Casino Royale DVD Review

DVD Features Daniel Craig as Bond, James Bond

Ivana Milicevik as Valenka in Casino Royale
Ivana Milicevik as Valenka in Casino Royale

While Daniel Craig is certainly capable as 007, he won’t be making anybody forget about Sean Connery anytime soon. Buff, brutal, but not nearly as charming, this incarnation of the super sleuth is likely to be better remembered for his rough-and-tumble action sequences than for that trademark gadgetry or for generating chemistry as a globetrotting ladies man.

Gone are Bond’s bevy of disposable beauties, as are his off-color double entendres. Equally-conspicuous in their absence are such familiar staples as Miss Moneypenny and Q, with just an underutilized M (Judi Dench) returning from among 007’s signature supporting cast. And forget about state-of-the-art special effects, as this picture opts for a gritty realism over spectacular stunt work.

Daniel Craig working out a scene for Casino Royale
Daniel Craig working out a scene for Casino Royale

Essentially, what we have here is a production which all but renders the carefully-cultivated James Bond franchise unrecognizable. Obviously, some studio execs decided the image was in need of an overhaul. Even the storyline is only loosely based on its source material, as Casino Royale has been updated to reflect post-Cold War concerns.

Bond’s assignment, here, is to bring down a nomadic nogoodnik (Mads Mikkelson) who has been bankrolling an international terrorist network. The plan is for 007, accompanied by chaperone-turning-love interest Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), to track down the diabolical villain in a casino in Montenegro. Once there, the idea is to bankrupt the compulsive gambler by besting him in a winner-take-all poker game with a $10,000,000 entrance fee.

Unfortunately, neither cat-and-mouse badinage nor breathtaking locales around Venice, Prague and The Bahamas make up for a two and a half hour disappointment which drags noticeably simply by never delivering tried-and-true elements we’ve come to expect of this storied franchise. Passable as a generic action flick, but an exercise in frustration for any purist expecting a familiar 007 spectacular.

Good (2 stars)

Rated PG-13 for nudity, sexuality, torture, and intense violence.

Running time: 144 minutes

Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

DVD Extras: a Chris Cornell music video, and three featurettes, “Bond Girls Are Forever,” “Becoming Bond,” and “James Bond: For Real.”

Kam Williams
Kam Williams is a popular and top NewsBlaze reviewer, our chief critic. Kam gives his unvarnished opinion on movies, DVDs and books, plus many in-depth and revealing celebrity interviews.Sadly, Lloyd Kam Williams passed away in 2019, leaving behind a huge body of work focused on America's black entertainment community. We were as sad to hear of his passing as we were overjoyed to have him as part of our team.