Never Say Never Again is a weird anomaly in the Bond universe. Made not by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman’s Eon Productions, which handled the vast share of other Bond films, this one was produced by a rival operation involving a former Bond screenwriter. It rehashes the plot to one of the earliest films in the franchise, Thunderball, for legal reasons too tedious to get into here. The one thing it does have? Sean Connery, brought out of retirement (in real life and in the movie’s plot) for one more 007 fling.
The problem with remakes, however, is that it’s awfully hard to get enough fresh air into them for new ideas to breathe. The opening sequence is a case in point. Once you get past the alarming lack of the standard view-down-the-barrel-of-a-gun intro, it’s a pastiche of almost every Bond-infiltrating-something scene on the books. 007 disables a variety of swarthy guards in a jungle hideout, using a blow dart, a stun grenade and his own 52-year-old fists, to rescue a damsel tied to a bed. In the only really clever trick in the sequence, she then proceeds to stab him in the gut as soon as her hands are free. But don’t worry, it’s all actually just a training exercise, as we find out when the camera cuts to videotape footage of the carnage we’ve just witnessed. We’re sure the guy who got blow-darted is totally cool with that.