Almost two years to the day that I first saw the diminutive Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, I sat through his latest Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. As an action movie, QOS was perfectly fine (although not as good as Casino Royale). Tragically, the new Bond movies are becoming indistinguishable from the equally entertaining “Transporter” series starring equally British tough guy, Jason Statham. But QOS was decidedly not a Bond flick. So once again, I feel obligated to remind the Broccoli family of exactly what is required to be a true Bond flick.
To qualify as a true Bond movie, the film must have the following traits:
- AN AMBITIOUS SUPER-VILLAIN. Bond should only be called in to fight a guy that poses a global threat. Space-based nuclear missiles or satellite lasers at a minimum. You don't call 007 in for Colombian drug lords with an Uzi or two. Hell, send Rambo after that guy; Bond has better things to do. If the Army, or heaven forbid, the cops, could do the job, you don't call a Double-0. Gotham PD didn't use the Bat-Signal every time some old lady shoplifted tins of cat food, did they? No. So you keep 007 under wraps in some Caribbean island screwing former supermodels until you find him a worthy adversary who ominously pets a white cat for no good reason.
- HENCHMEN. Every truly evil super-villain needs a few mindless drones, incapable of independent thought (kinda the way Dick Cheney needed George Bush). Henchmen are anonymous ‘extras,' not real characters with tragic flaws due to unhappy childhoods. I don't care how Jaws got his metal teeth, or that his violent streak comes from not having a father figure as a child. From his appearance, you know he's a bad guy and, frankly, metal teeth are all the back-story I need.
- A BITCHIN' LAIR. Bond super-villains need hang-outs that you won't find in your local Homes & Land magazine. Crazy, rising-out-of-the-sea condos, volcano-based duplexes, or lunar-orbiting Tudors—you know, up-and-coming neighborhoods—that are sublet by evil, bikini-clad arm-candy.
- WOMEN (Plural). Bond MUST bed at least 3 UNBELIEVABLY attractive women per movie, two of whom will get killed shortly after having coitus with Bond (or possibly even during). The least “exotic” (but cutest) woman must survive for the sole purpose of having one last sexual encounter with James while the end credits run. None of these ridiculously stunning women can be considered “love interests” because:
- SEX. Bond only has sex. He is a licensed killer and CANNOT fall in love with a woman without putting her life in jeopardy. Remember On Her Majesty's Secret Service? Bond falls in love, gets married and then, on his way to the honeymoon, she gets killed—lesson learned. That's the 007 downside; you can never fall in love. As a side benefit, that lack of human connection and emotional closeness ensures that Bond keeps his edge. Sure, one day he'll snap and shoot up a schoolyard full of preteens, but then “M” can just have him taken out by a younger, less psychotic 007. It's the circle of 007 life.
- GADGETS. People think the gadgets are important, but they're not. They're just “get out of impossible predicament” cards. Unless the gadgets are super-amazingly-cool, they're just plot devices that let the screenwriters get back to the business of drinking their lives away. With one notable exception:
- AN ASTON MARTIN. It is Bond's only critical gadget. Notice I didn't say, “A cool car”? That's because it absolutely MUST be an Aston Martin. No other car says, “I'm an effin' Brit, eh what?” with that funny Monty Python accent. (Except maybe Jaguar, but any schmuck can afford one of those these days…) And the car must be invisibly pimped, tricked and just plain stuffed with every weapon imaginable, short of a cannon that fires killer bees.
- CALMNESS. This cannot be overstated: James Bond doesn't run. Ever. Because running implies a lack of quick thinking, resourcefulness and/or planning; three things that will quickly get an ordinary man killed. But Bond always uses his wits, weapons, or—in a pinch, widgets—to pull his ass out of the fire at the last minute without ruffling a lapel. Believable? Rarely, but remember, 007 is a fantasy. Don't overthink it.
So there you have it. If you know any of the Broccoli Family, or any of the folks at Danjaq, LLC, tell them to read this. I'd love to see a Bond movie again that lives up to Ian Fleming's original, one-dimensional, sex-crazed, killing-machine named Bond…