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Director: Martin Campbell
Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Judi Dench, Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini
Duration: 144 minutes

The 21st installment in the James Bond franchise, Casino Royale, was a remake of the classic Bond film. This time around, Daniel Craig was introduced to Bond fans as the new James Bond, a casting that drew a lot of criticism but also one that made sense considering the new direction the franchise was taking. Unfortunately, this new direction was coupled with a film that somewhat failed to deliver.

In the opening sequences, we find out how Bond becomes a "00" after taking out two men. Next, the film switches to the film's villain Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) who is taking money from freedom fighters. Afterwards, we are switched to Madagascar and Bond is tracking down a terrorist to retrieve information. This results in a chase that turns out disastrous for Bond as his target is killed and a foreign embassy is partially blown up. While he did get the information needed, the mean to those ends does not endear him to MI6's leader M (Judi Dench).

From this point Bond works to discover the plot of the terrorists and works to stop their plot. We won't spoil what happens for those that have not seen the film but we will tell you that a good portion of the film revolves around a high stakes no-limit Texas Holdem poker game which winds up providing one of the most ridiculous poker scenes since the end of The Cincinnati Kid.

The big downside to this Bond flick is that there is a lot going on with this plot and the constant intertwining of plots and subplots actually are a bit more confusing than they really need to be. In addition, the poker scenes in the movie and their buildup appears to be a bit more forced than they need to be. Also, in this film Bond seems to be a Zordon turned secret agent. Zordon is a character from kids show Power Rangers that seems to have extrasensory knowledge about the villains even before evidence to their identity is revealed.

While many have praised Casino Royale as being an adequate remake of the original, the reality is that it is a somewhat poorly executed reboot for a character that really didn't need to be rebooted. Fortunately, the subsequent Bond films have moved Craig's character into more of what we expect from Bond. As we have seen with the phenomenal success of Skyfall, audiences like their formulaic flicks.


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