Some of James Bond’s “finest outings” saw him taking on the Russians at the height of the Cold War, says James Crabtree in Foreign Policy. Now we’re entering another “era of great-power competition” with China – but it’s nowhere to be seen on screen. Hollywood is terrified of angering Beijing and being cut off from the world’s largest movie market. It hasn’t dared to portray the Chinese Communist Party negatively in a big film since 1997’s Seven Years in Tibet.
This is why we don’t see Bond “battling Chinese foes”, or any mention of the rivalry between Washington and Beijing. It would take a real escalation of Sino-American tensions for such capers to become possible. It’s a “serious cause for concern”: without a sprinkling of “geopolitical realism” among the gadgets and girls, the franchise will remain stale.