(From Blurred Productions)
Film #2 follows almost directly after the end of Dr. No. From Russia with Love builds on the existence of SPECTRE and takes place in the heart of the Cold War.
Bond Actor: Sean Connery (Age:33)
Martini Count: 1
Women Slept With: 4
Villain’s Evil Scheme: To pit the Soviets against the British in a ploy to kill Bond and gain a valuable Soviet encoding machine
From Russia is probably going to be the most basic Bond film you could think of. The gadjets are limited to the hidden knives in a suitcase and a periscope hidden in the foundation of the Soviet embassy. The plot has only the barest threat to World Stability and concerns itself almost entirely with James Bond’s life instead. This is also probably one of the strongest Bond films in the series. There’s none of the camp and none of the need to follow a long list of “traditional” bond tropes that built up over time. Bond is as clever as he was in Dr. No, and just as capable in a fight, but here we see an organization that is just as good, and willing to do whatever is needed to take down Bond and further their own devious agenda.
The SPECTRE plot to kill Bond may not at first seem to be all that frightening. While a Soviet encoding device might make some difference in the Cold War, it would hardly be the game changer for years to come. What is disturbing is the ruthless efficiency that SPECTRE is able to use to achieve their goals with no one knowing of their existance. SPECTRE’s assassin (played by Robert Shaw) is able to kill three Russian and one British agent, instigate two bombings and the assassination of a whole slew of other British and Russian agents before Bond even knows he exists. SPECTRE manages to secretly convince the head of Soviet Counterintelligence to defect, and then is still able to use her to manipulate an inextricably beautiful low level intelligence clerk into sleeping with Bond. From Russia puts for a shadow organization with vast power and deadly efficiency that opperates entirely outside the knowledge of eastern and western intelligence.
In the end though, Bond wins out like always. Assassins are dealt with either using brute force or clever tricks, things are blown up, people are shot, Bond’s sex tape (!) is destroyed, and the encryption technology is placed in the hands of British intelligence. The Bond girl, despite being the only one I can think of that reacts somewhat realistically when Bond smacks her around, becomes just as fawning and devoted to him as every other Bond girl. As a bonus, you get a first look at Q, and the beginnings of Bond as a man who must see at least 3 different exotic locales per day, or he pops like a bottle of Bollinger.
Bond Rating: SPECTRE out of SPECTRE