Casino Royale  (2006)

In "Casino Royale," 007 is a rough-and-tumble, red-blooded male. Actually, this portrayal simply returns James Bond to his roots as a Dirty Harry-style global enforcer of law and order. Bond is a hard-edged, no-nonsense character in Daniel Craig's debut in the role. He does not rely on a lot of comic-book gee-whiz gadgets (though many of those past devices were indeed fascinating).

             


Craig reprises the 007 character as author Ian Fleming intended him. In fact, the movie "Casino Royale" is based on the first Bond novel of the same name published by Fleming in 1953. (For the record, Fleming's second Bond novel was "Live and Let Die," published in 1954, and was the basis for the 1973 film that first starred Roger Moore as Bond.) Updated to a modern action adventure film, "Casino Royale" still largely follows the tone and sequence of the novel -- quite a compliment to Fleming's imaginative plot of 53 years ago.

In "Casino Royale," Bond's skirt-chasing is not a priority -- as was true of Bond in most of Fleming's 007 novels. Instead, Bond views women as one of the more superficial parts of his world, and, in one scene, jilts a woman on the verge of having sex with her to go track down a renegade villain.

              


If you thought that a chase scene could no longer hold your interest, you nonetheless will likely to be wowed as Bond chases a racketeer in one of the film's opening sequences. Later in the film, Bond is tortured with a knotted rope to his testicles and that scene will leave most men to squirm in their seats. The audience went silent but some well-delivered and well-timed lines by Bond lighten the mood and lend to an admirable tough guy persona. (Some might think this ball-busting scene is a femiNazi affront to men, but the scene is right out of Fleming's original novel.)

Eva Green turns in a decent performance as a Bond girl, though neither well-endowed nor one of the more attractive to grace the role. The direction is some of the best for a Bond movie. Martin Campbell takes more risks than he did with GoldenEye, but his understanding of the Bond character still shines through.

              
 

Overall, a great debut for Craig as 007, and a very good action film; it's refreshing to see a more down-to-earth Bond compared to some past Bond films that have had a heavy reliance on gimmickry and cartoon-like action scenes and dialogue. Dare I say one of the best entries in the 007 film series, and it has a lot to do with Bond's rugged masculine appeal: A good film in a time of terrorist threats to highlight the need for manly traits, thoughts and action.
                   - Reviewed by: by Malebonding

Rated: PG13 in USA, 12A in UK, 14A in Canada due to violence, torture and nudity.
Duration: 2 hours & 24 minutes
   
 
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