In Skyfall, the twenty-third James Bond film, the action starts with Bond, and an unnamed female agent, midway through an assignment which goes tits up when a hard drive is removed from a laptop (that they were supposed to be protecting) and stolen.
Bond and the agent go after the culprit and give chase over the roof tops of a medieval town and end up on the top of a train. Bond manages to get to the thief but when they are fighting on top of the train for the hard drive M gives the female agent the order to shoot despite the risk to Bond. The agent fires, misses the thief and hits Bond sending him plunging into the ocean below. That was the just the pre-titles sequence!
The pace doesn’t let up for the rest of the film as the action moves to Shanghai to Scotland via Macau and London as they try to work out who had gone to all that trouble to steal a hard drive from the secret service, and what they might do with the information on it, and why they did it in the first place.
This film is, to me, the best and the most action packed and thrilling entry in the Bond canon starring Daniel Craig. It has all of the elements typical to Bond, exotic locations, beautiful women, slightly strange antagonists, lots of chase sequences, and not just your common or garden car chase sequences either. The pre-titles one is pretty impressive, but the one through the London underground in the middle of the film is just as impressive.
The plot was a bit more interesting that then usual plot to hold the world to ransom that is often the modus operandi of the usual Bond villain and was a bit more personal for the villain and for M herself. In that respect the film is a little bit like License to Kill on that score, which I like, as that is one of my favourite Bond films.
The villain here was quite different on that score as well, and was also one of the nastiest that Bond has ever faced with a virtually unrecognisable Javier Bardem giving a bravura performance as the unhinged former agent Raoul Silva.
The character of Séverine was a typical Ian Fleming style Bond girl who was a bit a broken soul, and who very quickly fell for the charms of Bond, not that it did her much good in the end.
The other main female character in the film was much interesting, especially when you realise who she is right at the end of the film!
Judi Dench was excellent as usual as M, taking no shit from Bond other agents, or even busybody MP’s either, but also showing a great deal of vulnerability also.
I am not sure that there is much that you can say against Skyfall. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next Bond film and, just hope, that it can be at least as good as this one was as the bar has been set pretty high here.