Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
“007 reporting for duty,” says secret agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) to his boss, M (Judi Dench), after laying low for a few months and playing dead following a mission that went bad in the action film, Skyfall.
After failing to retrieve a stolen computer disc containing a list of British secret agents and almost getting killed in the process, 007 has been brooding and laying low feeling betrayed by M who ordered his assistant, Eve (Naomie Harris), to “Take the shot” which was meant for the thief and ended up hitting Bond. A few months later while M is under scrutiny from the British government for losing the list and being encouraged to take early retirement, M1-6 headquarters is rocked by a devastating explosion. Seconds after witnessing the attack, M receives an anonymous message on her computer saying, “Think on your sins.”
Once 007 learns of the attack, he returns to Her Majesty’s Secret Service to pass both the physical and mental tests necessary to be returned to duty and required if he’s to go after the terrorist who has obtained the list and is threating to expose all the agents on it. Bond’s search leads him to a man from M’s past named Silva (Javier Bardem) who seems to have a personnel vendetta to settle with her.
Action-packed and thrilling, Skyfall is the first Bond film starring Daniel Craig to finally start to get back to the classic 007 formula that made the Bond movie series the great, entertaining franchise it has been. Finally there are a few gadgets, the classic Aston Martin car, and a master villain who always seems to be a few steps ahead of Bond.
Javier Bardem gives an over-the top but highly entertaining performance as Silva the terrorist who has a real ax to grind with M and fancies himself Bond’s equal. It’s reminiscent of a few of the villains in past 007 films. Dame Judi Dench gives another strong performance as M, Bond’s boss who knows just how invaluable he is to King and Country and has no doubt he’s the only agent who can find Silva and bring him to justice.
Daniel Craig seems to finally have made the role of Bond his own, portraying him as a cold, ruthless, determined killer who doesn’t hesitate to do what’s necessary to finish the job. The one element still missing, however, in his performance is the charm and grace that actors Sean Connery (the best Bond of all), Roger Moore, and Pierce Brosnan brought to the spy role. Craig is still playing the character too roughed up and needs to add a little panache to the role. Here’s hoping in his fourth adventure as Bond he nails it.
Directed by Sam Mendes, the opening action sequence with Bond chasing the thief through the streets and fighting with him on top of a train is both riveting and breathtaking. Unfortunately, some of the action scenes in the second half of the film – including the final shoot out – are far too similar to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films, in particular Batman Begins.
Still, with an interesting story, a memorable villain, and some beautiful locations, Skyfall is a fun, worthy addition to the Bond franchise that will have 007 fans eagerly anticipating the next installment and satisfying their hunger for more Bond adventures by watching some of the older and better classic Bond films such as Goldfinger and From Russia with Love.
Skyfall hits theaters on November 9, 2012 and is rated PG-13 for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking.