Is modern Bond action lacking?


I feel there is a large discussion occurring at the moment concerning action in film franchises. Mainly, I feel this has been driven by Tom Cruise’s terrific (and insane) turn in the latest Mission Impossible.

Tom Cruise is a one-off and I don’t think any actor needs to commit themselves as fully as he does. Insane stunts are merely a pastime for him. If someone wasn’t filming him, I suspect he’d do them anyway. The Mission Impossible films are just his vehicles for indulging himself.

However, it does beg the question. Are the action sequences in modern Bond lacking?

John Glen wasn’t a great dramatic director but he was an amazing second unit and action filmmaker. His actions sequences in TSWLM and MR are amongst the greatest in action filmmaking. Furthermore, the 80’s Bond films were pretty ugly to look at but both Glen and Arthur Wooster’s stunts are fantastic and undeniably amongst the best in the series.

People may not like the storytelling in OP or AVTAK but the aerial work in both films is amazing and on-par with anything Tom Cruise does. Furthermore, the tanker sequence LTK is a benchmark of excellence in the series. Glen was able to cram a lot of great action work in 10 years of directing Bond.

However, modern Bond is lacking. Aside from the parkour chase, I can’t really think of a great standout action set piece. This is a slight cause for concern. Even, the Brosnan era was more accomplished than Craig’s run.

Is it time to bring back the ‘stunt’ to the Bond film? You only really need one standout stunt to really sell a movie on…
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Comments

  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!
    Posts: 15,197
    I don't think the modern Bond is lacking action but I wish we could get more "fun" action. By that, I absolutely don't mean to imply jokes and silliness should be restored like in the days of TMWTGG, but the parcours scene in CR for example, that was fun, especially since it was immediately followed by the embassy shoot-up, which was also great fun.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited August 3 Posts: 21,627
    I too don't think that there is a relative lack of action.

    There's certainly less than in an MI film, but then again Bond isn't MI, and nobody can do Cruise like Cruise. That shouldn't be the target.

    While it's true that Bond owned the action stakes for many years historically, I don't think it's realistic to expect EON to be able to dominate like it did during the early Cubby years going forward, particularly with such intense and esteemed competition.

    So what to do? Well, I would focus on the quality of whatever action is delivered rather than the explosives and quantity. Make it organic and meaningful - integrated into the narrative rather than tacked on for effect. Ensure it's surprising, inventive & intelligent rather than linear & predictable. Make sure it's done for real (and I don't care if it's the lead actor up there doing it - stunt men are perfectly fine for me) rather than with ubiquitous and pathetic CGI. This is what makes or breaks it for me, rather than the number of sequences in a particular film.

    Even the most simple of things like a fight can be executed in a fashion that makes it memorable, or not. It's a matter of setting it up properly and then executing it with finesse and passion.

    During the Craig years I've enjoyed the CR parkour chase (perhaps the last 'great' benchmark sequence in a Bond film imho), the QoS PTS chase and the SF PTS. In terms of fights, I've liked the CR stairwell, QoS Slate and SF Patrice. I also enjoyed the SF 'Home Alone' finale very much, even though it really wasn't as heavy on action as some of the other finales. It had emotional heft in compensation.

    The Craig era has a different tone to the past. Given their direction with him, I don't mind the perceived relative lack of action in comparison to other franchises. How much they choose to incorporate once he's gone will very much depend on what direction they take with the next chap. Whatever they end up doing, I just hope it's consistent and integral to the actor's style and approach.
  • Posts: 2,819
    I think Bond should have an increase in spying ahead of an increase in action.
  • edited August 3 Posts: 1,167
    I think the Craig Bonds have some good action - the parkour scene is a modern classic?

    I liked the boat chase and the airplane and parachute drop into the cave in QOS. QOS has crazy action - those shaky cam fast cuts are insane. If you like fast cuts then QOS is a classic! (er.. I'm sure many fans will disagree).

    Skyfall - pre-credit scene was good! I liked the end too.

    The pre-credit heliocopter scene in SPECTRE - brilliant. Instant classic, in my humble opinion. The helicopter roll is a wonderful moment. Up there with the very best Bond action scenes. The car chase in Rome was a bit flat, though.

    Timothy Dalton agreed to hang onto the jeep when he was filming TLD. I can't see a major reason why Bond actor#7 can't do some hanging onto fast moving vehicle action. Cruise has help - he's often on wires so it's not as if he's totally crazy. The next Bond actor can do the same - hang from wires. If the next actor does a bit of the 'risky' action it will look great in the trailers. What a cool way to market Bond 26 - the new Bond actor doing some dangerous stunt! I think it's worth EON considering. The next Bond doesn't have to hang from a plane but hanging from the side of a car, perhaps the car door opens and Bond is hanging from it, his shoes hitting the ground - that would look cool.

    As long as it's all 'safe' and well-supervised I don't see a major problem.
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    Posts: 2,753
    Not sure about this one but I do feel strongly that, every time there is a new Bond actor, his first film should feature a lot of RUNNING! Think Dalton at the beginning of TLD or Craig in CR. Eventually injuries (which are seemingly inevitable on Bond films) catch up with the actors...
  • barryt007barryt007 Hunting Kara Milovy with a massive elephant gun.
    Posts: 15,337
    vzok wrote: »
    I think Bond should have an increase in spying ahead of an increase in action.

    You beat me to it,i was going to say the same !
    echo wrote: »
    Not sure about this one but I do feel strongly that, every time there is a new Bond actor, his first film should feature a lot of RUNNING! Think Dalton at the beginning of TLD or Craig in CR. Eventually injuries (which are seemingly inevitable on Bond films) catch up with the actors...

    And Brosnan running to catch the plane in GE PTS.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited August 3 Posts: 21,627
    I'd also like to add that for me, it's about the details - the little things around an action sequence, like an actor's expression or something unexpected that knocks the protagonist off course, which make or break it.

    That's what I loved the most about the older films - the sense of irony while the action was in full flight - the feeling that a man was in over his head and could die at any moment but somehow, just when it matters, finds an escape or solution. Roger Moore of course was the master of this, sometimes precisely because of his relative physical inadequacies.

    EDIT: Cruise, for all his audacious bravery and commitment, has picked up on this and utilized it to great effect in the last three MI films. It makes a world of difference. The glove not working in GP for instance.
  • doubleoegodoubleoego #LightWork
    Posts: 10,683
    The problem isn't the amount of action because Bond has enough of it. The problem is that the action for the most part is boring and quite frankly trash, especially the efforts from the last 2 movies.
  • Posts: 5,797
    The last two had terrific PTS sequences IMHO, as good as any Bond film.

    But they did stand out as each film's action highlight. Other good sequences include Bond tracking Patrice in HK, Silva's attack on M's hearing and some of the climax. Spectre had a great train fight.

    Plenty of earlier Bond films fell flat in the action stakes as well, so I reckon over all Craig's era had some pretty memorable stuff.
  • jake24jake24 Sitting at your desk, kissing your lover, eating supper with your family
    Posts: 8,296
    SF's PTS and climax are both superb. However, the rest of the Mendes-era setpieces have been disappointing (especially SP).
  • barryt007barryt007 Hunting Kara Milovy with a massive elephant gun.
    edited August 3 Posts: 15,337
    jake24 wrote: »
    SF's PTS and climax are both superb. However, the rest of the Mendes-era setpieces have been disappointing (especially SP).

    The brilliant train fight is the main highlight for me with SP,not much else though.
  • SeanCraigSeanCraig Germany
    Posts: 548
    I was very happy and excited with all action pieces in CR and QoS (wanting to literally see more of it due to editing). Plus the SF PTS and the final fight sequences at Skyfall. In SP I was mostly bored to be honest ... the PTS looked great but it did not reach me as it should have. The train fight was better.
  • jake24jake24 Sitting at your desk, kissing your lover, eating supper with your family
    Posts: 8,296
    barryt007 wrote: »
    jake24 wrote: »
    SF's PTS and climax are both superb. However, the rest of the Mendes-era setpieces have been disappointing (especially SP).

    The brilliant train fight is the main highlight for me with SP,not much else though.
    Yes, of course. I was referring to the major sequences. Both films have small standouts other than the ones I listed.
  • barryt007barryt007 Hunting Kara Milovy with a massive elephant gun.
    Posts: 15,337
    jake24 wrote: »
    barryt007 wrote: »
    jake24 wrote: »
    SF's PTS and climax are both superb. However, the rest of the Mendes-era setpieces have been disappointing (especially SP).

    The brilliant train fight is the main highlight for me with SP,not much else though.
    Yes, of course. I was referring to the major sequences. Both films have small standouts other than the ones I listed.

    Personally,i don't see what all the fuss is about re SP PTS,i find it pretty boring once the helicopter enters the scene.
  • edited August 3 Posts: 11,902
    I thought the SF PTS, the SF finale, the SP pre titles and the Patrice and Hinx fight scenes were all great. The car chase and plane chase in SP fell flat (also, I think Newman is as much to blame for this as anyone else) but overall I think people's complaints about the action are exaggerated. The Mendes era has hardly rivaled the Glen films but it's had some exciting action scenes and it could have been worse, at least we can actually see what's going on now.

    Besides, Mendes is gone. Boyle is in and all his films have a great energy to them which has me excited for the action scenes. New stunt coordinator too right? I think we should be optimistic or at least give them a chance. I don't see the point in saying EON need to do better (in general, not just with the action scenes) when they're currently making a new film with lots of new crew members. They're trying. I think we should wait and see how it turns out before complaining about the current state of things.
    NicNac wrote: »
    Plenty of earlier Bond films fell flat in the action stakes as well, so I reckon over all Craig's era had some pretty memorable stuff.

    Yeah apart from the 80s films they've always been a bit hit and miss when it comes to action, and even then you've got a few duds (jungle chase, basically anything in AVTAK, etc).

    There aren't as many big memorable stunts as there used to be, and that's a shame, but the Bond films have never really been top of the league when it comes to action scenes imo. I don't think there's been a massive drop in terms of overall quality.
  • edited August 3 Posts: 4,608
    doubleoego wrote: »
    The problem isn't the amount of action because Bond has enough of it. The problem is that the action for the most part is boring and quite frankly trash, especially the efforts from the last 2 movies.

    THIS! It's really been an issue I've had with most of the Craig era - certain scenes in CR and QoS aside. Even the lesser fighting scenes with Rog' are more entertaining!

    Speaking of Rog's action scenes; I love this one personally, just because it's fun:
  • Posts: 1,970
    In a word 'yes'.

    No actor should try imitate Cruise and risk his life. But even without Cruise risking his life for our enterntaiment, the action itself is darn fun and well shot, that puts the viewer on the edge of their seats.
  • Posts: 6,693
    The Craig films action sequence are heavily stylized in the choreography and editing departments. Gives the films a Bourne feel. It's mostly Bond running, shooting, or fight sequences intended to top whatever Jason Bourne did the year previously. They succeed in that respect, IMO. To hell with Bourne and TDK trilogy, I say.

    Audiences do seem to buy it, though and probably walk away feeling the series' action has never been better.
    In terms of originality, though I disagree. Possibly with the exception of the parkour sequence, the Craig films offer NOTHING that Bob Simmons couldn't have accomplished with Connery. It just would have been choreographed, shot and edited differently. Even so, the parkour/crane bit and the Aston Martin roll do qualify as signature stunt and action moments.

    The John Glen era was truly the peak of Bond action highlights. From the bobsled chase in OHMSS, the ski jump, all the way thru the tanker chase in LTK each film spared no effort to top the film before in breathtaking stunt-work and action.
    That era is long over.

    I haven't seen a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE since the third one, but my impression (especially from this board) is that the stunt work is outstanding and harks back to the very best of the John Glen films. If that's the case I do hope Eon takes note and realizes that even in the darkest of Bond, the action can be fun. I can attest the audience cheered loudly in LTK during the water ski chase and tanker bit.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    Posts: 21,627
    barryt007 wrote: »
    jake24 wrote: »
    barryt007 wrote: »
    jake24 wrote: »
    SF's PTS and climax are both superb. However, the rest of the Mendes-era setpieces have been disappointing (especially SP).

    The brilliant train fight is the main highlight for me with SP,not much else though.
    Yes, of course. I was referring to the major sequences. Both films have small standouts other than the ones I listed.

    Personally,i don't see what all the fuss is about re SP PTS,i find it pretty boring once the helicopter enters the scene.
    I feel the same way frankly. The tracking shot is the highlight for me. Once the helicopter arrives it becomes a CGI-fest.
    doubleoego wrote: »
    The problem isn't the amount of action because Bond has enough of it. The problem is that the action for the most part is boring and quite frankly trash, especially the efforts from the last 2 movies.

    THIS! It's really been an issue I've had with most of the Craig era - certain scenes in CR and QoS aside. Even the lesser fighting scenes with Rog' are more entertaining!

    Speaking of Rog's action scenes; I love this one personally, just because it's fun:
    That is truly an outstanding sequence (score excepted) and never gets old. This is what Bond films used to be about and I hope they recapture this spirit down the line. I'm waiting for another ski sequence actually (the one in TWINE left me unfulfilled).
    ToTheRight wrote: »
    I haven't seen a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE since the third one, but my impression (especially from this board) is that the stunt work is outstanding and harks back to the very best of the John Glen films. If that's the case I do hope Eon takes note and realizes that even in the darkest of Bond, the action can be fun. I can attest the audience cheered loudly in LTK during the water ski chase and tanker bit.
    At least as far as I'm concerned, they are the spiritual successor to the Glen films in the action department. I highly recommend 4-6 if you're a fan of seat of your pants action done the old school way.
  • Posts: 4,608
    ToTheRight wrote: »
    I can attest the audience cheered loudly in LTK during the water ski chase and tanker bit.

    Those are two lovely stunts, that's for sure! Wouldn't hurt Bond to revisit stunts of that sort. The films have become too gritty for their own good.
  • Mendes4LyfeMendes4Lyfe People, both good and evil, really are people.
    Posts: 6,185
    Not just the action, but the kineticism of the movies in general. Bond films are also flabby and ponderous, when they should be sharp and direct.
  • barryt007barryt007 Hunting Kara Milovy with a massive elephant gun.
    Posts: 15,337
    ToTheRight wrote: »
    I can attest the audience cheered loudly in LTK during the water ski chase and tanker bit.

    Those are two lovely stunts, that's for sure! Wouldn't hurt Bond to revisit stunts of that sort. The films have become too gritty for their own good.

    2 stunts that sum up the Bond films as they should be x I love LTK .


    doubleoego wrote: »
    The problem isn't the amount of action because Bond has enough of it. The problem is that the action for the most part is boring and quite frankly trash, especially the efforts from the last 2 movies.

    THIS! It's really been an issue I've had with most of the Craig era - certain scenes in CR and QoS aside. Even the lesser fighting scenes with Rog' are more entertaining!

    Speaking of Rog's action scenes; I love this one personally, just because it's fun:

    An amazing sequence of stunts x OHMSS n FYEO ski scenes are THE best !’

  • edited August 3 Posts: 4,608
    barryt007 wrote: »
    ToTheRight wrote: »
    I can attest the audience cheered loudly in LTK during the water ski chase and tanker bit.

    Those are two lovely stunts, that's for sure! Wouldn't hurt Bond to revisit stunts of that sort. The films have become too gritty for their own good.

    2 stunts that sum up the Bond films as they should be x I love LTK .


    doubleoego wrote: »
    The problem isn't the amount of action because Bond has enough of it. The problem is that the action for the most part is boring and quite frankly trash, especially the efforts from the last 2 movies.

    THIS! It's really been an issue I've had with most of the Craig era - certain scenes in CR and QoS aside. Even the lesser fighting scenes with Rog' are more entertaining!

    Speaking of Rog's action scenes; I love this one personally, just because it's fun:

    An amazing sequence of stunts x OHMSS n FYEO ski scenes are THE best !’

    I hope Boyle/Hodge had action sequences like this in mind when working on their "idea" (and the script)!
  • barryt007barryt007 Hunting Kara Milovy with a massive elephant gun.
    Posts: 15,337
    barryt007 wrote: »
    ToTheRight wrote: »
    I can attest the audience cheered loudly in LTK during the water ski chase and tanker bit.

    Those are two lovely stunts, that's for sure! Wouldn't hurt Bond to revisit stunts of that sort. The films have become too gritty for their own good.

    2 stunts that sum up the Bond films as they should be x I love LTK .


    doubleoego wrote: »
    The problem isn't the amount of action because Bond has enough of it. The problem is that the action for the most part is boring and quite frankly trash, especially the efforts from the last 2 movies.

    THIS! It's really been an issue I've had with most of the Craig era - certain scenes in CR and QoS aside. Even the lesser fighting scenes with Rog' are more entertaining!

    Speaking of Rog's action scenes; I love this one personally, just because it's fun:

    An amazing sequence of stunts x OHMSS n FYEO ski scenes are THE best !’

    I hope Boyle/Hodge had action sequences like this in mind when working on their "idea" (and the script)!

    Action has never been his main attribute but he is a good director so we should be ok
  • Posts: 27
    Hmmm, confusing thread title! Bond should definitely be getting more action with the Bond Girls.
  • barryt007barryt007 Hunting Kara Milovy with a massive elephant gun.
    edited August 3 Posts: 15,337
    DUPE
  • Posts: 4,608
    barryt007 wrote: »
    barryt007 wrote: »
    ToTheRight wrote: »
    I can attest the audience cheered loudly in LTK during the water ski chase and tanker bit.

    Those are two lovely stunts, that's for sure! Wouldn't hurt Bond to revisit stunts of that sort. The films have become too gritty for their own good.

    2 stunts that sum up the Bond films as they should be x I love LTK .


    doubleoego wrote: »
    The problem isn't the amount of action because Bond has enough of it. The problem is that the action for the most part is boring and quite frankly trash, especially the efforts from the last 2 movies.

    THIS! It's really been an issue I've had with most of the Craig era - certain scenes in CR and QoS aside. Even the lesser fighting scenes with Rog' are more entertaining!

    Speaking of Rog's action scenes; I love this one personally, just because it's fun:

    An amazing sequence of stunts x OHMSS n FYEO ski scenes are THE best !’

    I hope Boyle/Hodge had action sequences like this in mind when working on their "idea" (and the script)!

    Action has never been his main attribute but he is a good director so we should be ok

    Hope you're right about that!
    Hmmm, confusing thread title! Bond should definitely be getting more action with the Bond Girls.

    tenor.gif
  • M_BaljeM_Balje Amsterdam, Netherlands
    edited August 3 Posts: 2,750
    Pretitle scene of Spectre should have some more wider shots. Mabey another camera angel from left side of roof. So that you see more people with all the work make up and costume people did.

    Villian lairs of QOS and Spectre scenes are to short. This why there feel need to with another action scene in Spectre. Big problem of Spectre, i have atleast four ending moments.

    Skyfall pretitle i am not fan of train scene. But Skyfall house whas best ending since Goldeneye (if i mean airplane scene of DAD as end and hotel scene with QOS.) exept Dench M death. The first end of DAD: The ice palace then i ranked it 3th.

    Airport scene in QOS whas a highlight. The boat chase whas a disaster and end of the very good car chase in the pretitle end to fast/weird.
  • Fire_and_Ice_ReturnsFire_and_Ice_Returns Frozen in carbonite
    Posts: 4,618
    Focusing on SF and SP I don't think those film lack action, I just don't think the action is in those films was that good. Where as IMO the action in CR and QoS was excellent.
  • edited August 3 Posts: 4,608
    Focusing on SF and SP I don't think those film lack action, I just don't think the action is in those films was that good. Where as IMO the action in CR and QoS was excellent.
    Agree. An example I like to mention, is the car chases of QoS and SP. Although the camera work/editing in the former might be a bit too fast for my liking, it really knocks the latter out of the park:



    I know there are things to consider - like in QoS Bond has multiple cars after him, while in SP it's "just" Hinx. As stylish at it may look, the SP car chase is the most boring car chase I've ever seen, and Bond never looks like he's in real danger.
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