Casino Royale (2006)

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casinoroyale
release date: 17 November 2006 (Canada)
run time: 144 mins
rated: 14A
considered: Action, Adventure, Thriller
director: Martin Campbell
starring: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Caterina Murino, Simon Abkarian, Isaach De Bankole, Jesper Christensen, Ivana Milicevic, Tobias Menzies, Claudio Sanataria, Sebastien Foucan, Malcolm Sinclair

movie summary: James Bond is a legend. He’s by far the best secret agent/assassin that the British have ever trained and let loose on the world. In 2006 Daniel Craig steps into the iconic shoes and goes on a killing rampage to get some answers to some tough questions and to heal his broken heart.

Bond has just been promoted to the highest secret agent position in the service and while on a quest to gather intel in Africa, Bond goes on a wild goose chase causing millions of dollars in damage. While running after a black guy who holds some valuable information about an international thief, Bond will chase him across the city on rooftops, along construction cranes, and into a local embassy where one pull of a trigger will blow the building up. When the fires dies down Bond retrieves a cell phone with a number that leads him to the Bahamas, where he tracks down a guy named Alex Dimitrios (Simon Abkarian) who is the personal accountant of the international terrorist Le Chiffe (Mads Mikkelsen). After seducing Dimitrios’ wife in his hotel room, she leaves suddenly forcing Bond to tail her. When he realizes that Dimitrios is part of a plot to destroy an airliner prototype, Bond flies to Miami with the intention to foil the plan. Bond races across the Miami airport to stop a guy carrying a bomb in a suitcase, as their fight spills out onto the run ways with planes are landing and taking over right above them. With a little luck and a brilliant plan, Bond saves the new airplane from exploding cause a chain of events that will change his life.

His boss M (Judi Dench) is tired of Bond’s reckless ways and plants a microchip in his arm so she can track his every move. She informs her that both Dimitrios and his wife have been killed by someone connected with Le Chiffe, who has lost hundreds of millions of dollars when the airplane didn’t explode. M goes on to explain that in an attempt to reclaim his money, Le Chiffe has organized a high stakes poker game in a beautiful resort in Montenegro. Bond will enter the game under the direction to capture Le Chiffe alive and bring him in for questioning.

While on a train to the resort Bond meets with Vesper (Eva Green), the women who will hold the five million dollars for his buy in to the game. It is love at first site for the pair, but in an attempt to stay professional and mask their true feelings they engage in an argument about who can read the other person better. When they check into the hotel they agree to sleep in separate rooms and only act like a couple in public because after the train ride neither can stand the other. The afternoon before the big game, Bond and Vesper meet with Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) who will be his personal assistant should anything violent go down. Mathis can clean up any mess on top of having connections with the local police to hide any thing that happens.

The high stakes poker game starts and everyone takes a turn at winning a few hands before a break. During the break things get out of hand at the hotel when thugs come to collect Le Chiffe’s money. After a gun fight in the hallways, Bond returns to the game only to realize Le Chiffe now knows he’s a secret agent. Bond gambles away the five million and loses in the game, only to get a buy back thanks to CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright). With another opportunity to take Le Chiffe down, Bond gets back into the game and ends up in the final two. Just when things begin to look great for the secret agent, Vesper is kidnapped by Le Chiffe’s guys, forcing Bond to risk his life and career to save the new love of his life and take down the bad guy.

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my thoughts: This one sentence will disappoint so many of you, so might as well get it out-of-the-way. I have only seen four James Bond movies in my life. I’ve seen Die Another Day, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall. I own the last three and plan to review them for MovieRob’s James Bond Blogathon.

I didn’t bother to go see Casino Royale in theatres and I deeply regret that. By the time 2008 rolled around, I finally sat down and rented it from the local blockbuster, only to return it and buy it on the spot. Daniel Craig is an excellent James Bond and really turned me into a fan of the character and series. It would be tough for me to sit down and watch the old ones with Sean Connery, Roger Moore, or even Pierce Brosnan when I would just compare them to Daniel Craig. Casino Royale is a remake from one of the original Bond movies and I can not compare the two having never seen the first. One would only assume that the action sequences would not be as great but I bet the card game was better. There is a lot of extra activities in this movie that take away from the card game, when the movie is supposed to be all about a card game! The action is great, fast paced, and well choreographed, but the card game is almost an after thought when everything goes down.

Craig may have been 38 with a solid career of movie roles, but he fit in perfectly for the role of James Bond. He is handsome, athletic, and smart which is lethal when someone is one of the world’s most famous secret agents. Craig has a sick sense of humour that you wouldn’t expect out of a serious character, but it helps tell the story of how this guy got promoted so fast and can do such a good job. When his boss finds out he’s the best poker player in his agency, she has no choice but to put the loose cannon at the table with the hope to win it all. Craig is a risk taker and takes Bond to a whole new level with stunts and lack of respect of any rules anywhere. Once he sets his mind to killing someone, nothing is going to stop him even it means his life. After two attempts on his life, Craig just brushes off his suit, fixes his bow tie, and gets back to the card table. The only problem his character has is he lets his emotions get the best of him in the girl department which leads to his capture and eventual retirement from the agency. Only major problem with living out his dream with a lovely lady is it all comes crashing down forcing him to get angry and seek revenge.

Eva Green is one sexy lady. She was also a perfect choice for a James Bond love interest. Green has the beautiful face, sassy attitude, and smarts to challenge the Bond character in every way possible. In a word of secret agents and double agents, she plays James for everything he has and pays the heavy price for her actions. I loved the witty banter she develops when she interacts with James because it adds to his playboy reputation and allows for her to play her part by distracting him. Sadly for her no one is meant to be in a relationship with James Bond, but she will be the reason he retires and then return to the field looking for answers in the worse possible way.

I have seen Mads Marsden in a few other movies and enjoy his acting. In Casino Royale he was a great bad guy, and that includes his scar over his right eye. He spends the first half of the movie as a cocky guy who is untouchable only to mess up his whole life by getting involved with the wrong people. When things spiral out of control for him he tries his best to rig a poker game and kill anyone who can beat him, only to have that blow up in his face also. Le Chiffe is not a mass murdering kind of terrorist, just a guy who has a lot of money and wants to do bad things to make more money. When I think back to the movie (which I just watched), I don’t recall Le Chiffe kill anyone his himself. He’s a ruthless guy who isn’t afraid to get his hands involved, just doesn’t want any blood on them. Like in any good movie, the bad guy always gets what’s coming to him and no one will be sad when it happens.

my final thoughts: Casino Royale may be a new version of an original James Bond movie but it by far one of the best of the whole franchise. Daniel Craig had big shoes to fill and does a superb job bringing a whole new dimension to a timeless character. Paired together with Eva Green and Mars Marsden, Casino Royale is a must see adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat while you watch James Bond overcome death a few times and attempt to catch a bad guy.

my star rating: 8 out 10

imdb: 8.0 out 10 
metascore: 81/100
rottentomatoes: 95% out 100%
rogerebert: 4 out 4
richard crouse: 4 out 5

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