Casino Royale (2006)
"Casino Royale" by Yojimbo
I have to start by saying I thought the previous film was awful. It was like a cheeseball pastiche of all the worst elements of the worst Bond films; overly formulaic with ludicrous gadgetry, lame innuendo and cliched, two dimensional characters. Casino Royale is similar in that it also takes a lot of cues from the previous films (especially from Russia with Love and On Her Majesty's Secret Service), except it takes all of the BEST elements of the BEST Bonds and distills them into almost the perfect 007 outing. The new Bond begins a new era and resets the character back to the beginning with an opening that dispenses with the ridiculously overblown comic strip action of recent 007 outings and replaces it with gritty cold war thriller style sequence in which Bond busts his double O cherry by executing a man with his bare hands in a public toilet. It has an uncomplicated but cleverly written plot, gritty, breathless action sequences, a believable and fleshed out love interest and a charismatic, brutal and amoral villain (to match an equally charismatic, brutal and amoral Bond.) It was about time Bond was dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty first century and right from the stylishly animated credits which thankfully replace the campy soft-core formula of the originals, they've done a great job. The action sequences are superbly done with a physicality that Daniel Craig suits down to the ground; unlike recent Bonds he not only looks good in a dinner jacket, but also looks like he can rough house with the best of them. Connery will always be the archetypal 007, but bloody hell Craig is good.