Some heroes are so popular that film makers revisit and update them for new audiences. Several actors have been cast or miscast as the martini-swilling 007. Yesterday, this column reviewed “Skyfall,” the third “James Bond” film starring Daniel Craig. His first time playing agent 007 was in “Casino Royale,” which came out in 2006. This movie is based on the first story in the franchise, which was written by Ian Fleming, author of the popular spy series.
“Casino Royale” opens with young James killing two traitors, which gets him promoted to coveted 00 status. On his first mission as 007, he must stop Le Chiffre (played by Mads Mikkelsen), a ruthless banker to terrorists. Le Chiffre is set to compete in a poker game. Since 007 is a skilled poker player, he is put in the game. He cannot let Le Chiffre win because if he does, he will be recovering money for his clients. Helping James are Vesper Lynd (played by Eva Green), an attractive treasury agent, and Felix Leiter (played by Jeffrey Wright), who works for the CIA.
“Casino Royale” features a cast appropriate for a 21st century interpretation of Bond and his circle. Daniel Craig ranks among the best actors who have played 007. He is tough, yet he is more vulnerable than some of the other Bond actors. A more independent Bond girl, Eva Green is also strong as Vesper, who falls for him. Mads Mikkelsen is a great villain. Judi Dench is inspired casting as James’s boss, M, who often gets mad at him for causing lots of destruction.
The film features many great action scenes. One of the best is a chase through a construction site early in the film. This scene has a lot of energy.
Like “Skyfall,” “Casino Royale” ranks among the best of the Bond films.