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James Bond - Casino Royale (Daniel Craig) [2006] - 12.98

The most successful invigoration of a cinematic franchise since Batman Begins, Casino Royale offers a new Bond identity. Based on the Ian Fleming novel that introduced Agent 007 into a Cold War world, Casino Royale is the most brutal and viscerally exciting James Bond film since Sean Connery left Her Majesty's Secret Service. Meet the new Bond; not the same as the old Bond. Daniel Craig gives a galvanising performance as the freshly minted double-0 agent. Suave, yes, but also a "blunt instrument," reckless and possessed with an ego that compromises his judgment during his first mission to root out the mastermind behind an operation that funds international terrorists. In classic Bond film tradition, his global itinerary takes him to far-flung locales, including Uganda, Madagascar, the Bahamas (that's more like it) and Montenegro, where he is pitted against his nemesis in! a poker game, with hundreds of millions in the pot. The stakes get even higher when Bond lets down his armour by falling in love with Vesper (Eva Green), the ravishing banker's representative fronting him the money.

For longtime fans of the franchise, Casino Royale offers some retro kicks. Bond wins his iconic Aston Martin at the gaming table, and when a bartender asks if he wants his martini "shaken or stirred," he disdainfully replies, "Do I look like I give a damn?". There's no Moneypenny or "Q," but Dame Judi Dench is back as the exasperated M who, one senses, admires Bond's "bloody cheek." A Bond film is only as good as its villain, and Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre, who weeps blood, is a sinister dandy. From its punishing violence and virtuoso action sequences to its romance, Casino Royale is a Bond film that, in the words of one character, 'makes you feel it', particularly during an excruciating torture sequence. Double-0s, Bond observes early on, "have a short life expectancy". But with Craig, there is new life in the old franchise yet, as well as genuine anticipation for the next one when, at last, the signature James Bond theme kicks in following the best last ! line ever in any Bond film. To quote Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin, "now I know what I've been faking all these years". --Donald Liebenson

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.0):

Rating: 4:
PERHAPS NOT THE BEST CHOICE. : Although the film is as good as any and a very welcome "back to basics" I do feel that Daniel Craig is just a touch to old for the part. Remember that Casino Royale is the first in the series and Bond is only a rookie just getting his 00 status. At 40 years old DC is a little long in the tooth for an apprentice so to speak. I am not decrying his acting at all, in fact, I think he is excellent and plays the part to perfection within the script but he is not the suave sophisticated Bond that Ian Fleming introduced back in 1953. Sean Connery left an enormous pair of shoes to fill and many have tried and failed. Daniel Craig has had them altered to fit but I think perhaps to late in his career, 10 years ago I think that he would have been a worthy successor to the throne but now we only have a temporary custodian of the crown. So let us enjoy this and hopefully a couple more before DC goes out to pasture.

Rating: 4:
A new Bond, and a good DVD for an evening at home : 2007 is upon us and we have a new James Bond film, but with a twist. And this time it is a big twist with a completely new James Bond in the form of a rugged blond (yes - blond) named Daniel Craig. The basic premise is a back to the beginning, with a new young Bond just beginning (only just get his 00-rating for his 1st two kills) and as a story one of the earliest of Ian Fleming's masterpieces. A nasty man called "Le Chiffee" (played by Mads Mikkelsen) is the banker for the world's dictators and terrorists and he likes to play poker. "Le Chiffee" has withdrawn his investments (actually other people's money) in a company (al la Airbus) planning the launch of a new aircraft, and just to make sure that his move pays dividends he has orchestrated a terrorist act against its maiden flight. Bond foils his plot, so "Le Chiffee" decides to stake a high-role game of poker to recover his losses. Bond again foils this by winning. And so we are drawn through a plot of bluff and double bluff (the poker metaphor runs throughout the film). We see a Bond more sentimentally attached to his leading lady, more physically violent, more fragile in that he bleeds, sweats, and occasionally even looks tired. And a Bond that is far less dependent upon high-tech gadgets (he even appears to drive rental cars!). On the other hand we get our fill of chases, fights, and general mayhem, all set in a series of exotic places around the world. The film is bit slow in places, but in Daniel Craig they have really found a good guarantee for the future of the franchise. This film is worth every - it is a thrilling, action-packed race through exotic locations, with well-integrated special effects, and (for once) good acting. So it looks like we have finally a new James Bond that can/may/will replace Sean Connery.

Rating: 1:
Is this the most Boring Bond EVER ??? : Yes it is and despite the supposed updating of Bond - i.e. no gadgets it has one of the most ridiculous gadgets ever in a Bond film - no spoilers here i'm afraid but if you haven't seen this film you are probably resident on Mars.

I am a Bond fan and thought DC was quite good - but the Film is just boring.

I won't write off DC yet because he was by far the best thing in this bond outing... but next time the story has to be much better.

Rating: 4:
Despite those ears, how hot is Daniel Craig? : Wow. I was not expecting to like Daniel Craig as much as I did in this movie. He is definitely scruffier and more grim than previous Bonds, but I think that works. Should an assassin be chipper & smiling all the time? Even James Bond? I actually believed that the violence was real, and in most Bond films it is more cartoon-like. The villain is a bit weak here, just didn't scare me all that much, and the film felt like it went on too long, so I subtracted one star. But overall, I think Daniel Craig makes a superb (and extremely hot!) James Bond and I look forward to his next movie.

Rating: 5:
Bond is Back - In Style! : Despite my original doubts about Casino Royale the film really delivered for me. Daniel Craig portrays a grittier Bond. As this is Bond earning his "00" status he appears less experienced leading to a mistake early in the film.

As the storyline is taken mainly from Ian Fleming's book the plot appears stronger than some of the previous films.

The action sequences for the most part are excellent with great set pieces and stunts moving away from the CGI that was present in Die Another Day.

Overall an excellent film I would certainly recommend.

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