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Director: Martin Campbell

Screenplay: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Paul Haggis
(Based on the Ian Fleming novel of the same title)

Producers: Barbara Broccoli, Callum McDougall, David Minkowski, Henning Molfenter...

Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Caterina Murino, Giancarlo Giannini, Jeffrey Wright...

MPAA Classification: PG-13
Running Length: Color, approx 144 minutes

Genre: Action-Adventure, Thriller

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

This is Bond at the beginning. Before he had his "double-O" license to kill. It's an edgier Bond. And one that I liked immediately. We get to see, through the course of this movie, what made Bond who he is (or was) in later movies. He's not just a killing machine, he has feelings, he falls in love, and he suffers the consequences of both his personal and his professional life.

This Bond makes mistakes and mucks things up, rather frequently. Judi Dench, as "M" is perfect as she tries to keep Bond in line. I loved her remark about agents who made this big a mess in the old days would have had the deceny to defect...and how she missed the days of the Cold War. My other favorite response was from Bond, himself, when asked if he wanted his martini shaken or stirred. He replied, "Do I look like I give a damn?"

The basic story will be familiar to fans of the novels. (I'm sorry to say I haven't read any of them, yet.) While Bond is attempting to follow and capture a suspected terrorist, things go awry and he seemingly runs into a dead end. Literally. But he soon unravels enough of a clue to re-direct his attention and surveillance. He heads for the Bahamas, and beyond. Eventually, the trail leads to Montenegro where Bond tangles with Le Chiffre, banker to the world's terrorists, in a card game that Le Chiffre has organized to raise cash quickly. He needs over a hundred million dollars and he needs it fast.

MI6 arranges for Bond to be "invited" to play. Vesper Lynd is "the money." She represents the British treasury and she decides if Bond gets more than the original 10 million dollar "buy in" stake, should he lose the first 10 million. Felix Leiter represents the CIA's interest in the game as they set out to make sure Le Chiffre loses the game and the money.

The action stunts, done for real, rather than CGI are breathtaking! World crisis or no, you wouldn't catch me climbing around on huge cranes, hundreds of feet above the ground, jumping from one to another as if child's play! The fight scenes look painful and brutal. Nothing fancy, just brute force. One torture scene is especially painful to watch. Ouch! As the villain reminds Bond, you don't need anything special to inflict pain.

At 144 minutes, I thought the movie was too long. I would have cut at least 30 minutes. But thanks to DVD, I can skip over the boring bits and concentrate on the good bits (even though I know that many directors think you should be required to watch every single minute of their creation without access to a fast-forward button on the remote control!)

My previous favorites among actors portraying Bond were Sean Connery in first place, Timothy Dalton in second place, and everyone else tied for last place. Now I have a tie for first place. Daniel Craig and Sean Connery.

I think Daniel Craig may do for James Bond what Jeremy Brett did for Sherlock Holmes. His may become the definitive portrayal of 007.

I do hope the producers will keep Daniel Craig on as Bond and begin re-making the other Bond films as soon as possible!

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