Casino Royale: Review

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Bond 21. There’s a new Bond in town. Despite all the talks and doubts about Daniel Craig transforming into the newest Bond, this Bond is with an edge as sharp as a razor. In fact, Craig’s portrayal of 007 comes closest to Ian Fleming’s original formulation of the British Agent. A Bond devoid of campy one liners, funky gadgets and perpetual rolling in the sack with Bond-girls, Daniel Craig delivers a taurine Bond that is extremely battle hardened (and it shows), a down right dirty unarmed combat exponent (with well executed martial arts techniques). This is Bond in his rawest form…prior to his double-O status.

Expect nothing short of an adrenaline rush here. The movie opens to a gritty black and white back-story of how Bond achieved his first two kills. We then open up our story in resplendent color as we are taken with pulse pounding fluidity through a Ugandan construction zone as the newly commissioned 00 is in hot pursuit of a would be bomber with feline-like jumping skills.

In 1967, the original “Casino Royale”, showcased notables such as Peter Sellers, David Niven (playing Bond), Orson Welles, Woody Allen, and John Huston as M. The film was more comedic farce than anything else and now has been completely revamped focusing on 007’s inner workings minus all the flashy technology that became calling cards for previous films.

Bond’s apparent pomposity, brash devil may care attitude is the ever consistent thorn in the side of M (played again wonderfully by Dame Judi Dench), head of MI-6. With careful clandestine movements, Bond enters M’s home, utilizes her pass codes and tracks a terrorist cell to the Bahamas, then Miami to prevent a state of the art Airliner from becoming tomorrow’s headlines.

With intricate plot twists and turns, 007 come to meet his nemesis, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) in Montenegro, a wicked banker with a penchant for financing world terrorism. Le Chiffre finds himself in a quagmire where he must repay terrorists and to do so, he must win a high stakes poker tournament at Le Casino Royale, where the buy in for the game is 10 million dollars.

Bond seeing this as an opportunity to nail the financier (who has a nasty knack of crying blood through his left tear duct) and foiling his redemption plot, his service provides the buy in delivered by Vesper Lynd, an alluring woman M assigns to watch over Bond. Lynd eventually melts Bond’s icy persona and tests his loyalty to Her Majesty’s Service.

As another player in the game, CIA operative, Felix Leiter half way into the game reveals his identity to the now frustrated yet determined Bond, and makes known America’s interest in Le Chiffre. Tension arises as Bond suffers the slings and arrows from his nemesis as we are led head first into a frenetic barrage of feigns, folds, all ins, and vicious dirty dealings to which 007 falls victim to.

Cool Factor: no gadgetry, just dynamic character and story telling. The excitement is there, the exotic locales are there and so is the hook. For the first ten to fifteen minutes, be sure to strap in your seatbelts because you will be in for a ride comparable to being in the front seat of a looping coaster.

Craig leads 007 into the next wave of gritty, high octane, action packed storylines. This is a fresh Bond that doesn’t give a damn if his martini is shaken or stirred. This Bond delivers and delivers hard.

Rating: A

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Tobe R. Roberts

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