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Worth A Look: 29.46%
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10 reviews, 164 user ratings

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Casino Royale (2006)
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by Matt Seaver

"Daniel Craig can kick Pierce Brosnan's..."
5 stars

I enjoyed the heck out of "Casino Royale." As far as I can tell, there’s no reason not to. What we have here is a modern, almost-realistic spy story that has much more grounded characters, better storytelling and much less reliance on the flash that has defined the Bond series since god knows when. Oh, the flash is still there. It’s just approached in a vastly different way.

Originally, I was wary of the idea of “rebranding” – taking old franchises and completely revamping them in order to make something more relevant and “better.” It seemed to me like another way writers were avoiding being original, and thus finding a new way to suck. Batman Begins kicked the crap out of that theory. And now Bond 21.0 kicks the crap out of it again, whips it in the nuts with a braided rope, and shoots it in the head. Which is lucky, because if there was ever a series that needed a new direction, Bond is it.

Royale opens with James Bond (Daniel Craig) garnering his second kill, conquering his last obstacle on the path to 00 status. A cool black-and-white sequence and an insane, parkour-style chase scene later, and we find out that Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a terrorist banker, has lost a huge amount of the money with which his clients entrusted him. In order to make it all back and save his own hide, he has set up a high-stakes poker game in Montenegro, with the winner walking out with $150 million. Mi6 has decided to enter Bond, the best Texas Hold ‘Em player in the service. He and new associate Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) travel to the Casino Royale, well aware that if Bond loses and Le Chiffre wins, the government has just handed over millions of dollars to a terrorist organization.

The reason Royale has gotten so much attention up to release is one of the main reasons the film is successful: Daniel Craig. Craig is a huge departure from previous Bonds, especially the ones that I have come to know (Pierce Brosnan-era). Craig’s Bond is a much more complex character, but at the start of the film you see how different he is. This Bond is a killer; a government-funded assassin. He is good at his job, and he likes his job. Gone is the focus on womanizing and socializing – if Bond messes around (which he does), it serves a purpose. There’s a certain quietness to Craig that is refreshing and unsettling; it’s new and different, and it makes Bond just a little bit dangerous. It’s really fun to watch, and this is the first time I couldn’t really predict what Bond was going to do.

There are moments when this new direction is a little too self-aware in breaking with old traditions, but even these moments are handled realistically. Bond’s first order of a vodka martini is definitely a crowd pleaser, as is the eventually tagging of his name. What this does so well is find just the right mixture between badass action movie and realistic, character-driven spy movie. The chase on Madagascar is the best example of that. The chase itself is beautiful, both cinematically and because of the balls-to-the-wall action with which is jumpstarts the main plotline. We see Bond chasing down a criminal and doing some things that he probably shouldn’t be able to do – scaling a crane comes to mind – but at the very least, Craig makes it look hard. Repeatedly, there’s the possibility of failure this time around that I don’t remember ever being present in a Bond film before, and that makes the token big action sequences much more exciting.

Considering two Brosnan-era Bond writers and current go-to guy Paul Haggis are credited with the screenplay, I’m a little surprised the film flowed as well as it did. There are some iffy bits, but for every chunk of clunky dialogue, there’s an exchange between Bond and someone else that more than makes up for everything. There’s a new level of wit here that brings a much more human character to the series and to Bond himself.

The same can be said for director Martin Campbell. Another Brosnan-era direction (Goldeneye) who proves that he’s better than he was ten years ago (though I don’t remember direction being the issue in the previous Bond films). Campbell works through the action very well, and above all else lets the brutality of the first scene and a torture scene later on sink in very well.

This is easily my favorite action film of the year, and pretty high on my list of the best films of the year. There’s not a chance anyone will think of Craig come February, but I don’t think anyone expected that. His reward from this film comes in the form of a hopefully long-standing contract to stay as James Bond for a good long time, so long as this new direction doesn’t start to slip back toward the mediocrity of the last fifteen years. If they can hold this course with the upcoming sequel (and the almost-guaranteed sequel to that… and to that… and to that…) they will continue to create new fans as they have done with me.

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originally posted: 12/06/06 09:35:30
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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
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
8/03/08 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 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
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  17-Nov-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Mar-2007



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