By Mikhail Chernyavsky

After 50 years, James Bond shows no signs of slowing down, and “Skyfall” proves that the iconic figure is alive and well.

The latest Bond movie is arguably the best in the franchise since 1995’s “GoldenEye”, which starred Pierce Brosnan as 007.

No time is wasted as this film jumps right into the action, taking us on a chase around the streets of Istanbul.

Bond (Daniel Craig) and new agent, Eve (Naomie Harris), are after a man who stole a hard drive from MI6 containing sensitive material that could put the lives of every field operative in danger.

The chase leads Bond and the man onto a train. Here we get a taste of 007’s finesse for improvisation as he uses a Caterpillar excavator to break through the roof of a train car.

Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes ( “American Beauty”) does a fantastic job of building the tension of this fight scene atop the moving train as it rapidly moves from one tunnel to the next. This is just one scene where Mendes takes the audience on not only an incredible action ride, but also dives into the much-richer characters.

This time around, Judi Dench’s M is a role worthy of the multi-nominated Academy Award winner. No longer is she just a bit player, but finally a co-star, sharing much of the screen with the beloved hero. We see a side of her that is not just that of the stern woman tired of the lascivious agent’s philandering, but one of a woman who has dealt with the guilt of making many difficult decisions in her long career.

“Skyfall” truly has everything, from the extravagant locations down to the over-the-top colorful villain, which the franchise has been missing for quite some time.

Javier Bardem (another multi-nominated Academy Award winner) is impeccable as Bond’s rival, Silva. He encompasses everything you want in a protagonist: charm, flair, and a deformity that gives him an element of mystery, much like the first Bond villain Dr. Julius No from 1962’s “Dr. No.”

Then of course, there is Bond. Craig continues to bring a realistic element to the character. His performance is without doubt the most realistic in the series. This time around, Craig really brings out the mortality of the character that, perhaps like M, has been playing the spy game for far too long.

After 23 films, Bond’s “Skyfall” continues to bring new life to a franchise that doesn’t seem to be struggling. It is the perfect combination of a film that welcomes a new generation and embraces the old.

If “Skyfall” is how Bond celebrates 50 years, then there is no question Bond will return for 50 more.


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