Continued from Part One…
Bond’s screw-up at the embassy goes unpunished, an unpleasant reminder of how Rich White Countries get to crap on Poor Black Countries and get away with it. Bond also breaks into M’s house and steals her password with no repercussions. At this point, there’s not enough plot to have holes, but once he heads off to Bermuda on his own—curious given his major mishandling of his first mission—the weirdness and coincidences begin to pile up.
- Crashing a car in the parking lot and setting off car alarms is enough to empty a resort of its security staff allowing Bond to view security discs (Sony discs and players, natch…the film ain’t shy about product placement). He’s able to match the security tape to the timing of a text message on the cell phone. Convenient that the text was made at EXACTLY the time the bad guy, Dimitrios, was leaving his car.
- The check-in desk at an exclusive club is WAY too willing to give out personal information about said bad guy.
- Let’s give a special nod to the entire airport sequence: mastermind criminals using their code name as their airport security password, the killing of a guy on the tarmac that, post-9/11, no one seems to notice (not to mention the dun-dun-dun 3 step dramatic camerawork when Bond spots the body), the ludicrous chase sequence after bad guy hi-jacks a fuel truck (which at least attracts the authorities), Bond’s ejecting of the bad guy from the hi-jacked truck only to subsequently park the truck right under the plane the bad guy was trying to blow-up (No parking gear to throw it is? No parking brake? No open areas to lead the truck into?). Bond mistakenly gets arrested as the perpetrator. The bad guy thinks he’s still able to blow up the truck conveniently parked under the plane, but, what’s this now, Bond has attached the bomb to said bad guy who blows himself up…next thing we know Bond is free (how did this happen) and M is explaining who was the brains behind all this and why he did it (which bring me to uncinematic concept number 2: fiddling with the stock market).
Yes, I could go on all day, but I won’t. Well, just a few more because it’s fun.
- Now knowing the culprit, Le Chiffre (if you want to see Mads Mikkelsen in a good film, watch Susanne Bier’s After the Wedding.), M’s decision is to arrest him…oh, wait, no…she sends Bond to play cards…zzzzzzzzzz…other than keeping money out of the hands of terrorist organizations, do we ever get a sense of what the expected outcome of Bond winning the poker game is?
- After four hours of poker playing, they filmed every minute of it as far as I could tell, mastermind genius goes off to his hotel room leaving his asthma inhaler behind. Bond slips tracking device into the inhaler and immediately tracks mastermind to his hotel room, while the inhaler is, apparently, still in the poker room. That Bond, he’s good, I tell you.
- The U.S., also aware of Le Chiffre’s shenanigans, likewise senses that playing poker is the route to take and sends their man (the awesome Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter). Based on the evidence that Bond just lost like $40 million because he fell for Le Chiffre’s ridiculous fake tell, Leiter, still having money left, decides that Bond is the better poker player and hands your hard earned tax dollars over to him.
- After being poisoned, Bond has to call HQ to get instructions on how to use the defibrillator which, he screws up using, but luckily, the Brits are smart enough to train their accountants how to use them but not their secret agents.
So what else is wrong with this monstrosity?
I agree that the Bond franchise was in serious need of a reboot and can appreciate that the filmmakers tried to take an entirely difference approach. Unfortunately, a couple of the things they decided to leave intact is the racism and sexism that has plagued all the Bond films.
If I were feeling generous, I could suggest that the racism of the film is a commentary on real world racism. The fact that Bond’s unpunished shooting up of an African embassy is poignant. That this is how the world works. Rich White Countries get away with this kind of shit. But other evidence in the film suggests the viewpoint is not so enlightened. The ethnic diversity of the poker game leans heavily on stereotypes: the Asian man with the slicked back ponytail and the overweight black man with his purplish suit and gaudy jewelry for starters.
Next Up: New Sexism for the 21st Century!