Ah good old blighty, red letter boxes, bubble n squeak and now Bond seems to be back home for most of this new adventure. So no more glorious locations and outrageous set pieces involving overly tanned women and Lotus Esprits? well kinda.
Bond film number 23, geez! does this franchise really need to carry on?. Well yes and no if you ask me, yes he's pretty much one of the UK's best known fictional heroes alongside 'Sherlock Holmes' and practically a tourist attraction. On the other hand these films really are getting somewhat repetitive now come on.
The films poster is rather uninspired also, plus the title seems rather obscure and meaningless (yes I know its the name of 'Bond's' family estate, weird name though innit?).
The one issue I have with this film and the previous Craig 'adult' Bond films is they can't decide what to do with them. On one side the films are showboated as gritty, hard edged, realistic super spy films, yet on the other side they are still quite stupid, cheesy, cliched and camp in places. So which is it guys? we've had classic Bond, camp Bond, serious Bond and smarmy Bond, is Craig suppose to be adult Bond?. The other issue is Bond used to be special, this franchise owned the super spy genre and each new film was the mother of all spy films, the new Bond film was like a religious/holy coming we were blessed with.
Unfortunately these days, like most genres, we are spoilt for choice and there are numerous super spy films/franchises that all do the same thing. So this whole deary hype we have to go through for every new Bond now seems pointless as it has all been done before, but now in various other franchises too.
So leaving my moaning aside what about this new effort. Well its actually a reasonable spy/action flick but not really much of a Bond flick. Most Bond flicks tend to have HUGE set pieces, one after another with little in between. Now that is admittedly rather tedious these days so its nice to see that this film does not have that problem. Thing is this film seems to swing right over to the other extreme and have virtually no decent impressive action set pieces in it.
The opening sequence is very good, well thought up, directed, edited, tense, great stunts and surprisingly not overly over blown (although I've never seen a JCB crush cars on a moving train before, that's a new one). After that there isn't really much else that impresses. There are a few good shoot outs, some good fighting and the assassination sequence with silhouettes against a backdrop of neon lights is really nice visually but that's it.
The film does seem more violent with plenty getting gunned down but at the same time it also harks back to classic Bond with plenty of silly humorous moments, which is OK. Although the addition of the old classic Bond car (Aston Martin DB5) wasn't really needed, over doing the homage there. Overall though the film feels very low key action wise, the ending is an incredible anti climax, especially for Bond.
The other strange thing here is the baddie (Bardem) is also incredibly weak and hardly threatening a tall. He has the 'Max Zorin' appearance from 'A View to a Kill' with a nasty blonde hairdo but isn't really very bad a tall, in fact he comes across as quite an OK guy haha. The most shocking thing he does in the whole film (apart from shoot a sexy female in the head, although he was nice about it) is touch up 'Bond' when he has him tied to chair!. That was an eye opening surprise right there, his mannerisms in the following dialog was quite amusing too I must say.
Like most films these days I can't help but notice silly things, I just can't!. 'Bond' and 'M' escape from the shootout in London together, next minute they're in the depths of Scotland? the UK ain't that small folks. At the start when 'Bond' gets shot and falls off the train and that rather large drop into the cold river below, don't really think he would have survived that but hey.
When 'Bond' holds on to the elevator that goes up that skyscraper, when it arrives at the top, one minute 'Bond' is underneath the elevator, next minute he's inside the building? oh and he only had the use of one arm!. Would Komodo Dragons really attack and eat a human just like that?. Also when 'bond'...ah who cares.
I did like the new casting for 'Q', the nerdy computer whizz, thought that would be awful but he was quite good actually. Fiennes naturally was good but felt he would make a much better baddie really, could just see it. Finally 'M' despite being a miserable looking cow, you gotta love her really, she has that strict but loving 'mum' thing about her which many of us can relate to. It was also kinda neat to see 'M' and his office return to their routes at the very end of the film. not sure how 'Moneypenny' is able to still be around, is 'Moneypenny' a code name like 'Bond'? must be.
Overall it is a good action film, a good low key action film, but it doesn't really feel like a Bond film. I understand what they have tried to do toning down the Hollywood aspect but maybe it did need just a bit more kick assery. But like I say there isn't really much you can do with this franchise now, its up against a lot of other very slick spy action films and altogether the genre is now flooded much like the superhero genre. Maybe give it a rest for some years.
I think I used the name 'Bond' there plenty don't you? lets count.