Film Franchise Fridays: FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

By Darin Skaggs

And so continues my look at the James Bond series. Thankfully this one is extremely better than Dr. No. There was something missing from that one and this one finds what is was missing. Maybe a better pace and some better action scenes. This makes me excited for more, especially since Goldfinger is considered one of the best if not the best. Bond is way cooler in this film. Even the girl, the bad guy and the sidekick are so many times better than before. There are some ridiculous moments here and there but it doesn’t affect it too negatively.

How Cool Is Bond?

  • When we first see Bond, which is about twenty minutes into the film, he is just lying in a row boat that is on land and making out with some random chick. Normally this would be in the uncool section, but it really is kind of cool that is how we first see him so far into the film.
  • Several scenes of Bond changing his weapons into something else. He turns his pistol into a rifle. Not too bad. Later in the film he shoots down a helicopter with his pistol and later blows up a batch of boats with some gasoline. He is on a roll in this one!
  • There is such a good fight in a train cabin with the main bad guy, Red. It is tense, cool and looks pretty good. Sometimes fight scenes in older movies just look terrible and boring. This one is very good.

How Uncool Is Bond?

  • While with his buddy, Ali Kerim Bey, they are spying on a meeting full of bad guys and then both of them get distracted by a woman. Ali even asks “What you think of her?” It is pretty awkward. Hey, later in the film two gypsies have a cat fight, I think for Bond, but I’m not sure. Bond does say he will “test” both of them out.
  • The only other thing that is not cool about Bond in this film is his lame line right before he blows up all the boats that are chasing him. He proclaims to the girl “Where there is smoke, is a fire.” Not really cool or intimidating. More just stupid. It’s fine though, he is really cool in this film.

Bond Girl/Sidekicks

  • Tatiana Romanova: This is a top notch Bond girl name. Pretty ridiculous. Tatiana is a great first name and they go for it with a crazy, but not too crazy last name. Don’t see an innuendo which gives it more points frankly. It is fun, kind of stupid and awesome. My rating for Tatiana Romanova’s name: A
  • Ok so the character of Tatiana is also very good. She is on SPECTRE’s side, but she is told it is for her country, Russia. She is kind of playing dumb and mostly only seen as an object until she has to make a decision to help or hurt Bond and then she becomes an actual character.
  • Ali is the sidekick. He is okay, definitely a misogynist, but still he is goofy and funny. He does die fairly quickly just like Quarrel in the last film, but Ali is more of a character.

The Villain

  • Okay so the big villain is the SPECTRE organization and the main bad guy is Red. He is pursuing Bond in the first scene. Then strangles him. It is then revealed that SPECTRE is training and testing Red to assassinate Bond by dressing random people as Bond which includes a mask that looks just like Sean Connery and timing Red on how long he takes to take down fake Bond. There are all types of confusing in this part. Who are the volunteers basically sacrificing themselves to help get Bond? Why did they have to make a very convincing Bond mask? How many masks do they own? So confusing.
  • The bad guys just go a bit too far in this one. They reveal late into the film that they have created a shoe with a knife in it which always looks uncomfortable to use, but what really matters is the knife is coated with very effective poison.
  • Robert Shaw plays Red. He is very good. He plays him cold, calm and genuinely terrifying. He barely says anything which always makes someone more intimidating. He is a good match for Bond and is part of a solid fight scene.
  • There is a mystery bad guy who is sending people to kill Bond. All we see of him is his hand petting his cat. That is how you know he is the bad guy, because he has a cat. I am a sucker for villains whose face we don’t see. It is never revealed who he is or what he looks like. I assume we will find out later.

Conclusion

                Oh my gosh! I did not know if I would like any of these films, but this one is up there. I know some are just ridiculous and others are not good at all, but it may be worth it if a good part of these are similar to this one. Goldfinger is next and I cannot wait. After that I do not know the reputation, but honestly after this one I am pretty excited.

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