Tuesday 18th January 2022

Casino Royale (12A)
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

I don't really want to get in to the story and the speculation, but most of you probably know that during the four years since the last James Bond film hit our screens, EON have been busy re-inventing Bond. Their every move has been followed in the press and scrutinised meticulously. So finally we get to find out, is the new Bond any good?

It's not what it looks like! Oh, alright, it is...
It's not what it looks like! Oh, alright, it is...

Directed by Martin Campbell, who helmed Goldeneye (the franchise's 1995 reinvention) this is the first Bond film to be based on Ian Fleming's writings since 1987's The Living Daylights. And it is obviously much better for it. Sometimes slyly referred to as "Bond Begins", this film shows the start of James Bond's 007 career and follows the storyline of the first Bond novel, in which the MI6 agent needs to beat a bad guy at cards with the British government's money, and learns in the process to become the cold-hearted killer we've all come to know and love.

Daniel Craig is the man who has stepped into Pierce Brosnan's shoes as the world's most famous spy, and he does a good job of conveying a new, dark, gritty, cold, grizzled Bond, the very opposite of Roger Moore's safari-suit wearing, coiffured, chocolate-voiced, smooth portrayal. This is definitely a step in the right direction in my view, and Craig also proves he can deliver the one line quips we're used to hearing from out favourite double-O. However, on the few occasions he has more than one or two lines to utter, he sounds less like James Bond and more like just some guy. In fact, while he comes across as a very interesting character to watch, it doesn't feel like you are watching James Bond at all.

The film as a whole is very good. It has dark themes, interesting characters, great action sequences and plenty of suspense. Gone are the fancy gadgets, Moneypenny and Q (although M is obviously retained and still played by Dame Judi Dench) and the tired and increasingly unrealistic action set-pieces we were subjected to in the last couple of Bond films.

Aston Martins are out in force, as is, err, a Ford Focus. In fact, the Ford is just one of many items to feature in the non-stop product placement advertisement that the Bond films of late have become. Rest assured: the constant flashes of Sony products and so on will irk you.

Fans of the book will be pleased to know that Bond's famous line at the end of the book is in the film, as is the infamous torture scene, albeit slightly less brutal than in the novel. This film also sees Bond hospitalised for a reasonable length of time, something else which regularly occurred in the books but was always glossed over in the movie format.

Overall, this is the definitely the best Bond film we've had for a while. I'm not sure that it's better than Goldeneye, or even Tomorrow Never Dies, but it is very entertaining and tense, and firmly headed in the right direction for the future. I really enjoyed it, but curiously I have no desire to rush out and see it again.

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Length: 144 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 16th November 2006

Top Five Rating: 80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0% (80.0%)
User Rating: 86.6%86.6%86.6%86.6%86.6%86.6%86.6%86.6%86.6%86.6% (86.6%)

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