Casino Royale

Rating:

Daniel Craig Becomes James Bond

Main Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench

Director: Martin Campbell

Plot Summary: A British Secret Service agent, James Bond, is promoted to 00-status, licensed to kill. He is sent on a mission to stop an international terrorist and recover blood money through gambling at a rich resort in Casino Royale.

Based on the first book of the series written by Ian Fleming, Casino Royale charts the beginning of James Bond’s exciting adventures. There was some degree of hesitation displayed by a few back when a new actor was announced for the role, but I believe Mr. Craig has quelled all doubts. Not only is he a good actor, he is a good Bond: one of the novels, whom is not superhuman, gets hurt, and is allowed to feel emotions.

The plot is also refreshingly down to earth. A villain named La Chiffre (Mikkelsen) is in debt to a number of shady people and decides to win the money he needs at a card tournament at a casino. James Bond is sent down to foil his plans and win the money, being the best card player in the agency. No puffed-up megalomaniacs out for world domination here. The back-story leading up to the confrontation in the casino is done well, with just the right amount of action to show off the new Bond.

The scenes in the casino were okay. Only so much can be done to excite up people playing cards at a table (it’s more fun being there). Outside the card playing is where the action takes off. Bond is helped along by Vesper Lynd (Green), a leggy accountant from MI6 who does not fall (initially) for his charms. But while some things change, others remain the same, and she does start to warm to him.

My only complaint is the “end end end movie” syndrome. This is where you think you might be at the end of the movie, but no, more things happen. And happen…and while things did move briskly along, I wasn’t keen on the structure of the last half-hour.

Casino Royale does follow the plot of the book, mostly, with some degree of modernization. I can’t fault them for that. Otherwise this is a well-crafted movie, free of the improbable gadgets that plagued many of the middle Bond movies and made them more comedy than adventure. This is a stripped away, leaner Bond that I find refreshing. If they continue along this way I can recommend them to both non- and Bond-lovers alike. This one gets my nod as a very good action movie indeed.

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