review for Never Say Never Again on AllMovie

Never Say Never Again (1983)
by Derek Armstrong review

Those who had never known another James Bond than Roger Moore were probably confused to see some guy named Sean Connery show up to assert his claim to the character, in the same calendar year that Moore made Octopussy, his sixth Bond film. However, for those purists who missed the "real" James Bond, Connery's return to the role 12 years after Diamonds Are Forever could hardly have been very satisfactory, either. Never Say Never Again -- which came into being after Thunderball producer and co-writer Kevin McClory won a legal battle to update that movie, in direct competition with the ongoing Albert R. Broccoli/United Artists-produced series -- is a grainy, murky anomaly, whose presence is unjustifiable given the resulting film. Not only does it not improve on Thunderball, wasting a talented cast, but it barely even registers as its own entity. Even with a capable action director like Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back) on hand, the set pieces are flat and forgettable, shot horribly. And what an inauspicious beginning for Kim Basinger, whose third (and first prominent) film role lacks both sex appeal and acting chops. The veterans make out better, including an amusing Rowan Atkinson. But this film feels like a strange and unwelcome diversion from the Bond timeline, elbowing its way into existence with neither reason nor reward, beyond an ill-advised trip down memory lane.