From Russia with Love (1963) – 4/5

Slow first half gives way to a pretty good rest once things start kicking into gear and people start dying/things start exploding. The plot is also more complex than what I’d been getting used to from Bond films. Much more complex, actually, almost too much so at times, hence the slow first half. I didn’t quite understand it all, frankly. The film does pick up eventually though, managing to deliver quite the one two punch by the end.

Not much happens in the first half other than a whole lot of talking, which I normally don’t mind but it really slows down the film here, especially considering how tense and action driven the second half turns out to be. It’s too much setup, I think. They should have maybe spread out the action a bit more, given the film a few scenes of early tension here and there rather than waiting until all the characters **SPOILERS** are on the train **END SPOILERS** before upping the ante. Once they are, though, things take on this eerie, almost sinister quality to them, with some confrontations, especially the ones between Bond and **SPOILERS** the blond villain guy who looks suspiciously like Daniel Craig **END SPOILERS** being downright disturbing at times. The villains here too seem so heartless and evil. The stuff they do to one another in the name of power, man.

Overall, not a bad film. Not the best Bond, naturally, and not wholly enjoyable, but decent enough. The plot is too complicated for its own good at times, and the first half is, as I’ve said several times now, slow, but it makes up for it with a thrilling, violent second half. Nothing great, but nothing terrible. Watch if you don’t mind a slower Bond than what you’re probably used to.

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