Daniel Craig is John Rambo. I mean James Bond by Skywalker


When Daniel Craig was cast as James Bond, I like many others was surprised by his appointment. Despite this I felt Craig could deliver something different to the role. Die Another Day had been a bit of a disaster (although not in terms of admissions) and had left an ugly stain on the franchise. I was willing to give Craig a chance and looked forward to his first outing.

I remember leaving the movie theatre with an extreme sense of frustration. After so many great reviews and much positive feedback, how could this be? Perhaps my own expectations were too high? The film in my opinion tried too hard to be different, and the end result was a totally different Bond film, more akin to the Jason Bourne series of films.

Back to the film itself and the start had me watching in awe. The film opens up with a nicely shot black and white PTS, which I feel is a joy to watch. The inclusion of this scene is to show Bond’s initiation into the OO club. Two kills are required for Bond to attain his licence to kill status. The virgin Bond is shown violently dispatching an informant for Dryden (A rogue OO Agent) that demonstrates Craig’s physical presence (I wonder if the initial criticism had led to this style of Bond character?) and the tone for which Craig’s Bond would continue. This scene culminates in Bond killing Dryden and delivering a nice one-liner.

The next scene containing Craig was the free running (parkour) scene. From this point on the film went downhill. For me this whole scene epitomised the desire for Hollywood (Jerry Bruckheimer) action, with no real point or benefit to the film. Many people enjoyed it, but I just felt this did not belong in a Bond movie. Why did Bond climb into the demolition vehicle just to drive it into a wall? This is supposed to be a top class operative, not a Rambo wannabee.

The free running itself was like an episode of Extreme sports, another pointless part of the movie. Why did the villain decide to climb up the crane when surely a hiding place or the nearest car would have been better option? This whole scene makes me cringe and the site of Craig running through walls is a joke. Yes Craig gave a tougher, more brutal edge to Bond, something that was evidently missing in the Brosnan years, but he seemed to me, to be a standard Hollywood action hero, in the same way the film was full of stereotypical needless Hollywood action.

The poker scenes were steady at best and the annoying commentary simply ruined any potential tension.

The inclusion of Dame Judi Dench was an extremely poor decision by EON. As we all know, the Dame has played M throughout the Brosnan era and was introduced as the replacement M in Goldeneye with Brosnan playing the seasoned Bond. In Casino Royale it was a case of role reversal. Dame Judi was playing an experienced M with an ageing Rookie Bond in Craig. Are we supposed to accept Dame Judi is a different M to the one she has previously played? Don’t get me wrong, I like The Dame and consider her to be a fine actress and a good M, but this role should have been given to someone else.

All in all I feel Daniel Craig could be an excellent Bond if directed correctly. When smooth and refined like at the start and end he showed glimpses of the cinematic Bond that I am accustomed too, but this just wasn’t enough to persuade me he is Bond as there were too many instances in the film where he looked too brash. This style of film could have worked with a younger looking actor, not someone who clearly looks his age. Daniel Craig is a fine actor but Casino Royale is probably the most over-hyped Bond movie in years. In terms of true Bond quality this film is lacking. Martin Campbell turns Bond into the Terminator. Can anyone explain how the Bond most of us love has turned into an uncuffed, uncool robot? Bond is supposed to be a former Commander in the Royal Navy. If this is the case how do you explain the lack of control, planning and overall level of professionalism in Craig's version of Bond? In summation, DC could have been good. The problem is he wasn't. This is partly to do with him but mostly due to the feeble direction. There's no denying he is a good actor but the problem is that I found DC's performance as 007 to be the most un-like Bond I've seen. There are elements in his performance that are 'Bond like'. The physical presence and the cold hearted killings are commendable and appreciated, but the true essence of Bond is the well educated, refined, cool under pressure, calculated professional that has nurtured his skills from years served in the forces as an officer. DC's performance had little of these elements.

I like to feel my opinion is my own and I won't jump on any appreciation bandwagon just to be one of the 'family' and accepted. Craig just seemed too old to play Bond the way he did. When you take into account the education gained at University, the discipline and control learnt whilst serving in the Navy and the expertise and professionalism needed for the SBS, why was DC's Bond so raw? I admire the fact he wanted to make the part his own, but surely even he should realise the way he played it belongs to a much younger Bond. I admire Brosnan for taking the best attributes of the two best and most recognisable Bonds in Connery and Moore. I don't understand why people find this annoying. If you were playing Bond wouldn't you try and take the best bits of everyone who played Bond and adapt it to your style? Daniel Craig has been hailed by many as the man to revitalise/revolutionalise the Bond franchise. After the general disappointment of Die Another Day, Casino Royale did a complete U-turn and gave us something we had never witnessed before in 20 other Bond films - A Bond film without Bond, as we knew him.

Some people claim that Craig is the best Bond since Connery. Others claim he is better than Connery. My question is: How are these assumptions made? What attributes does Craig bring to the table that Connery had? With Connery I always felt he was comfortable with his humour and it came natural. Craig had some good lines, but I felt he did not feel at ease with the delivery. Connery, like Moore could deliver his one-liners superbly. These moments are what makes a Bond film.

I went to see Casino Royale in its first week. I was looking forward to the film and expected a lot after hearing nothing but positive comments. Later that night I reflected about the film and Craig as Bond. Something just didn't seem right. For the first time ever I decided to go see the film again at the cinema. This time I started to scrutinise the film and analyse all the scenes. This movie would be excellent if Fleming had never written the novels and no Bond films had ever been made. Unfortunately this is not the case. On reflection Casino Royale failed to deliver the Bond magic, that 'je ne sais quoi' that regardless of script or actor, each Bond film prior has had. Casino Royale is a film that breaks from the Bond mould with a performance by DC that is neither superb or likeable. For me Casino Royale was a gamble that did not pay dividends.

I'm afraid he's here for the forseeable future and, ever the optimist, I hope Craig delivers in Bond 22.


c 2007 Alternative 007