Silent J’s review:
Continuing my journey to see every single 007 film before the release of Skyfall, I just got finished watching the second Bond film, From Russia With Love.
It is a direct sequel to Dr. No. With most films in the franchise being standalone, I think this and Quantum of Solace (a direct sequel to Casino Royale) are the only Bond films to make such a feat. Anyway, in comparison to Dr. No, this is a huge step up from it's predecessor.
Sean Connery returns to the role that made him an icon. Hell, the whole reason the character of James Bond is such an icon is because of Connery. He again brings that charm and self confidence from the last film. Granted, the performance in this film isn't as strong as in Dr. No in my opinion. It did'nt detract from my enjoyment of the film and he still gives a fantastic performance, but some one-liners fall a bit flat and lack the perfect timing he had in the last film. Still, like I said, he is still fantastic and he does a great job showing all sides of Bond's personality.
The Bond Girl in this film is played by Daniela Bianchi. She looks stunning in this film and her performance is pretty good too. I think a little more could have been done to her character to make her more interesting and complex, but it's a small complaint. Robert Shaw makes a terrific villain and stands out the most in the cast. He plays the role in a way that's calm and calculated. He seems like a genuine threat to Bond and when he feels like he's always one step ahead of Bond, even you believe he is. Lotte Leyna does a great job as well as the villain. She comes off to be just as ruthless and vicious as Shaw.
The film itself is very well made. A lot of it is reminiscent of a Hitchcock film. There's even a scene where Bond is chased by a helicopter which clearly echoes the famous airplane scene in North by Northwest. The suspense is very well paced and the action is both intense and exciting. The story is very good and manages to expand what was in Dr. No in a tighter way.
All in all, I really enjoyed this film. Loved it even. Kept me on the edge of my seat. I was interested throughout the film to see what happens next and entertained enough to want more.