Bond: Live and (please) Let Die

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JUST once I’d like to see James Bond lose.

Just once I’d like to see him die, and stay dead.

Just once I’d like to see M receive that news, and then note with middle management indifference: ‘well, we were looking to reduce staff numbers anyway’.

And then I’d be happy.

Truth be told, I think his MI6 colleagues would too.

Bond must be a nightmare in the office. Let’s be honest, if he can’t make an arrest without destroying a small unidentified Asian town in the process (and he can’t), he’s probably the sort of bloke who can’t make the brews without spilling on someone’s terminal.

That’s why they send him round the world. Keep him away from the kettle.

I’m not sure if we’ve ever met 008 but I guarantee he goes home and moans to his wife that the guy at the next desk has - yet again - caused a diplomatic crisis by sinking half of Venice / wiping out a central American rainforest/ destroying an inter-galactic space station.

“All he needed to do was pick the suspect up for questioning,” I imagine he says. “And he only lives in Vauxhall.”

So yes, it’s been decent watching Bond face some of the scariest situations known to man - sharks, crocodiles, Grace Jones in the buff - and surviving them all.

But now, just once, I’d like to see him lose.

Here’s a spoiler if you haven’t seen Skyfall: he doesn’t lose. Here are some more: he gets the girl and saves the world. He drives a cool car, wears sweet suits and comes out with the kind of one-liners most of us couldn’t manage if we had the Corrie scriptwriters on speed dial.

“A waste of good scotch,” he notes calmly after a glass is spilled while he’s casually offing half a dozen villains.

Oh wag.

That’s why men want to be you, and - even when you were an arthritic Roger Moore - women want to be with you.

Except not me.

Because here’s something I’ve slowly been realising ever since I was knee high to an Oddjob and mesmerised by Live And Let Die: Bond, increasingly, sucks.

I mean, for sure, there are good points. Any films featuring a character called Xenia Onatopp, a villain played by Sean Bean, and an incident where a man wins a fight with a shark can’t be all bad.

And, of course, when you’re bored on a Bank Holiday, you don’t want to switch ITV2 on and find the Bourne series showing, do you?

But doesn’t anyone else, after 50 years, find it all a little embarrassing that our national hero is basically a Jeremy Clarkson wet dream? Doesn’t anyone else find it dull knowing that with each film there will be a start, an end and as little character arc as possible? Doesn’t anyone else find it all too predictable to even be fun anymore?

The killing is no longer thrilling. The special effects not that special.

So wouldn’t it be great if just once Bond could shock us again, take a bullet and die a film hero’s death?

Then they could bring him back again with ever lasting prequels, of course. Or they could let 008 have his turn in the spotlight.


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