Bond then goes into a battery of physical and psychological tests, but it’s obvious, as Mallory says, that he’s “missed a step”-he’s out of breath, his hands shake and he misses the targeting on the shooting range, he’s a bit evasive on questions. However, he’s able to extract the bullet fragment from his shoulder (The one that Patrice shot, not the other one) and use it to track the hard-drive stealing henchman down. M clears him, not because he passed any test, but perhaps because she has a little too much faith in him.
Before Bond sets off in his new mission, he meets the new Q at a museum. Here, we get an interesting parallel as they look at an old painting about Bond perhaps being irrelevant in the new age, a theme that not only is repeated in this film many times, but carries over to Spectre as well.
Q: It always makes me feel a little melancholy. Grand old war ship, being ignominiously hauled away to scrap… The inevitability of time, don’t you think? What do you see?
James Bond: A bloody big ship.
Here, we have Q reinterpreted as kind of a whizkid, instead of the wise old inventor of the original films who didn’t always have time for Bond’s jokes and escapades. He provides Bond with some simple gadgets-a signature gun (similar in technology to the License to Kill gun, but a simple pistol instead of the complicated camera/rifle in that film) and a radio tracker similar to the device used in Goldfinger.
Bond finds Patrice in Shanghai, and following him, the two get into an interesting, well-shot fight where the two are silhouetted against a display showing jellyfish. Unfortunately, the fight ends with Patrice falling to his death, but Bond has two clues-a woman in the next building, who helped Patrice set up a kill, and a gambling chip, which brings him to Macau. At least Bond actually gets to fight a henchman (Twice!) this time, after the absolute failure of “Elvis” in the last film.
Here Bond starts to get rid of the beard scruff, becoming a bit more like his old self. Eve stops by to help out, but actually rebuffs his advances a bit, although there’s still a lot of magnetism and chemistry here.
Back in the tux, Bond then goes to the interesting “Floating dragon” casino, where he meets Severine. Bond entering the Casino via boat is one of the best shots of the film in my opinion, showing Bond starting to really return to his prime. Great visuals and location, too.
Although employed by Silva, she’s desperate to escape him, by having Bond kill him. This is also the scene where Bond of course gets his vodka martini, and says his name catchphrase (Which was totally absent from Quantum of Solace).
We then get a fun scene where Bond gets into a fight with some henchmen in a Komodo dragon pit. Bond’s escape here-jumping on the head of the dragons-is a nod of sorts to “Live and Let Die”, in which Bond escaped a similar situation, but with Alligators in Louisiana. Unlike “Die Another Day”, the CG for the Komodos here isn’t too bad (perhaps because they’re mostly in a dark area-a good way to hide FX flaws-as opposed to the daylight of that film’s CGI surfing).
Bond then sneaks onboard Severine’s ship, with a brief romantic interlude…but now it’s time to meet the villains.
Meanwhile, back at MI6, things aren’t too rosy as the hard drive’s details begin to leak (On youtube no less!), compromising several undercover agents and getting them killed, and getting M and Mallory in more trouble with the ministry of defense. M however continues to defend her gut feeling:
You don’t get this, do you? Whoever’s behind this, whoever’s doing this, he knows us! He’s one of us! He comes from the same place as Bond, a place you say doesn’t exist: the shadows!
Next: Enter Silva.