This latest film in the Bond franchise is an adrenaline-filled ride from start to finish. In this latest episode, Bond (Daniel Craig) is fighting a bad guy on top of a moving railroad car that is headed for a tunnel. The last thing he hears in his earpiece is M telling another operative to "take the shot." Bond falls off into to a large body of water in a lengthy slow motion shot.
M, poignantly played by the incomparable Judi Dench, is encouraged to retire and the agency is quite publicly embarrassed.
The bad guy, a megalomaniac called Silva (Javier Bardem), is a brilliant computer whiz. He has obtained the secret identities of all MI6 operatives around the world and he is publicizing 5 of their names each week. They are tortured and killed as their identities become known. He sends cryptic messages to M to think on her past sins.
Chase scenes involving motorcycles, trains, cars, helicopters - even a Caterpillar tractor on a moving train - and explosions galore lead us on the merry chase to exotic locales such as Istanbul and Shanghai and Macau. We are not entirely sure how on earth Bond, who manages to survive his watery "death," is going to get out of this one.
Along the way, we find out more of Bond's fascinating and tragic personal history than we have ever known before, and we see his bond to M. His childhood home is completely demolished during a dramatic explosion and gunfire-filled battle scene leading to the apex of the movie. We also meet a young Miss Moneypenny.
If you haven't seen a 007 movie in a while, this is the time to return to the franchise. At 143 minutes running time, this movie goes by in an adrenaline-filled flash. Director Sam Mendes delivers less focus on the babes (but Bond manages to work some loving in here and there) and more on drama and action, action, action. This is an excellent movie with amazing, seamless performances throughout. It's particularly good to see a role Dench can really sink her teeth into.