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Overall Rating
4.04

Awesome49.11%
Worth A Look: 29.46%
Just Average: 6.7%
Pretty Crappy: 5.36%
Sucks: 9.38%

10 reviews, 164 user ratings


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Casino Royale (2006)
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by Erik Childress

"Blondes DO Have More Fun - And Kick Ass Too!"
4 stars

The Bond series has been on autopilot for a long, long time now. A proven cash cow with a checklist for what audiences expect tends to result in complacency even while the stunt people are given bigger insurance policies. You need a big villain with an outlandish plot. Give Bond a beautiful girl to match wits and skin with. Give the villain one too that Bond can mess around with occasionally. Throw in the familiar catch phrases about martinis and name dropping around the elaborate action scenes and, voila, you have a Bond film. The Pierce Brosnan years were an exercise in been there and done that despite a kickoff in Goldeneye that suggested a psychology into Bond’s behavior was going to be introduced after the two underappreciated efforts from Timothy Dalton that were highly criticized by fans for his cold portrayal of the man they all wanted to be. Brosnan’s final turn, Die Another Day, was reduced to homages and in-jokes to the iconic 40 year-old franchise, so it only makes sense that they would go back to Ian Fleming’s beginnings with the same director, Martin Campbell, who kicked off the Brosnan run now kickstarting the Daniel Craig years. Heavy on psychology for sure with a structure certain to puzzle hardcore fans, but nevertheless, we haven’t seen this good a Bond film in at least half of those 40 years.

Going as far back as the literal beginning of Bond (despite being set in present time), ol’ James has just been granted double-O status and is taking advantage of it. A history of zero kills doesn’t make it to the opening credits as this film establishes right off (in black-and-white, no less) that Daniel Craig's Bond is a head-smashin’, cold-blooded killer. And after another weak entry into the theme song canon, audiences may be surprised that the construction of this adventure is not of the meglomaniacal domination sort, but a more fully realized 21st century take with influences from 9/11 to the national poker craze. But that’s putting it lightly.

The villain of the piece is known as Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) who contains the signature nemesis quirk (a scarred eye that occasionally weeps blood) but not those shared by the various parodies born out of the enemies bent to either take over or wipe out the world. No, this one is a money man; a funder of international terrorism and (just like the U.S.) is in enormous debt. The creditors (with machetes and guns) are calling more frequently and his last hope is a high-stakes game of Texas Hold ‘Em (in the book it was Baccarat) with an invitation-only crowd that Bond plans to be a part of. That’s when treasury official, Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) makes his acquaintance, fronting him the $10 million buy-in and sizing the agent up just as quickly as any mortal man would her.

Flipping over cards while everyone stares intently may not be your idea of intensity, particularly if you have no idea of what the best hand is. Afficionados of Rounders or the World Series of Poker telecasts though will appreciate that Casino Royale just doesn’t lay the cards on the table, but is unveiled much in the same fashion as a climactic round. After anteing up at the box office, you are dealt a pair of high cards underneath before the opening credits. The flop is unveiled in the first hour, three cards destined to improve your hand. The turn then occurs at the hour mark as the bluff on Le Chiffre takes center stage and, finally, the river card presents itself an hour later forcing you to reevaluate your cards and make a final decision to go all in with this version of Bond or to just check and move on.

After the first hour, I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t prematurely throw all their chips into the middle in confidence of what Martin Campbell has dealt them. With the exception of the death-defying, gravity-thumbing stunts in District B13, there hasn’t been as exhilarating an action sequence as the chase through a construction site and foreign embassy that looks as if both parties took an advanced course in Parkour and Wu-Xia. Everything about this moment is so perfectly edited and filmed that its not out of the realm that its explosive conclusion (less than a half-hour into the proceedings) will be met with the kind of thunderous applause that Western audiences provided upon their first viewing of the Michelle Yeoh/Zhang Ziyi battle in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. To further prove that Bondian stuntwork can be met with awe instead of laughable improbability, Campbell delivers a second set piece from a museum to an airport with nearly equal aplomb paying homage to the decade of the last solid Bond adventures with nods to Raiders of the Lost Ark.

These bits are so front-loaded in Casino Royale though that it may keep theater goers leaning over in anticipation of the next volatile bit of action. Instead, it does give way to the poker match, both at the table and in the relationship with Miss Lynd. If you remember (and perhaps squinted) at the assertion in Goldeneye that Bond may still hear the screams of all his victims, you may still not be ready for Bond’s psyche to be broken down by the women in his life. First by “M” (Judi Dench) and then by Vesper, if you drank a dry martini everytime the word “ego” is thrown about, you’ll be shakin’ and stirrin’ around a vomit-filled toilet. But as this is Bond Beginnings (as the old WB might have put it), it makes sense that it be woman trying to get all his ribs and why he would spend the rest of the franchise trying to get them back. It works though not just because the credited writers (Neal Purvis, Robert Wade & Paul Haggis) introduce such a dialogue but that his wholly significant other has not been decimated into a Denise Richards or Halle Berry (both whose looks far outweigh their other talents.) Eva Green utilizes her time as a Bond girl to accentuate the mysteriousness. She does more with an evening dress than any waterlogged knife-carrier can once they open their mouths and, in essence, creates a character of both brains and vulnerability that gains greater resonance as the film continues. (Anyone disappointed with her wardrobe decisions – go rent Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers and thank me later.)

It’s almost impossible for the final 80 minutes to live up to the action in the first 60, although they do try with a staircase battle and a climactic decimation which has so clearly been designed to mend the anti-climax of the book and give audience’s one last thrill. This tale of two halves may leave spectators a bit less enthused on the way out as they try to mend precisely what the evildoer’s plot was all about; a task that “M” tries to get across with all the subtlety of the doctor in Psycho or Giancarlo Giannini being forced to play Phil Gordon for the audience; the only real ridiculous moment in a film that could easily have had many. Daniel Craig seriously creates the most believable Bond since the days of Connery and for the first time in decades, I left the theater with the distinct reaction that I wanted to be James Bond.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15275&reviewer=198
originally posted: 11/16/06 09:32:38
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell boring sorry 2 say 1 stars
7/28/13 Free dating sites Hi there, I have got to declare, I enjoy your site. The colorings, the layout, the overall 5 stars
7/05/13 Hardric Realistic? In real life Bond wouldn't last 5 minutes. 2 stars
3/24/13 KingNeutron Craig brings an interesting take to the character - pretty good poker movie, + Green is HOT 4 stars
9/02/12 roscoe 3 great action scenes, but too long, too much romance, too much poker = boring too often 3 stars
12/20/09 art JUST WHAT THE WORLD NEED"S ANOTHER JAMES BOND MOVIE. 1 stars
10/22/09 Rachel Worth the investment. Awesome movie. 5 stars
8/29/09 Jeff Wilder Craig best Bond since Connery. Movie best Bond since the Dalton days. 5 stars
6/06/09 R.W.Welch Best Bond flick in a while. Craig has the right stuff. 4 stars
5/21/09 Matt In 20 years this will be a classic. the best written bond and hugely entertaining. 5 stars
4/13/09 dt Bond fans get hit in the "nuts" with this offering. Bond wit is replaced with pure grit. 1 stars
3/16/09 Monday Morning Craig isn't a terribly compelling Bond. 3 stars
2/14/09 WiseGuy The gambling ruined the movie, too boring, and too long 1 stars
1/09/09 Anonymous. daniel craig is a great bond! 4 stars
12/04/08 how can i improve my credit score credit check companies 2 stars
11/25/08 Leo T I like a little darker Bond... but a Bond movie without the humor unthinkable... 3 stars
11/13/08 The Dork Knight Nice balance of realism and nods to the old movies 5 stars
8/29/08 PAUL SHORTT GRIM, RUTHLESS, CRUEL, TOUGH, VIOLENT AND UGLY 1 stars
8/03/08 Flounder The best James Bond movie of all time. Ranking right up there with Goldfinger and OHMSS 5 stars
7/31/08 ben dover chris f more like fucking stevie wonder daniel craig is an amazing actor 5 stars
7/23/08 chris f very dissapointed a very poor portrayal of bond 1 stars
5/28/08 MDH-Matt Daniel Craig dispensed naysayers in this, easily one of the best films of 2006 5 stars
3/02/08 ladavies Daniel Craig could have been my 2nd favorite Bond, but he was pussy whipped in this 4 stars
3/01/08 Ivana Mann One of the best action movies of the decade.Expertly acted, paced, and executed. Bravo! 5 stars
2/04/08 FILM REVIEWER Boring and repugnant 1 stars
1/26/08 Pamela White good action but Craig is not the most alluring Bond 3 stars
12/08/07 Sam Eli The Best Bond Movie Since Goldfinger Action Packed, Fastly Paced and a Great Turn by Craig 4 stars
11/10/07 g webster the way Fleming wrote it,ruthless and non stop action 5 stars
9/03/07 johnnyfog No stupid gadgets this time. Just bullets. 4 stars
7/06/07 olias terrific script,terrific acting by the two leads.best ever action sequences 5 stars
6/02/07 F-Off Execs Better than any Bronsen Bond film, no dumb execs wrecking it? 4 stars
5/03/07 Matt No Q, no Moneypenny? Never mind, this rawer Bond minus the trickery works. 4 stars
4/28/07 Geraldine This movie sold me on the Bond franchise. 5 stars
4/22/07 Chris Redmond Quite simply, the best Bond since the Connery days. 5 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK How about they just stop making Bond films? 2 stars
4/16/07 Indrid Cold Clearly one of the best Bond films in a long time, but doesn't live up to the enormous hype 4 stars
3/31/07 fools♫gold Either I'm an unthoughtful prick, or this film just pretends to be clever. 1/5 or 2/5. 1 stars
3/25/07 Bobo All the Craig-haters are eating their words. This film kicks ass. 5 stars
3/24/07 Hoosier Chick just watched the DVD, Daniel Craig is perfect successor to Connery 5 stars
3/19/07 LIndsay Lowhound New Bond is as violent as Steven Seagal, as inscrutable as Jackie Chan. 3 stars
3/17/07 AJ Muller Craig is the best since the early Connery, and the flick is the best Bond EVER. Kickass. 5 stars
3/17/07 Nick One of the best, if not the best, Bond movies ever. 5 stars
3/16/07 Charles Tatum The best Bond of the past twenty years 5 stars
3/13/07 action movie fan great action,sets,locales and characters, but abit hard to follow 4 stars
3/07/07 Ann Coulter's evil twin M must speak for whole 007 series when she says, "How I miss the cold war!". 3 stars
2/28/07 Beau Daniel Craig is an outstanding 007! a great movie to add to the sequel 4 stars
2/19/07 ad The best and most believable BOnd ever 5 stars
1/30/07 Albert Stone A more human Bond, and good acting on the whole. A bit too long though. 4 stars
1/29/07 George Finally a watchable Bond movie 4 stars
1/20/07 David A. Well done adventure, and nice to know even James Bond made a few mistakes when he was young 4 stars
1/19/07 Peter Rubbish, far too long 1 stars
1/18/07 Red Dragon This film was awesome; Daniel Craig - Wow! 5 stars
1/14/07 Farnqwo This is crap.... good crap by todays standards. I love 007's new bottom lip! 3 stars
1/11/07 rory rantabulous 5 stars
1/08/07 Stefan Halka Finally, after 20 years, a good Bond. 4 stars
1/06/07 Yorkee YES - Well Done Craig, easily the toughest and meanest Bond. 5 stars
1/05/07 Tim the Enchanter Craig is good, but the movie is better. Darker and grittier than most Bond, but its cooler. 5 stars
12/28/06 rick gardiner Craig brought acting to new level. Should be nomimated for oscar. 5 stars
12/27/06 Man out 6 bucks Bond is back! 5 stars
12/23/06 pin Action is good but, Bond plays Texas Hold'em? - FOREVER - uh, no. 2 stars
12/21/06 Thomas Wynn Daniel Craig is good as Bond. 4 stars
12/18/06 moon EXCELENT debut as Bond good action qnd a good plot 5 stars
12/18/06 John A. Miller No not quite Sean Connery but the best Bond since. 4 stars
12/17/06 Ellen Lopes Great movie! Before this one I thought Bond was a chauvinistic pig! 5 stars
12/17/06 amber young Oh God Daniel Graig is so HOT - sizzling hot Best Bond along with Sean, but so today!!. 5 stars
12/15/06 Richard Paquette Welcome back, 007!!! 4 stars
12/13/06 Derek Tribe Great Bond action...Criag is rock solid as Bond. 4 stars
12/12/06 adslut Daniel Craig is the best BOND and he's hot! 5 stars
12/12/06 jdean62 Yes its true.. the best BOND yet...IM not a Bond groupie but loved this film ! 5 stars
12/11/06 The Deadly Assasin One of the best 007 films ever !!! If you don't like this , rent xXx !!! 5 stars
12/11/06 mckorb Best bond film in years ... 5 stars
12/10/06 Wendy Straw Awesome 4 stars
12/09/06 laura leigh ooooh Daniel Craig is yummy! I can't stop thinking about him! 5 stars
12/08/06 Helen A Bradley Too vilent, too long, Judi Dench needs new teeth 1 stars
12/08/06 BrianDePalma Another Bond shhit. Actions were so bad. Overrated garbage 1 stars
12/08/06 Odie Craig's cold bastard psychology makes us believe that Bond is an assassin. 5 stars
12/07/06 UGB Has the potential to be a good Bond - Great film 5 stars
12/06/06 Nighy I have the title for the next film - PUSSYBOND! 1 stars
12/05/06 dingle great film 5 stars
12/04/06 Shaggy This movie stays true to the franchise in every way. 5 stars
12/04/06 DeepPan#77 The bond movie that kills the franchise 1 stars
12/03/06 shashank movie was awesome,sexy,& wonderful compared to his previous movies. 5 stars
12/02/06 stuart & sarah lane awesome, Craig has re-invented James Bond for the 21st C awesome stuff ,brilliant script 5 stars
12/01/06 Morris Stone Finally !! Awesome, believable, and classy. 5 stars
12/01/06 shagtex he's not Connery but he may be the next best 4 stars
12/01/06 Richard Diangelo Roger Moore is the only real Bond,Brosnan and his clown make a mockery of the role! 1 stars
11/30/06 Mark Lawrence A great story which Thrills from beginning to end 5 stars
11/29/06 Drew Galletti I was very happy with this movie, though I could just be geeking out 5 stars
11/29/06 rach this is a mint film, i would recommend it to any1, whether they like bond or not!! 5 stars
11/28/06 actorbot I'm a great fan of Sean Connery but, boy this guy is good. 5 stars
11/28/06 Erin This film has everything! Daniel Craig is the best bond yet. Thank you for making him real! 5 stars
11/28/06 Dottie AWESOME...riveting on all levels, could barely contain myself in my theatre seat.!! 5 stars
11/27/06 jrod101 BEST. BOND. EVER. 5 stars
11/27/06 Chris Bellman It sucked, No gadgets, no car gadgets, that's Bond not a love story. 1 stars
11/27/06 Louise Craig is superb, great casino scenes, but didn't like Eva Green 4 stars
11/26/06 mlg didn't like it 2 stars
11/26/06 MaggieH GREAT!!!! 5 stars
11/26/06 mat crap no gadgets bond without gadgets un heard of 2 stars
11/26/06 Bitchflaps Too long, cheesy script and no suspense. Craig and Dench are superb though. 2 stars
11/26/06 Nick Loved the first half! Great Promo for the sport Parkour! Jumping and climbing buildings! 4 stars
11/26/06 Matt excellent film really enjoyable 5 stars
11/25/06 James Yacobacci Never thought I'd say it - better than Connery! 5 stars
11/25/06 Dan A great action film, it gets a little too long at the end, but definately worth seeing it. 4 stars
11/25/06 EDDIE KWIT GREAT GREAT SCENERY - GOT A LITTLE OVER THE TOP ON SOME SCENES 4 stars
11/25/06 piers Excellent and i have seen all 10 out of 10# 5 stars
11/25/06 kerr crap 1 stars
11/25/06 earl hofert fun. 4 stars
11/25/06 Anthony Feor Its a great movie, but why did it have to be a prequel 4 stars
11/25/06 G.T. If you actually like Fleming's novels, you'll love this film! Read the books! 5 stars
11/25/06 Todd Craig is a fucking badass! Best Bond Ever! 5 stars
11/24/06 pete.chesworth new bond superb but the film did tail off as little bit with a bit of needless soppiness. 4 stars
11/24/06 Maverick Started off ok then gets really boring, card game runs far too long. 2 stars
11/24/06 chris f great bond film craig is definetly better than connery 5 stars
11/24/06 Charlene Javier Best Bond film in years. 5 stars
11/23/06 matt Teriffic action and performances, but weak plot structure. Still better than that DAD p.o.s 4 stars
11/23/06 giddo Digger has not seen the film as his mum would not let him! Great Film! DC is great! 5 stars
11/23/06 dani Riveting!Craig may not be the best looking JB,but he's the best Bond iv seen.More!! 5 stars
11/22/06 E An unexpected pleasure - SMERSH was real btw 4 stars
11/22/06 Rosalie This is a very sexy movie! Loved it. 5 stars
11/22/06 Brian Mckay Great first half, then runs out of steam. Trying to cram too much into one film. 3 stars
11/21/06 TONY DOYLE Wish I hadnt wasted my Bandwidth.Total Shite 1 stars
11/21/06 Rev. Marc Fuller Finally Ian Flemmings Bond has come to the screen. Well done Daniel craig. 5 stars
11/21/06 jdean62 Not a fan of BOND... but after seeing Daniel Craig... loved it... cant wait til the next! 4 stars
11/21/06 JM Synth Much better than any of the Brosnan ones, but lets not go nuts 4 stars
11/21/06 tekmage Possibly the best Bond EVER...definately not slow at all, I loved the action, old school! 5 stars
11/21/06 ad it's ok to have high expectations. Rob G is right but outweighed by Craig's performance 5 stars
11/21/06 Jiz Awesome until like 45 minutes in, then it just DRAGGED ON big time. Rob's review nails it. 3 stars
11/21/06 J.R. Different, but excellent. 5 stars
11/20/06 Bird Best Bond since Connery - Excellent 5 stars
11/20/06 Luisa Great stunts, well done Daniel Craig...Jeffrey Wright was under-used. 4 stars
11/20/06 Bond Rocks I expected more seduction scenes and more gadgets, otherwise it was excellent! 4 stars
11/20/06 Ken E Craig nailed it. Best bond yet. First bond film I have ever wanted to go back & see again. 5 stars
11/20/06 Tim Two words: Chick Flick 2 stars
11/20/06 Benoit D What a deception So boring 1 stars
11/20/06 Liz D Best Bond movie Ever, Wll done to Daniel Craig 5 stars
11/19/06 007 1/2 Only gripe - M for continuity. But this longtime Bond fan loved the movie - great restart!! 5 stars
11/19/06 Jason Stringer Everything a Bond film should be. SUPERB 5 stars
11/19/06 socrates17 The only real (ie Ian Fleming) JB film ever. 5 stars
11/19/06 Graham Messy third act, but a more-than-promising new beginning - for Craig, and the whole series 4 stars
11/19/06 mister stupid after 40 years, a real james bond again. brosnan and moore are a pair of vaginas 5 stars
11/18/06 Wayne S. Excellent job by Craig, but FORCED romance with NO chemistry. 4 stars
11/18/06 Wayne S. Very good Bond film, craig was very intense as a young Bond, but I thought that there was n 4 stars
11/18/06 50send At last a Bond who looks like he could do some damage ! 5 stars
11/18/06 Kevin A welcome reinvention. Watch Bond go from a lump of raw iron to tempered British steel. 4 stars
11/18/06 Elizabeth I was confident Craig would be an excellent Bond -- and he is! 4 stars
11/18/06 Alex jones well well well i love the sexy james bong! hubba hubba but i h8 the movie ! booooooooooooo 1 stars
11/18/06 Randy L Well done 5 stars
11/18/06 Mike D. Very different, yet very satisfying! 4 stars
11/18/06 prashanth great stunts fine acting but thewrong casting 4 stars
11/18/06 Fringe Went to the theater planning on hating it but I absolutely loved it. 5 stars
11/18/06 Ole Man Bourbon Just a total stupid POS movie. Crap plot, crap action. Craig was pretty good though. 2 stars
11/18/06 Quigley Daniel Craig was superb as "Bond, James Bond." First action scene made the movie; too long 4 stars
11/17/06 Raymond Scott Where's Timothy Dalton when we need him? 2 stars
11/17/06 kenkhoo A gripping roller coaster of action, suspense, drama, romance, deception & emotion. 5 stars
11/17/06 BK Total waste of money. I wish I could rate it 0. 1 stars
11/17/06 Jack Sommersby Lumbering and dull and overlong. A real disappointment. 2 stars
11/17/06 annie By jove, I think he's got it! Bond is back! 5 stars
11/17/06 James Hamster What can I say, where can I start, I was anti DC, but now I'm a believer, well done my boy 5 stars
11/17/06 robert bond fans have needed this for a long time- Craig is giving Connery a run for his money... 5 stars
11/17/06 ProSneakyD DC is the new bond and is perfect for this is a terrific film, Flemming would be happy. 5 stars
11/17/06 Ben Smith unbievable, best bond since connery 5 stars
11/17/06 sj Bond the way he was meant to be. Viva! 5 stars
11/16/06 Digger James Bond is such a pussy. I can't believe people actually still watch this shit. 1 stars
11/16/06 Joe Dickson Somewhere up there, I hope, Sir Ian Flemming is smiling. At last they finally got it right. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  17-Nov-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Mar-2007

UK
  17-Nov-2006

Australia
  07-Dec-2006




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