Reviews & Previews - Casino Royale

Posted on Tuesday, December 05, 2006 at 05:00 PM

Casino Royale

By: S. Tran

Starring: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Judi Dench, Mads Mikkelsen
Directed By: Martin Campbell
Running Time: 144 minutes
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action, a scene of torture, sexual content and nudity.

007 Smackdown!

Casino Royale is the latest Bond movie and it wastes no time in showing us that this isn't going to be the Bond we've been used to seeing for the last 20 years. From the opening brutal fight scene the producers introduce a bigger, badder, meaner Bond. This Bond not only saves the day, he also gets busted up pretty good doing it. This is a stripped down, buffed up secret agent who is less martini and tuxedoes and more beers and t-shirts. It was a bold move to cast Daniel Craig and turn the franchise upside down but the result is a fun 007 film that loses the campiness of the prior Brosnan era Bond movies.

A lot of people kicked up a fuss over the casting of the blond Craig as the latest Bond. Looking at him it wasn't hard to see why. Not only is he blond, he's also probably the ugliest 007 in the franchise by Bond standards. This isn't to say Craig is homely, but compared to Connery, Moore and Brosnan he looks more like the bad guy in a typical Bond movie. Yet his looks actually help give him a bit of street cred and we believe he is as tough as he is meant to appear on screen. Craig looks as though he has been in a few fights and lost more than his share.

To compliment this more realistic Bond the writers have provided a story more in line with the recent Bourne Supremacy films than the cartoony action of the last few Bond movies. We are introduced to Craig as he first begins his career as 007 and watch him earn his secret agent status by making his second kill, kind of like some spy school initiation drill I guess. Bond is then set on the trail of an international money launderer named Le Chiffre (Mikkelsen) who is assisting terrorists and dictators. As a sign of the times Le Chiffre doesn't rely on space bombs or sharks with lasers on their heads. Instead, he takes a page from corporate America and uses industrial sabotage to try and manipulate the stock market. Ok, so an evil day trader isn't really that scary, but hey he does bleed from his eyes.

I won't even lie to you and tell you that the plot makes a lot of sense, which is not such a big problem as we go see the Bond movies for the action above all. In this department the film delivers some great scenes that are entertaining even though they don't have the extravagant sets from earlier films. There is a simple foot chase that is probably one of the better action sequences I've seen in a film all year and it was done without jet packs and wrist watch grappling hooks.

Although Dench is back as M there is no Q or Moneypenny in this one (just a bad pun on her name). While there are a few Bond type gadgets they are not as prevalent as before. The movie also takes joy in making a few jokes at Bond's expense such as having him make his first appearance in a vehicle driving a Ford instead of the usual exotic supercar. This ability to poke fun of itself helps to round out the action in Casino Royale.

At the end of the day this is not a classic Bond film and if you were a big fan of the Brosnan era then you may not enjoy this movie. However, if you are more of a Connery fan then I think you will enjoy Craig in this role and have a good time reintroducing yourself to James Bond again.


3.5 out of 5 stars.


NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to