M made a decision in the past that hurt someone? Yes, and that tough call complicates matters for MI6; even James Bond's loyalty is put to the test. However, with world class villains (and his own death) to contend with, there isn't a moment to reflect on her misdeeds.

Director Sam Mendes ("Revolutionary Road") is working for the first time with the Broccoli family, who has owned this Bond franchise for 50 years. There is no doubt Mendes knows exactly what the fans expect, he delivers non-stop action, wonderful reminders of past Bond films, lots of gunfire and fisticuffs, plus oodles of blowie uppie stuff!

We recognize the regulars, but watch for some new ones, too:
  • Daniel Craig ("Defiance") is back as Bond, resurrected from the dead and furious that M gave the order to shoot him (he heard her in his ear bud). Now he must cope with a damaged body that doesn't do quite what he wants.
  • Judi Dench ("The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel") is still M, beleaguered, bedeviled and besieged. Of course, her quips are almost as funny as Bond's.
  • Ben Whishaw ("Cloud Atlas") is the callow youth who personifies this generation of technophiles. Yup, to Bond's dismay, this mop- headed geek is our new Q and we love him from the get-go!
  • Naomie Harris ("Mandala, Long Walk to Freedom") is Bond's sidekick in the opening scenes in Istanbul. Wait until you hear her last name!
  • Javier Barden ("Biutiful") seems to have SUCH fun playing villains; this flaxen-haired bad guy is almost as persistent as our hero; he just doesn't know when to quit! Revenge is a powerful motivator.
This popular franchise illustrates what we mean when we say "sensory overload." It isn't necessary to suspend disbelief in these things because we know as we walk in the door that we will be bombarded with PG-13 cartoony violence, hair's-breath escapes and quippy dialogue. It's what we want, it's what we pay for and it's what we get!

With this one, I confess I was shaken, not stirred.
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