Bond returns for his second outing and SPECTRE returns to seek their revenge on Bond for killing Dr. No.
After what happened in Jamaica, SPECTRE start to train agents to kill Bond, the assigned agent is Donald ‘Red’ Grant. Along with that they trick Russian loyalist, Tatiana Romanova, into believing that she must lure Bond for Russia instead of actually SPECTRE. They attracted Bond to steal a lektor machine from the soviets to create tension between the British and the Soviets.
Dr No was a huge success with Bond’s suave personality and attention to the ladies. From Russia With Love still had that but it slowly evolves into the Bond that we know and love. This film focuses on gadgets and SPECTRE finally focusing on Bond as their greatest threat. This also marks the debut Desmond Llewelyn as Q, who played the role for 36 years.
From Russia With Love, still shows a quite primitive Bond, it is as if the bike is just about to take it’s stabilisers off and finally ride free but still held back by still a small budget and the action being quite muted. This is a fan and critic favourite but for me parts of the film were quite dull. There was quite a lot of dialogue and very slow pacing. For a two hour film at parts I did start to lose interest.
However, this film builds on the character of James Bond, the cars, women, gadgets and Blofeld, all staples of the franchise. If Dr No interested audiences and producers, From Russia With Love committed them to a franchise. From Russia With Love is full of tense scenes especially on the train, the fight between Grant and Bond is a marvel to watch. Every punch and hold is met with a tense soundtrack and the constant running of the train. The tense scenes, car chases and international espionage, this is probably the best spy film in the series.
However, Bond is more than that, the spy elements can be a limitation. Bond should be full of action and be fun. It had its moments but the long and slow scenes full of dialogue can be tiresome. If this film would of been 15 or 20 minutes shorter then I would rate this film more highly. Still enjoyable because it had the elements that make you love Bond but it just needed more action to help the already slow pace.
Rating – ★★★