Casino Royale takes us back to the origin of Bond as a 007 agent. We see him complete his first two kills and earn his rank. Then we see him dash off and begin to wreak all sorts of havoc and frustrate the hell out of "M" for the remainder of the film with his brash ways. Daniel Craig (Layer Cake) is absolutely brilliant as James Bond. I didn't think I could grow accustomed to a blonde haired Bond, but he owns the role. I think every generation has a "Bond" and for me, until now, it was Roger Moore. Craig has quite handily slid into Moore's spot in my mind.
Bond first finds himself in Uganda, watching over a terrorist. When his prey becomes spooked, what follows is an amazing chase/fight scene of free running across the Ugandan countryside - and if you don't know what free running is, look it up on Youtube. It's truly incredible. Things come to an explosive head at the embassy and Bond obtains an integral piece of info. The terrorist's cell phone is filled with clues about the organization supplying the money and weapons. Soon Bond is globe-hopping to the Bahamas and then to Montenegro. It seems that the organization's financial head honcho, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) has put together a very high stakes poker game in an attempt to line his own pockets. The clincher is he is playing with his clientele's money, not his own, so it is a very dangerous game. The British government wants Bond to join in the game so that he can win and financially destroy Le Chiffre and the organization once and for all. To watch over their money and to insure that Bond behaves himself, they have sent the lovely Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) from the Treasury to be his keeper. Despite fending off his advances, Vesper eventually falls for Bond and together, they battle Le Chiffre and his henchmen both in poker and for their very lives.
One of the main things that I enjoyed about the movie was the fact that Bond wasn't exactly the same type of ladies' man that he eventually becomes. Of course, this story shapes his character. I also liked the fact that the story was modernized and included lots of current technology, even though the original story is quite old.
Casino Royale has everything a great action flick needs - a dashing leading man, a lovely lady at his side, a ruthless villian - one that bleeds from his tear duct, no less - and lots of explosions. While Casino Royale does sport nudity, its not the ladies but Craig that bares all, well... most. And he does so in a very interesting torture scene that again, gives one an appreciation for the man 007 is and will become in the series.
Casino Royale sports a bevy of Special Features in its second disc including several featurettes and a music video for the intro song by Chris Cornell. Speaking of the intro, it lacks the traditional Bond girl silhouettes, but instead includes lots of playing card based graphics that morph into fractals. Very cool indeed.
Once again, Casino Royale is absolutely fantastic! If you've given up on Bond altogether, or have simply have grown tired of the series or are still a big fan, don't miss Casino Royale. It has not only renewed my faith and love for Bond movies, but I have a greater appreciation for Daniel Craig as a hot action hero. This is a must see movie.