SKYFALL (2012)

Director: Sam Mendes

Writers: Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and John Logan
(Based on the character of Ian Fleming)

Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Ola Rapace, Albert Finney, Ben Wishaw...

Running time: 143 minutes

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): PG-13 for violence, language, sexuality, and smoking.

Genres: Action/Adventure/Thriller

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

I'm a casual fan, not a fanatic, of James Bond films. I've never read the Ian Fleming books and never intend to. I like Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, and Daniel Craig as Bond, pretty much in that order although I can't say I've liked all of their Bond films. When it comes to the others? I'll take Roger Moore over Pierce Brosnan any day and I don't really count George Lazenby's Bond performance because I've only seen the movie once and can't remember a single scene from it.

It's probably not much of a spoiler to say that Bond appears to die in the opening pre-credit scene. It wouldn't be much of a movie if that were true. Unless the film were a retrospective or documentary like the film Ghandi which starts with the man's death and then goes back in time to tell the story of his life. But that wouldn't be a Bond film then would it?

Before his apparent demise, Bond was tasked to recover a stolen list of secret agents — British secret agents. Someone stole the list, Bond didn't get it back, and well, the consequences are deadly.

MI6 is in turmoil. The British government is looking for a scapegoat.

Meet Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes). He is the government overseer trying to ease M (Judi Dench) and Bond into retirement so that MI6 can get on with the business of modern spying sans the car chases, gun battles, and rough stuff. That's the old way. The new way is kinder, gentler, with a more technical approach. Computers not fists, if you will. Even the new quartermaster (Ben Whishaw) eschews the gadgets we've come to associate with his branch. Sadly, no exploding pens or ejecting passenger seats. But there are still beautiful women, daring chase sequences, and a cunning new villain. Silva (Javier Bardem), the villain, is so warped, he almost steals the show.

I enjoyed SKYFALL more than I expected to and might have to reconsider Daniel Craig's ranking on my list of favorite actors portraying Bond. He might have to move up a notch into second place.

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