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…