Daniel Craig is the new Bond and I, like many others, was skeptical when I heard he had to learn to drive standard and had never held a gun before this movie. Craig proved me and all of his critics wrong with the best Bond performance since the great Scot himself. Craig plays Bond with the usual sophisticated confidence bordering on arrogance; what he also accomplishes is the tough side of Bond that was less than convincing in some of the past actors who played the fictional legend.
Casino Royale is a great action movie and a great Bond movie. As cliche as it may sound, I was literally on the edge of my seat during some of it. One scene in particular, where Bond chases a bomber through a high rise under construction, could be the best chase scene I've ever witnessed.
The movie centers around a classic Bond villian with a physical disfiguration. He is an understated villian named Le Chiffre who is not trying to take over the world but rather he is a financier of terrorists. Le Chiffre needs to make millions of dollars back to save his life and he plans to do this by winning a big-pot poker game at the Casino Royale. Bond's plan is to break Le Chiffre for good at the gambling table, and the $10 million buy-in is financed by the British Treasurey and delivered by Vesper Lynd who is the anti-Bond-girl in every way.
The only part of this movie I thought could have been better was the love story between Bond and Lynd, we see the sensitive side of Bond and we also see the context behind his womanizing ways and why this sensitive side is never to be seen again. I acknowledge that this part of Casino Royale was necessary for the plot but Craig was slightly less convincing as the romantic lead man.
Overall this is one of the best Bond movies I've ever seen and certainly the best action movie produced in years. I highly recommend seeing Casino Royale, especially if you are a Bond fan. The gag and gadget centered themes of the past few Bond movies are stripped away and the audience is left with a simplified movie that centers on the characters, low-tech real action, and a newly invigerated Bond character. I'm looking forward to #22.
I put this movie on my 'Watch It' list and give it a value of $9.
December 8, 2006
Casino Royale - $9
James Bond is back and better than he's been for a long time. Actually in Casino Royale James Bond is just beginning. The 21st Bond film takes us back to the beginning and lets us watch James Bond become OO7 and evolve into the man we've watched 20 other times.