New Bond (2006)

Casino Royale (2006). Released November 17, 2006. As you would expect from a James Bond film, there is an opening action sequence (across high-rise scaffolding no less) that defies belief. Yet this latest Bond outing adds more to the Bond sense of style and takes us into new territory for the spy character.

The premise goes that James Bond (Daniel Craig) must out play a banker from a terrorist organization (played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen) in a high-stakes poker game. If the banker loses, the terrorist group will implode. Seems so easy. Predictably, things spiral out of control and the British secret service spy is facing the fire at double the usual power. Bond must up the ante. In that vein, there is more than the usual Bond quota of violence–with plenty of fist fights and shooting. All fictionally represented, of course, with a real enemy. Bond is facing terrorism. Blends in real life in other words. Unlike previous Bonds, who liked to look after themselves, being healthy is not much a priority for Daniel Craig’s 007, who goes through the motions on a rush of adrenalin and plays the game his own way without much thought to how he’s going.

He even goes beyond M’s (Judi Dench) orders, which was a no, no for the likes of Roger Moore’s Bond, who had a better sense of manners. This Daniel Craig Bond is driven and he must persuade the ‘Bond girl’ (Eva Green) he’s not just a chauvinist pig. This is where there is more than the brute strength and a rare Bond vulnerability hits the screen almost convincing us Bond’s for real.

The serious tone with its violent gravitas, pointed storytelling, serious romance (I’ll believe, ya, Bondy, but many wouldn’t), and just over the head self-importance, compared to the lighter Connery-Moore efforts is taking itself too seriously.

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