BY SIMON ARMSTRONG
James Bond, in his original literary from, was hardly the master of hand-to-hand combat he would become onscreen. Whilst he was capable of hitting any target with a pistol, could seduce any woman at will and was quick to retort with a witty one-liner, Bond was never the expert fighter he became, to be portrayed as, as the film series moved on.
The Bond films, which began as stylish cold-war thrillers with occasional splashes of action, soon became known for their elaborate action sequences and high-intensity stunts. From “Goldeneye’s” vertigo inducing opening sequence to the “Live and Let Die” crocodile assault course, the Bond series has combined innovative and heart pounding set-pieces with flashes of camp humor. However it is when the Bond films began to attempt to portray Martial Arts that this paramount film series somewhat faltered.
Whilst later entries, particularly those of Daniel Craig, offered more authentic and respectful combat scenes, older entries in the series, such as those with Roger Moore, often relied on tired stereotypes and fantastical embellishments to portray the martial-arts and their masters. For example, “The Man With The Golden Gun”‘s both racially offensive and inaccurate portray of Kung-Fu.
Whilst the film intended to feed-off the success of Hong Kong Martial Arts movies within the US, its odd sumo wrestling sequence and silted portrayal of Hai Fat is a misfire on every level. Indeed, it wasn’t until “Casino Royale” that the James Bond series got Martial Arts right.
With modern casino’s quickly losing business to accessible, pacey and authentic online versions such as SuperCasino, it is admirable the “Casino Royale” – in the 2006 Bond entry of the same name – tries so hard to make itself stand out against the virtual competition. Surly femme-fatales, poisonous cocktails and machete yielding henchmen are just some of the features you won’t find online. Not to mention you may find a suave secret-agent utilizing concepts of reality-based combat systems – such as Krav Maga and Kapap – as he fends off numerous henchmen.
The Daniel Craig era was heavily influenced by the Bourne Franchise, which had come to prominence in the former series absence. The Bourne franchised portrayed more authentic fight sequences which were based on training actually given to servicemen. Gone were the slick one-and-done chops and punches of Sean Connery or Roger Moore, Bond was now an agent who actually had to work for his victories.
“Casino Royale”, the first of Craig’s Bond films, was keen to continue this more realistic portrayal of close-range combat. The film’s use of reality-based systems of combat is evident in sequences where Bond intelligently, but also institutionally, utilises everything within range to assist him during a fight. Whether it be grabbing shoes or chucking vases, Craig’s Bond does not pass-up any opportunity – no matter how unsightly or brutal – to gain the upper-hand. Others trait of reality-based systems including using the forearms to protect one’s self whilst approaching a target and using joint-locks as a way to quickly disarm opponents, both of which Bond does during Casino Royale‘s runtime.