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285 out of 515 people found the following review useful:
"Bordello Royale", 19 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you consider yourself a James Bond fan and yet enjoyed this film, there is a problem.

Just like everyone else, when I first saw that Daniel Craig was to replace Pierce Brosnan in the role, I was a bit confused. His ice cold looks seemed to be quite a stretch from the image we have of James Bond. Maybe "they" know some things I don't about 007, maybe I've been missing something about the character. Plus,the hype around the production was excellent,the rumor was that the filmmakers have decided to be more daring in many aspects. Nothing wrong with that, as a long as you know what you're doing.

But at the very first frame of the film,my original skepticism re-emerged:

The opening scene happens in a sombre black and white cold war setting in which Bond makes no spectacular entrance, chatting with his enemy and finishing the mission with his fists inside a...dirty public restroom. Then Bond spins around, aiming his gun at the camera, taking the classic pose. Right then, I couldn't help myself but noticing the restroom tiles in the background(!) and this blond muscular hunk in the center of the screen suggesting: " I am your NEW James Bond!". "Not yet,gentlemen" did I think.

Still, let's give them a second chance, here comes the long-awaited opening credits. A beautiful animation of paisley patterns and stylized men fighting in slow-motion,turning into flying hearts,spades,clubs and diamonds at each blow. But something is missing: where are the gorgeous nude feminine silhouettes? Where are the girls? Gone !!! Why???!!! At this point, I feared the worst: did the producers decide purposely to get rid of everything we actually loved about James Bond?!

But here comes hope:James Bond chases a man through a building site,climbing on cranes, jumping and falling hard. Great, this might not be a real James Bond flick, but at least, we're in for some good entertainment. Right?

Wrong: The rest of the film is nothing but a long (two and a half hours long!)demonstration on how to annihilate a movie landmark character.

No Monneypenny,no "Q",no "R", and every time "M" (Judi Drench) appears on the screen, the ONLY thing she ever does is begging Bond to stop doing what he's doing and come back to his senses. Yet,all I could hear from her was: "What have you done to James Bond? Who are you, blond man?! Why don't you ever smile? Why don't you ever say anything witty? How come the only gadget you use is a cell phone? How dare you wreck THE 1964 Aston Martin in only 3 minutes? How could you fall in love with such a boring girl? What do you want from us? Bring us back England's most precious hero!"

The other characters barely exist: The villain, named Le Chiffre, is a card player who's task is to finance terrorism by playing poker. Does he cheat ? no. Why? He might be a villain, but will not take his cruelty as far as... cheating! We know he's the villain since his left eye bleeds once in a while and he acts like everything is fine. Who knows,maybe someday,we'll get to see a villain who plays Monopoly with a runny nose. So scary.

Then I thought: "I get it! His damaged eye is in fact a technological wonder that allows him to see the other player's cards thanks to the mysterious blond girl, in the background, who's eye is a camera placed surgically inside her head and feeds Le Chiffre with her own vision! Great!". Was I right ? Of course not, that would be something you'd see in a James Bond film...

But here comes the most sacrilegious scene EVER to come out of a James Bond film:

James Bond (let's keep using this name, for the lack of a better one) is taken prisoner and dragged in a basement, he is entirely stripped from his clothes and attached on a chair without a seat, letting 007's "genitals" dangling from underneath (Yes,you heard right). Le Chiffre proceeds to swing a large heavy rope and hits her majesty's favorite secret agent's nuts over and over. Bond screams in pain but does not reveal the bank account number. What a man. Does he escape? Does he fight back in the most ingenious manner and eliminates his torturer? No, he passes out and wakes up in a hospital.

The torture may have stopped for Bond, but increases for me: Bond finds comfort in the arms of his girlfriend Vesper (yes, girlfriend) who tells him, to rebuild his pride, that even if the only thing left from him was his little finger, she would still love him. To which, the emasculated James Bond replies (watch out, humor coming your way): "That's because you know what I can do with my little finger." Can we please stop talking about mister Bond smashed testicles and go on with this never-ending-going-nowhere-story?! And don't we know that if Bond was ever blown to smithereens, the only thing left from him should precisely be his genitals?

There were other problems with the film of course,such as the boring story, and the fact that the casino (which seemed to be the perfect setting for a James Bond film) turned out to be so poorly exploited.

Giving this film one star might not be fair (do you ever read a review unless it has a 1 or a 10 star rating?),but the main problem goes beyond the bad choices added by the filmmakers throughout the film. The problem is that the film was made with the wrong "spirit" and doesn't take in consideration that, unlike other movies, James Bond belongs more to the public than to its makers, and that this rare fact deserves to be honored.

Don't mess with MY James Bond.