'From Russia with Love' Review By Thomas Clarke (Kiion)
With every aspect raised, this film is a true sequel.
SPECTRE - the criminal organisation from the first film - are distraught at having their plan foiled by Bond. Furious at the loss of Dr No, expert planner Kronsteen devises a cunning plan that will enable the organisation to steel a Lektor device from the soviets as well as gaining revenge on Bond. SPECTREs number 1 - who comes into the film franchise more fully in latter films - gives full responsibility to number 3, Rosa Klebb. Having this extreme pressure to deliver results, Klebb hires both and assassin and Russian Cipher clerk Tatiana into tricking the secret agent into a plan, in which to dispose of him. When London is contacted by Tatiana, M sends for Bond whom he devises a plan for the agent to head to Istanbul where he will meet and collect the device. Thinking its too easy Bond becomes aware of the trap, but through triggering it they hope to catch whoever is planning it. Travelling to Turkey - with the franchises first ever gadget (A Briefcase) - Bond meets up with the British Intelligence recruit based in Istanbul. After an explosion in the office, the two men spy on a soviet meeting where rival soviet agent, Krilencu is spotted. During the night the two agents stay with a rural group of Gypsies. In their time with the group they are attacked by a band of russian, fending them off but realising that it has become a lot more dangerous in the place. After devising a plan to invade and take the machinery, Bond and Kerim Bay undertake the plan. Ready to leave the country they steal aboard the Orient express. On this train they come under attack from the recruited assassin, Bond overpowering his foe survives this attack and flees the train at Zagreb. Hijacking a truck Bond and Tatiana escape the place but are chased down by a helicopter - a scene that is repeated in every future Bond film except one - escaping those who are following them, they both board a motorboat. On the river they are once again followed by assailants but via the cunning of the spy, survive the attack. Making their way to Venice the two believe to be safe, however when Klebb disguises herself as a cater maid the two must once again fend of the assailant so as to keep the device safe.
Though this film holds a narrative that is larger in pretty much all aspects than the first, through having a more complex storyline a greater amount of time needed to describe and explain the situation of the characters. This gives audiences a lot more understanding of the plot, but does take a lot away from the pacing. Although the aspects that sell the franchise have been enhanced from the first film, with larger set pieces bringing in more tension and excitement, these other scenes appear dull in comparison. Slowing down the whole films pacing, it can be tedious to watch. However those who bear the bad parts are awarded with a film that fully enhances the whole feeling of the first film. Superior to Dr No in all aspects, the production values are fully upgraded in what is seen on screen. Fight sequences are choreographed in a more exciting manner, and set pieces have been given more planning. This results in a more explosive and exciting action film than the first, with the espionage sequences been given more scope the film is able to showcase these scenes in more interesting environments - with most shot on location. This allows the film to appear more realistic in approach, more believable and therefore more engrossing into the life's of the secret agent. A top quality film in all respects, and one that is watchable today regardless of the length since release.
'From Russia With Love' is a film that serves as a sequel on every level. Upgrading all aspects of the first film to be grander in scale, the film utilises its budget well. With on location shoots, explosive action and well thought out scenarios the film holds true to the power of the first, through these changes distinguishing itself as a lone production. Sean Connery returns as the British secret agent, using his experience in the first role as a way of allowing his character to appear more realistic in portrayal. Using the audiences knowledge of the character to further develop the role, his acting seems to feel slightly smoothy - as if he knows the character better. Although not much differs between the two first Bond films, the use of key elements in the franchise allow continuity. With further development on this production, the creators have been able to adapt a sequel in such a way as to feel the same but superior.