fiddles with buttons, trying to eavesdrop, but it’s no use.
In the studio, Bond is asking Domino if “Tears of Allah” means anything to her. So she shows off the blue-green necklace that Largo gave her, which is currently hanging on a mannequin. Domino says Largo told her it’s “very valuable,” to which Bond replies, “It doesn’t look it.” James Bond, instant jewelry appraiser! She then reveals that Largo is heading for his home in North Africa, a place called “Palmyra”.
Bond says he needs to get out a message, but to do this, he first has to kiss Domino. “I want you to respond as if you like it!” Oh, come now, James, don’t sell yourself short. You know that kissing James Bond is the greatest pleasure in her life! It’s the greatest rapture afforded to her!
He explains, “I’m doing this for two very good reasons.” One, I’m horny. Actually, he says reason number one is to “provoke a reaction”. A reaction in his pants, I think. As he moves in for the kiss, Domino asks what reason number two is, and it’s “Because I always wanted to.” You know, ever since he first saw her, two days ago.
They kiss, and we see that Largo has already run out of his secret computer room, and he storms angrily into the studio. Alas, Domino and Bond are already gone. Somewhere else on the ship, Domino sets off the fire alarm. Hey, you can get into a lot of trouble for that, young lady! Everybody instantly clears out of the Situation Room, and once they’re all gone, Bond enters and starts randomly punching buttons on a machine to send out a signal.
Over in the dance studio, Largo gazes at a photo of Domino with her brother. He drops it, and it shatters on the floor. Yeah, I don’t know what the point of that was.
And now Bond has snuck into Largo’s computer room. How did he know this even existed? Oh right, Bond is psychic. In the dance studio, Largo pulls out a fire axe and starts smashing all the mirrors for no particular reason, and eventually he turns the axe on the turntable, killing the porno music. And that’s when he finally hears the fire alarm going off. Largo looks at the one-way mirror, and somehow intuits Bond is in there, and runs off.
We’re now back with M and Moneypenny and Moustache Guy at MI6. Moustache Guy says that they picked up Bond’s message, and he’s heading to a place in North Africa called “Palmyra”, but none of them has any idea what that could be referring to. M tells his man to look into it, and the other guy looks positively befuddled on how to go about doing that. My confidence in British intelligence is dropping by the minute.
I’m not sure what happened on the yacht in the meantime, but we cut to Largo, Domino, and Bond standing on the deck, and they’ve all changed clothes, and Bond looks through binoculars at a ancient castle which turns out to be Palmyra. Largo says this is his “retreat” where he can “escape and enjoy all my treasures.” And on this line, he gives Domino a creepy perv look, just because it’s been a while since he did that.
Cut to the three of them entering a cavernous, ornate mansion. Sinister cello music plays as Largo asks his “princess” how she likes her “new home”. Seems like it might get a bit drafty in the wintertime, but otherwise it’s okay. Largo then glares at Bond. Why are the three of them hanging out together, anyway? Is Largo hoping this will turn into a hot threesome?
Suddenly, one of Largo’s henchmen appears and cocks his rifle. Largo grabs the back of Domino’s head hard, and tells Bond that “the game is over”. Game over? Spoken like a true arcade game designer. Largo has his goon take Bond away, while Domino looks terrified.
And now, Largo is in some other part of the place, holding up a hefty jade statue. He claims it “belonged to Napoleon’s empress”, and hands it to Domino. Being nervous and frightened, she nearly drops the thing. Largo tells her to be careful and adds, “That is your… wedding present.” You know, some new silverware would have been just fine.
He says, “You betrayed me. But I forgive you!” Domino breathes heavily as she asks what happened to her brother. Without even giving him time to reply, she goes, “I hate you. I hate you!” So Largo grabs her face and lays a big wet, messy kiss on her.
She’s so freaked out that she drops the jade statue, which shatters on the floor. She says, “You’re crazy!” Hey, you’re the one who just destroyed a priceless historical artifact, lady. She tries to slap him, but he grabs her hand, kisses it, and starts whistling some random tune. “Maybe… I’m crazy.” There’s a slight possibility.
That’s all for now. Check back next time for the not-very-thrilling conclusion of Never Say Never Again!