Here we have a Bond opening sequence as a play in three acts. In Act One, an American space capsule is swallowed, horrifically, by a mysterious spacecraft. In Act Two, the leaders of the world gather in some kind of geodesic dome somewhere very cold to complain and finger-point about who was responsible for this catastrophe. The Americans blame the Soviets, essentially double-dog daring them to try it again when the next U.S. mission goes up. The British representative, however, isn’t convinced the Soviet Union was involved, musing that the mysterious ship appears to have landed not in Russia but in the “Sea of Japan” — which abuts a significant chunk of eastern Russia, but never mind.
The point is, it allows the British official to then add, “Our man in Hong Kong is working on it now” — the first and probably least smarmy in the franchise’s long line of “cut to Bond getting laid” dialogue cues. Act Three finds 007 canoodling with a Chinese beauty in the largest Hong Kong bedroom ever put to film. The innuendo is kept to a minimum, however, as goons soon bust in to riddle Bond’s Murphy bed with bullets. “At least he died on the job,” says one of the police officers who finds the body, although it’s not clear if he’s being ironic. A second cop responds, “He’d have wanted it this way.”
This three-act structure — a crisis happens, the world finds out about the crisis, the world calls on James Bond to deal with things — was a well that producers would return to often. It’s handled with reasonable deftness here, and the cliffhanger of Bond’s death at the end — while belied by the movie’s title and the fact that it still had another 80 minutes or so to run — is just enough to push us along into the Nancy Sinatra theme song and opening credits.
Next Casino Royale, 2006