Daniel Craig, AKA Bond -- James Bond, has gotten himself into another fine mess in "Skyfall," the latest installment in the action-packed Agent 007 saga.
The action, directed by Sam Mendes, literally starts from the door, with 007, in search of a vitally important computer hard drive, entering a room littered with dead bodies. "The hard drive is gone," says his accomplice, and the search turns into an all-out chase as Bond and "Eve," a female field agent (Naomie Harris) with some serious driving skills, pursue the perp through the streets and across the countryside. As Bond abandons his car and takes out after the guy on foot, the two end up in hand-to-hand combat on top of a moving train with Eve in hot pursuit and in constant contact with "M," their MI6 boss. (Judi Dench).
Eventually Eve catches up with Bond and the perp, now identified as Silva (Javier Bardem), as they are wrestling and tells "M" that she may have a shot, but definitely not a "clean" one. "Take the shot," M says. "But it's not a clean shot!" Eve protests. "Take the bloody shot!" "M" commands, and Eve aims and fires. After a tense moment of silence in the control room, Eve says, "Agent down."
Yes, it sounds bad, but remember, this is 007 we're talking about. Bond manages to survive the incident, and when he is reunited with M, he tells his boss that she has some 'splainin' to do. As it turns out, M is the one who screwed up this time, having lost a hard drive that contains some dangerous information. However, it is up to Bond to track down and destroy the threat, even at his own peril. When he encounters Eve, she apologizes for putting a bullet in him and leaving him for dead, but Bond understands that she was just following orders.
In true Bond fashion, the screenplay, written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan, puts 007 in some impossible situations, and while Sean Connery, the original Bond, had his own particular brand of swagger, roughneck Daniel Craig uses his linebacker mentality and a minimum amount of gadgetry to get the job done. Even though he's a bit beat up after coming "back from the dead," 007 is not afraid to get knocked out, shot, sliced and diced, actually challenging the crazy and deranged Silva to "bring it!" He's a Bond for a new generation.
Reprising the role of M, which she has played since 1995’s ‘Golden Eye,’ the elegant Dame Judi Dench, an Academy Award winner, usually maintains a certain decorum, but all bets are off in "Skyfall," as she is literally running for her life. Not only does M get in on the action, she actually gets to deliver a few one-line zingers.
Naomie Harris is cool and competent as Eve, a tough chick who can handle herself as well as a revolver, and they made it clear at the end of "Skyfall" that her role will be expanded in upcoming installments of the series.
With the casting of the rough and tumble Daniel Craig as 007, the James Bond franchise has gone from models and martinis to a minefield of murder and mayhem, and "Skyfall," open in theaters today, will provide plenty of both. (Rated: PG-13)