This sequence is perhaps the most bizarre out of the entire film, not because it’s any worse or poorly made than any of the others, but because it sticks out like a sore thumb. It has moments that feel more at home in a Roger Moore romp than this deathly serious Craig dirge. It’s quite obvious this is where writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge expended most of her energy on this project, as it drips with the quirky disjointed style she’s known for.
After the Craig-Bond hangs up from his phone call with Leiter in the previous scene, we join him on his £half million GBP yacht, sailing to Cuba. As he passes through a narrow straight a sea plane soars overhead, piloted by none other than 007 herself. The Craig-Bond pulls into port, checks in with an immigration official and glances across the quay to see 007 Nomi simultaneously strutting down her respective pier. There are no immigration officials about, so I guess individuals arriving by sea plane are exempt from such trivialities, so much for the utopia of equitable socialism?
The Craig-Bond makes his way through the bright, teeming streets of Cuba with nary a pan de molde line in sight! He sashays up to a lunch counter where a fetching young woman is standing, slurping on a straw from a bottle of “Generic Soda,™” I guess those U.S. sanctions are still going strong? Or perhaps Coca Cola wasn’t willing to pay for the shameless product placement?
At any rate this woman is wearing an evening gown reminiscent of one Barbara Bach wore as Agent Triple X.
‘Member The Spy Who Loved Me? That was a good film.
This woman turns out to be Agent Paloma, the “young lady in Santiago” Felix wanted the Craig-Bond to meet. Played by Ana De Armas, Paloma has been cited by most pundits, even those who’ve panned the film, as the one bright spot in this otherwise dark exercise in nihilism. The answer to this is simple, De Armas was willing/able to express an emotion other than unmitigated boredom.
“This is my happy face.”
The Craig-Bond approaches her asking, “Paloma?” She stoically responds, “You’re late,” as she grabs her purse and leaves the counter, she suddenly and bafflingly shifts to a bubbly teenager persona. As she leads him off to a stairway and down to a basement filled with wine, she gushes “this is the biggest Job I ever had.” At the bottom of the stairs she opens a cage door, which prompts the Craig-Bond to inquire with pity in his eyes and a sullen voice, “is this your room?”
Does this look like someone’s bloody room?!
Paloma is taken aback at the comment and looks at our man as if lobsters are crawling out of his ears. She says, “No, this is a wine cellar.” She should have punctuated the line with “numb nuts” to get the stupidity of the remark across!
No I don’t live in a closet full of wine!
I can’t help but wonder, considering the individuals involved, if this isn’t meant as some critique of the bourgeois capitalists who look down on the mighty socialist countries like Cuba, assuming their populous (of the non-ruling class) live in abject squalor.
“Nonsense, I believe they live in the regular kind of squalor!”
Paloma immediately begins ripping the Craig-Bond’s shirt off, causing him to comment on her rather forward behavior. She suddenly realizes his misunderstanding of the situation and recoils in disgust, explaining she has a new tuxedo for him and she’s only helping him to change!
“In your dreams old man!”
The Craig-Bond continues disrobing as Paloma stands a respectable distance away, however she’s still facing the demure, delicate, aged agent, who says to the lovely young creature, “do you mind… uh?” (inferring she should turn away)
And that my friends is how the mythos of James Bond dies, not with the pyrotechnics at the end of the film, but a whimper in a wine cellar!
As the Craig-Bond changes, Paloma admits she’s done “three weeks training.” We see shortly what bollocks that is.
The duo make their way from the lunch counter’s inexplicably well stocked wine cellar to the SPECTRE gala conveniently located just across the street, it seems the CIA prioritizes convenience over clandestine. As the couple enter the building the Craig-Bond’s face sours evermore slightly and suggests they get a drink, so the line “martini, shaken not stirred” could be shoehorned in.
Remember when he “didn’t give a damn,” now they’re forcing it!
At this moment Paloma gives the Craig-Bond an earpiece, so they can stay in constant contact, Skyfall anyone? However, unlike Skyfall the Craig-Bond doesn’t drop this one into a glass of champagne, thereby forcing us to hear all the trite back and forth dialog between the two. Good thing his alcoholism kicked in or else she’d be giving him this very important piece of kit in the middle of SPECTRE’s grand ballroom! They toast glasses to Felix (boy I hope nothing happens to him later on!)…
…and the Craig-Bond mentions she needs to remind him to get Felix a cigar, at which point Paloma downs her entire cocktail to it’s dregs (get it, cuz she’s so nervous!).
Smash cut to the comedy duo of Popeye and Dr. Borat sitting at a desk where the bad doctor is coding the Craig-Bond’s DNA to his wonder weapon, Borat feigns dropping the chip so he can replace it with one coded to the entirety of SPECTREI
And why Dr. Borat is playing games of hide the DNA with Popeye is strange since, spoiler alert, he’s also working for Satin Safin. Dr. Borat downloads the DNA profile and creates a tube of gas he hands over to Popeye, so he can place it in the ventilation system.
Back to Paloma and the Craig-Bond or as I’ve come to call them…
The Young and the Restless Leg Syndrome.
They enter the party and immediately split up, all manner of PG-13 rated debauchery is playing out on the main floor…
Very old men with younger women (other than the Craig-Bond and Paloma of course)
Creepy middle aged men and younger women
And a showgirl!
…as the duo make their way around the scene they comment how all the SPECTRE agents are at this shindig. Yes, you heard that right all of SPECTRE. The Craig-Bond notices Popeye coming down the stairs and refers to him as “Cyclops” he further states he, “ran into him in Italy, a rather eye opening experience.”
This isn’t the last missing eye joke the Craig-Bond will make and it must be only a matter of time before he is canceled by the visually impaired lobby!
“We’ll get you, just as soon as we can find you!”
All jokes aside it is a bit cringe how much fun this film has at the expense of people with false eyes.
The Craig-Bond notices the SPECTRE agents in attendance, again I remind you all of SPECTRE, are wearing earpieces, so Paloma starts “scanning” with her own minuscule hearing device, which has all the technology of a tiny light bulb.
Somehow she manages to change to the correct frequency…
…and the conversation can be heard. It’s Bro-feld muttering on, telling the revelers to celebrate him as it’s his birthday, his “crowning day.”
Many happy returns old chap!
As this is going on, a trio of henchmen who finished first, second and third in a Nosferatu look alike contest are squiring around a silver platter containing a web camera dummied up to look like an eyeball.
“Blah, here’s looking at you, blah.”
The Craig-Bond recognizes the voice of his dear old brother and comments he is supposed to be in prison. At this the Craig-Bond moves toward the center of the room where the magic eyeball is now residing, good move old bean, move to the center of the room where all the SPECTRE agents who should know their biggest enemy by sight can see you better, what could possibly go wrong?!
Just before “the world’s greatest spy” blunders into an obvious trap, Paloma spots Dr. Borat, (who is unexplainably allowed to roam around now?) making his way down the stairs. She makes a B-line for him, while the Craig-Bond, like a deer on the highway, gets caught in some headlights.
Bro-feld mutters on about how he can see it all, “I see you before my little eye and my little eye says hi.” (direct quote!)
My eyes say hi too.
Bro-feld continues prattling on about how they will destroy their pariah, his brother James Bond. At this, a drum roll is initiated and Popeye engages the gas dispensers secreted in the ceiling and the Craig-Bond is awash in mystical mist.
Much better than the last shower scene we saw him in!
So Bro-feld’s plan was to steal a scientist and his super secret bio-weapon, throw himself a birthday party, knowing his foster brother the Craig-Bond, who has since walked away from the spy life, will be coaxed by the CIA into retrieving the missing scientist in Cuba and during that Cuban birthday party the Craig-Bond would wander to the center of the dance floor where he can be showered with the bio-weapon?
Bro-feld says, “don’t be alarmed, it’s harmless to us, just to him.” As he says this SPECTRE agents start dropping like files.
So much for harmless!
Dr. Borat seems to get a chuckle out of the proceedings…
“Death is so kooky!”
Paloma spots him and Dr. Borat asks, “are you for my escort?” Ana De Armas give yet another of what is rapidly becoming her patented expression in this film…
…and Dr. Borat runs off with her hot on his heels. The Craig-Bond suddenly leaps forth and grabs a tray containing another vodka martini…
The waitress doesn’t seem particularly disturbed by what’s transpiring.
… flinging it (the tray, not the drink that he flings down his gullet) the five feet between him and Dr. Borat…
…the resulting impact of two pounds per square feet of pressure throws him down in cartoonish fashion.
Dr. Borat once again swallows a USB drive as Paloma and the Craig-Bond begin shooting it out with the handful of guards that hadn’t been consumed by the super weapon. Smash cut to Popeye who last we saw was wearing sunglasses indoors at night like Cory Heart,
but is now crawling around like a Pekinese looking for his eye! How it got knocked out or why it doesn’t fit well are never explained. The trio fight their way to the foyer when suddenly the glass dome over the courtyard shatters and a woman on a repel line descends from the heavens.
No no that one!
It’s 007, who scoops up Dr. Borat quipping, “mind if I cut in?”
That’s never been used before!
Paloma orders the Craig-Bond to, “go get him, I’ll hold them off!” At which point the Craig-Bond tosses her a sub-machinegun and hold them off she does.
Why are we suddenly watching a Tomb Raider speed run?
Up on the roof 007 fires a piton across the alleyway stringing up a tight rope for them to cross. As she and Dr. Borat zip across the alley, the Craig-Bond shoots out the piton on his side, sending them crashing into the edifice on the other side, landing on a balcony. Back in the SPECTRE building thugs begin coming out of the woodwork, from the street, balconies and corridors. The Craig-Bond kills two, Paloma kills a couple near a vintage Chevrolet™ and Nomi when she’s not standing stoically behind a pillar is squirming on the ground trying to wrangle Dr. Borat who is wailing the entire time.
The entirety of her screen presence.
Paloma finds herself out of ammunition and behind three men who began firing at nothing on the upper tier, where suddenly the Craig-Bond appears locked in a grappling match with another man. Trumpets begin blaring in what can only be described as “matador music” when Paloma starts kicking the crap out of these three grown adult men.
After knocking them all down she shoots all three in the face, because John Wick I guess? I’m not going to judge the diminutive Paloma beating the stuffing out of three men much larger than herself too harshly, it’s something that would have fit quite well in say The Spy Who Loved Me. I can imagine Moore glancing over during a fight, seeing what’s going on and raising an eyebrow. Of course in this film it’s juxtaposed with the Craig-Bond still locked in deadly serious combat with just one man. As the struggle continues they crash through the handrailing of the second floor mezzanine (what’s with the faulty handrails in this film?), the villain landing on a shelf atop the bar and the Craig-Bond landing to the side of it, behind the bar. The terrorist is dead or incapacitated, yet after hitting the concrete at terminal velocity the Craig-Bond pops up and shakes off some glass with nary a scratch (there’s gritty realism for you!) and guess what he does next?
If you said pours a drink, congratulations you’ve been paying attention!
Something is afoot with this film, is EON trying to set the record for most alcohol consumed by Bond in this film? Because the Craig-Bond is knocking back tipple after cocktail in every scene he’s in and at the most inopportune times!
The alcohol stockpile for this film.
The Craig-Bond incredulously asks Paloma, “three weeks training, really?” To which she replies, “more or less.” Why she would undersell herself like that is never explained and if you ask this idiot at Screenrant, it’s totally possible she had three weeks training, or not, or is, or not, but probably is.
Pull your bloody head out of your arse and make up your mind!
While all this liver damage is taking place, 007 is shooting it out with the baddies from her perch. Back to the Craig-Bond and Paloma knocking back their booze and the Craig-Bond reminding her they need a car. He grabs a conveniently placed assault rifle and heads to the street, where he whips it to the side deploying the foldable shoulder stock, all in an attempt to depict the Craig-Bond as a dab hand with his “gun.”
“This is my rifle, this is my gun…”
The blurty quasi-Bond music kicks in, to let us know it’s about to get serious and we suddenly get treated to something out of one of those Call Of Duty games. The Craig-Bond wheeling about getting off spectacular hip shots and center punching nogoodniks from miles away.
Set to “Recruit Mode.”
Paloma grabs that vintage Chevy™ from earlier where low and behold there’s a cigar on the front seat, the perfect gift for (whom we’re told is) her good friend Felix, boy I hope nothing happens to him!
Back to 007, as she’s shooting it out with the villains Dr. Borat begins wailing at her, “vhere aaaare vu taaaking meee!” “Why back to mother darling,” is her reply. “Back to mother? No, no, no,” he mutters to himself as he begins skulking his way onto a nearby scaffolding. Paloma sees this, shifts the car into drive and the “matador” trumpet blares again as she slams into the scaffolding, causing Dr. Borat to fall 20 feet to the ground harmlessly. The Craig-Bond saunters over, snatches up Dr. Borat and says to 007, “I’m going to borrow your plane, sorry.” Great old boy tell her where you’re going so she can intercept you! They also immediately abandon the car the Craig-Bond was so adamant Paloma commandeer.
“Hope you didn’t break this collar bone I’m grabbing you by!”
At that moment Cuba suddenly remember they have a police force, underfunded and corrupt, but a police force none the less and they should probably investigate the absolute war zone breaking out downtown! Of course the Craig-Bond, Paloma and Dr. Borat slip by unnoticed despite their conspicuous dress, large briefcase and of course the assault rifle the Craig-Bond is still holding. However, somehow the cops immediately spot 007 on the second floor balcony despite her dark clothing and the cover of the thick railing and columns around her, being a black woman in America am I right?… Oh wait this is Cuba, I guess they just want to ensure she feels she has agency.
“Holla, senorita, esta es la policia, are you feeling heard? Is this an equitable outcome in your opinion?”
Apparently it is not an equitable outcome as she makes herself heard by firing at and downing a power pole showering the scene in sparks, allowing her escape.
Back with the happy trio who have reached Paloma’s safehouse where she bids them farewell, before handing over the cigar for her dear friend Felix, boy I hope nothing bad happens to him!
Speaking of Felix, since we covered Bro-feld’s master plan, I thought we might as well review Felix’s grand scheme. So Felix thinks it a good idea to recruit the Craig-Bond in order to extricate a “kidnapped” scientist. A Craig-Bond who you will recall was absolutely useless after being out of the spy game a couple months in Skyfall and in this case has been sunning himself in the Jamaican sun and if the last two scenes are any indication, pouring gallons of booze down his gullet the past five years. Add to this the fact this specimen of crapulence is at the top of SPECTRE’s most wanted list and Felix sends him straight into the lion’s den along with another agent who may or may not be a rookie. Why not send his super agent in alone or, now here me out, or Felix get off his lazy ass and do it himself!
“Listen brother, I only get out of my chair for two things, to send my friends off on suicide missions and get killed by obvious traitors.”
The Craig-Bond and Dr. Borat scamper off down an alleyway to the dock where they clamber into 007’s plane. So how does the Craig-Bond get this bird fired up? Hotwire it? Some sort of trick to bypass the starter and hand crank it like those WWI Sopwith Camels? Nope, she left the bloody keys in the ignition!
Super spy Nomi agent 007 at work!
Let’s forget the possibility of the Craig-Bond snatching this aircraft, you’re in Cuba, a country notorious for people so desperate to leave they lash oil drums together and brave the torrents of the Caribbean Sea. Why on the good lords green earth would you not think for a minute anybody with an inkling in avionics wouldn’t steal that crate the second your back was turned?!
So long glorious Marxism, institutional racism here we come!
The Craig-Bond hits the throttle and up, up and away they go!
And away I go until next time when we discuss: A Titanic Disappointment!