Rogue YouTuber's Bond short shows a spy more dark than debonaire

The producer of the dark "Power Rangers" YouTube sensation creates an excellent animated short that looks at what happens to Bond when his license to kill has been revoked.

Michael Franco
Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for CNET and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.
Michael Franco
3 min read

Bond might be older in this new short film, but he still knows his way around a gun. Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

Update, March 25: No sooner had I published this story on March 3 than the video was replaced by a message saying the content had been blocked by MGM. The producer, Adi Shankar, just got back in touch to let me know the video is back online on YouTube.

Adi Shankar is making quite a splash on YouTube these days. Recently he released ""="" shortcode="link" asset-type="article" uuid="ae6b796b-ac1f-41e2-b07b-fdc7e874fbc0" slug="dark-and-gritty-power-rangers-reboot-is-not-for-children" link-text="a violent and gritty version of " section="news" title="Dark and gritty 'Power Rangers' vision is not for children" edition="us" data-key="link_bulk_key" api="{"id":"ae6b796b-ac1f-41e2-b07b-fdc7e874fbc0","slug":"dark-and-gritty-power-rangers-reboot-is-not-for-children","contentType":null,"edition":"us","topic":{"slug":"culture"},"metaData":{"typeTitle":null,"hubTopicPathString":"Culture","reviewType":null},"section":"news"}"> that was shut down due to copyright issues and then subsequently re-released with a disclaimer and an age restriction. Now the producer of the films "Grey," "Dredd" and others is back, taking his "what copyright?" approach to the James Bond universe.

The 10-minute animated short he just released is called "James Bond: In Service Of Nothing" and examines what life might be like for a Sean Connery-style Bond who's been forced into retirement after 30 years on the job.

To create the film, Shankar tapped filmmaker and illustrator Tyler Gibb, whose dark animation style fits well with the gloom surrounding a spy without a mission.

"I always wondered what would happen to James Bond in his old age and in our borderless world," Shankar says in the YouTube comments about the film. "I'm not referring to the Bond we've seen in recent films, that incarnation is closer to Jason Bourne meets Batman. I'm referring to the swanky, alcoholic, serial killer with mommy issues that we saw in films like 'Dr. No' and 'Goldfinger.' How would he find a sense of purpose in a self-absorbed and impersonal modern world once his license to kill has been revoked?"

I won't spoil the short (which you can see below) by telling you just how he arrives at that new sense of purpose, but suffice it to say that watching the fall of the debonaire international man of mystery isn't pretty.

The Bond film is the fourth in a series of what Shankar describes as his "Bootleg Universe" that includes the "Power Rangers" film, along with "The Punisher: Dirty Laundry" and "Venom: Truth in Journalism," which stars Ryan Kwanten from HBO's "True Blood."

As to why he makes these shorts, Shankar had this to tell Collider in an interview, referencing the success he had producing his major films:

"Let's take some of the money made from these movies to make something cool. I'm here now, I'm inevitably going to die at some point, and as an artist I feel an ardent urge to constantly be creating. I don't subscribe to the school of thought that as a feature film producer I shouldn't dabble in television, Web content, or even comic books ... that thinking perpetuates the consumerist mosh pit we are now desperately trying to dig ourselves out of. I have a burning desire to entertain and different mediums allow me to do this in different ways.

Shankar has said that he has every intention of expanding the bootleg series, so if you like this sort of creative reinterpretation of classics, you might want to sign up for his YouTube channel so you don't miss the next release. Free entertainment at this level is truly hard to beat.

Update, March 25, PT: To note that video has been placed back online. "YouTube doesn't mediate copyright disputes, but if a rights-holder notifies them that a video infringes their copyright, it is removed. It then goes through a counter-notification process," says a report about the re-release on Deadline Hollywood. "In this case, the producer of the video prevailed and the video was reinstated, roughly two weeks after it was taken down."