Daniel Craig poses during the world premiere of the new James Bond film "No Time To Die" at the Royal Albert Hall in London. (Reuters/Toby Melville)

The latest of the James Bond franchise films, No Time to Die, premiered in Kenya on Friday. This makes Nairobi one of the early debut world cities for the most anticipated blockbusters of the year.

Even with limited theatre numbers allowed into movie halls due to the Covid-19 health regulations, available tickets for the premiere edition at Anga Cinema, Diamond Plaza, Nairobi, were reportedly sold out.

The 25th installment of the Bond series whose release had been postponed several times – prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic - took off to a stunning start with praises accorded to Craig’s breathtaking bike stunts.

Being Craig’s – the James Bond character – last act, the drama recalls the retired superstar now living his quiet life in Jamaica, with a CIA agent asking help with one more assignment – that ironically leads him to confront Madeleine Swann, the woman he once loved.

No Time To Die, the last of a series in a storyline that begun with the actor in 2006 with the release of Casino Royale paints Craig, 53, with an iconic demeanor that probably to accord him a deserving send-off as fans ponder as to who will be the next 007 character.

Even though most die-hard Bond lovers who attended the Kenyan debut might have hailed the movie for Craig’s eye popping two hours and 43 minutes’ act, critics argue that the film is long and dotted with a number of boring scenes. It is the longest flick the franchise has ever released.

“The movie is the cliché act you’d expect of any other 007 film. It is sort of a sum total of what we have experienced from Craig’s acts over the years this giving a good summary of a character we all love. The ‘Old Wreck’ as he refers to himself, makes a good account of himself especially with the invincible stunts,” says Lamar Awan who attended the premier.  

“The director (Cary Fukunaga) played a good balancing act with an aged charismatic Craig in a film that must still bring out the James Bond thrill plot and must still bring out a human interest and soulful element while factoring technology and new innovations,” adds Awan.

Solid start

Universal Pictures, the stable that is distributing the film overseas, Friday reported that the movie is off to a solid start.

According to Universal, the film made a good take off in South Korea and the United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

It earned between $6.2 million (Sh685 million) and $6.8 million (Sh751 million) in its first day in Ireland and the United Kingdom. That’s 13 per cent above Spectre. It is on the heels of Skyfall (only 26 per cent below) after it opened on a Friday.

Just as it is in many African countries and world over, the 007 franchise is popular in Kenya and this release could just be the much needed spark to get Kenyans back to the theatres after over 18-months of a film hall lull.