Saturday, November 18, 2006

James Bond: the violent thug is back....

Well, everyone’s favourite pro-west, pro-imperialist violent thug is back. Yep, that’s right, British intelligence’s finest ….James Bond. And there’s a new kid on the block playing him and that’s dirty blonde Daniel Craig aka Geordie from the telly series Our Friends in the North. You know a proper actor. He looks kinda like the Robert Shaw assassin in From Russia with Love.

OK, OK, I admit it. I like the James Bond films. Look, I am hanging my head in shame. They are reactionary pap and yes, it is an utter contradiction to like them. But I do!

Now that I have admitted my secret shame I can give my opinion on the latest offering, Casino Royale. It has a high octane script, the action is roller coaster like and the fight scenes were gritty and Bond, shock! horror! bleeds. Daniel Craig makes a stunning but flawed Bond (he feels ya know and has shock! horror! emotions). But the "emotional" Bond doesn’t last.
There is a tongue in cheek nod to Dr No where a beefed up Daniel Craig emerges from the sea Ursula Andress style.

No Q therefore no real gadgets but that gives the film a sharper edge as we aren’t distracted from the plot. But there are the usual Bond trademarks such as the Aston Martin, Walther PPK and the Vodka Martini …shaken not stirred, corny sex scenes and Bond women.

Ah yes, the Bond women. One of the women isn’t in the film for that long but she is the usual cliché. A Bond woman is typically one dimensional walking bikini making inane comments like: “Oh James, Oh James, Oh James…” ad nauseum.

The other woman in Casino Royale, Vesper Lynd (great ride and a star) is quite a solid character, confident and holds her own when bantering with Bond. A Bond woman can not be on equal terms with Bond instead she eventually submits to the “charms” of 007. But I remind myself that this is James Bond and the scriptwriters haven’t studied feminist discourse! Though I wish they would buck the sexist trend and transgress a bit.

I prefer the baddie Bond women as you know they are gonna get bumped off but hey, at least you get the best lines. My favourite being Xenia Onatopp from GoldenEye who used to wrap her legs around unsuspecting blokes necks choking them between her thighs. What a way to go! I liked her. But I digress….

Anyway, Daniel Craig shocked me as I was one of those doubters believing that he just didn’t have “it”. Well, I was soooooo wrong and really, to my surprise, enjoyed the film. And it cured my hangover!

Incidentally, my claim to fame is that I was given a lift home a couple years ago from a former Bond woman. OK, I was a bit in awe as it is not everyday you get a lift home from a 1960s icon. She talked about equal pay or the lack of it and that women in the early Bond films were sold short. No surprise there.