Monday, February 11, 2013

From Russia With Love (1963)

Connery-Lazenby James Bond Movie #2

Synopsis: Without a bullshit detector, 007 plays protector to defector delivering LEKTOR to Western sector. Oh, look out – there’s SPECTRE!

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Sean Connery returns as James Bond in this thrill-a-minute adventure with blistering action, romance and high-tech gadgetry. Boasting remarkable villains and exotic locales, it’s a pulse-pounding experience that many fans consider to be the greatest Bond film of all.”

What Did I Learn?: Only a sociopathic  lunatic would even think of ordering red Chianti with grilled sole.

You Might Like This Movie If: You grew up watching this TV show...

Really?: I have to wonder why anyone would work for SPECTRE, knowing you’re one fuckup away from getting iced. 2) Similar to #1 – SPECTRE has training sessions that end in death? And what’s the point of having ordering one of their goons into wearing a Bond mask? 3) Why in the world would Bond holster his pistol when confronting Red Grant? 4) Hmm...I had a bit of trouble believing one guy, armed with a one-shot folding rifle could take out a helicopter filled with grenades.

Rating: From Russia With Love is a much better movie than Dr. No, and I consider it to be the best in the Bond franchise. The plot is actually somewhat plausible (there are no insane billionaires looking to blow up the world) and it feels like a genuine spy thriller; the to-the-death fistfight between Grant and Bond, for instance, is still edge-of-your-seat excitement. Lotte Lenya and Robert Shaw are terrific villains, while Karim Bey (Pedro Armendariz) and our hero strike up a surprisingly three-dimensional friendship for a Bond picture – you can’t help yourself from missing the former when he eventually meets his end. That said, From Russia With Love has its share of 1960s cheese (SPECTRE Island?), which occasionally distracts from the plot.  9/10 stars.

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