[Re-Updated: The James Bond short film is back online!]
Dredd producer Adi Shankar made headlines last week when, seemingly out of the blue, he premiered a new installment in his series of bootleg one-shot short films: Power/Rangers, a grisly re-imagining of the Power Rangers property. The short is now back online, after having previously been pulled (briefly) due to copyright concerns/issues, and you can listen to our editors discuss the short in depth on this week's episode of the Screen Rant Underground Podcast.
He's back this week with James Bond: In Service of Nothing, a short animated feature that was directed by Tyler Gibb (Refrain) and, of course, produced by Shankar. The short, which is presented as a pre-visualization animated version of a live-action feature, picks up with the Sean Connery-era Agent 007 (voiced by Christopher Gee) in the present-day - decades after he's retired and been "forgiven for his transgressions" by MI6.
Shankar, for those unfamiliar with his name, has quickly amassed a following not just for his adult-oriented feature-length film output as producer (see also: The Grey), but also his bootleg short movies. The latter have so far either provided gritty makeovers for previously family-friendly brands (Power/Rangers); or, as has more commonly been the case, brought darker comic book anti-heroes to life in fittingly violent fashion - including, through the short films The Punisher: Dirty Laundry and Venom: Truth in Journalism.
In Service of Nothing, however, makes for an intriguing addition to Shankar's bootleg filmography; it's as hard-edged as his previous output as producer, yet this animated short never appears to have a twinkle in its eye (unlike Power/Rangers) nor quite the built-in pulpy appeal of Shankar's Judge Dredd comic book adaptations - including the animated short, Judge Dredd; Superfiend.
Instead, Shankar's James Bond short offers something of a psychologically-grounded portrayal of what the senior-aged version of Connery's Bond would be like, now that he no longer live in a Cold War world - and no longer has a government pardon for his behavior (which today is more generally recognized as being reprehensible). For more on that, you should watch the video of Shankar explaining his reasoning for making In Service of Nothing.
Skyfall, the most recent James Bond film to star Daniel Craig, begins to wrestle with the notion that 007 is a relic of an older time, but ends up making an argument for why he still matters in modern times (both in the story and on a subtextual level). By comparison, In Service of Nothing explores that concept of what an older James Bond would be like in the present-day to its (extreme) logical conclusion, rather than make Bond a vulnerable character in the vein of Jason Bourne and Bruce Wayne - which, as Shankar notes in the above video, is in many ways what Craig's 007 really is.
Per usual with Shankar's bootleg shorts, though, In Service of Nothing's hardcore tone comes off as a little silly, but it's also an interesting and mostly entertaining new take on a pop cultural icon. If nothing else, this James Bond short ought to leave his fans all the more curious to see which touchstone character or property gets the "Shankar treatment" next...
The next official James Bond movie, Spectre, opens in U.S. theaters on November 6th, 2015.
Source: Adi Shankar