“Spectre” marks the 24th film in the James Bond franchise, and it might possibly be the last for Daniel Craig.
If that is true, he goes out in spectacular fashion and while this film doesn’t reach the near-perfect heights of “Skyfall,” it still remains an enjoyable effort most of the time.
Craig returns as 007, this time on a mission to Mexico to assassinate two men during the middle of the Day of the Dead festival. The opening sequence is exhilarating with a helicopter stunt that truly wows. Most of the action in “Spectre” does not disappoint.
Bond’s assignment involves an encounter with a deadly organization called Spectre that is determined to cause (what else?) global domination and destruction. Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz plays Franz Oberhauser, Spectre’s diabolical leader.
Bond eventually teams with an old friend’s daughter (Lea Seydoux) in order to bring them down. Seydoux proves she’s one of the few Bond girls who combines brains, brawn and beauty. And she has nice chemistry with Craig, including a hilarious and romantic moment on a train.
The rest of the movie is typical Bond fare. We get the standard action sequences and fight scenes that match the gritty, realistic tone. Former WWE wrestler Dave Bautista stars as Mr. Hinx, Spectre’s top assassin, and together, he and Bond have a chase scene that rivals anything in the “Fast and Furious” movies. And they have a brutal fight on that train.
“Spectre” definitely will appeal to longtime Bond fans with numerous references to other films in the series, while still trying to be a standalone effort. Craig’s charm is only matched by his intensity. Waltz was simply born to play a Bond villain. Period. End of story.
At times, the story does get kind of jumbled and meanders a bit. And every once in a while, the running time makes it feel more jumbled. However, director Sam Mendes does manage to squeeze in some action and self-conscious humor to keep it afloat.
If this is indeed Craig’s swan song as Bond, he ranks right up there with Sean Connery and even Pierce Brosnan in making this role his own. His last scene in the movie is emblematic of how the franchise is returning to its roots and then some. “I think you’re only getting started,” says Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) at one point. I’d like to think that too concerning Craig. Only time will tell.
(Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language.)
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.