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From Russia With Love (1963)

Originally Written
Sunday, July 24, 2005

Budget: $2 million. Opening dates: UK October 10, 1963, US April 8, 1964
Worldwide Box Office: $78.9 million

Sean Connery is back to reprise his role as the suave secret 00 British agent. From Russia with Love is definitely a step up from Dr. No and takes place about six months after Bond's encounter with Dr. No on Crabkey Island. SPECTRE has been training a special operative for an attempt at taking Bond out, as revenge for the death Dr. No. They also plan to steal a Russia decoder called a Lektor in order to gain Russia's secrets and disrupt the balance of world power, with this in mind their ultimate plan is to kill two birds with one stone by luring Bond to bring them the Lektor and then killing him.

To successfully carry out this goal they set up a carefully planned mission. This job is given to Rosa Klebb SPECTRE's number 3 agent, she recruits Tatiana Romanova a corporal in the Soviet Army Intelligence to be apart of a mission to give false information to Britain that she is willing to defect only if Bond comes and escorts her back to England with the Lektor. Although what she does not know is that Klebb is no longer a Soviet Agent but is working for SPECTRE, and that the actual plan is to lure Bond to them, kill him and her as well, and steal the Lektor.

Bond and M are already privy to the fact that this is some kind of setup, but once he gets a look at a picture of Romanova he agrees to take the mission. Bond meets up with Kerim Bey who runs a spy network in Istanbul, keeping an eye on the Russians and the Bulgarians. Bey helps Bond setup an escape route after stealing the Lektor. Along the way Bond gets caught up in a Russian and Bulgarian conflict and a night raid on a gypsy camp. Meanwhile Klebb has Donald 'Red' Grant, a convicted murdered and SPECTRE assassin, tailing Bond and Tatiana waiting for the right time to complete the mission.

Bond and Tatiana get aboard a train, where Key and a Russian spy are both murdered by Grant. Grant then poses as a British agent sent to help Bond and Tatiana in successfully escaping the country to England. Although Bond begins to have his suspicions of Grant, which leads him to reveal his association with SPECTRE and his mission. Bond must successfully escape from the clutches of Grant, return to England safely with Tatiana and the Lektor and foil SPECTRE's evil plans once again!

From Russia with Love definitely has more going for it than Dr. No, moving along with much more speed, plenty of action and an even better performance from Connery. The film also gave the bond girl, Tatiana, a larger role in the film than Honey Rider in Dr. No, which made for a more interesting and engrossing storyline, which was more detailed and well delivered. On the downside, like Dr. No, From Russia With Love does not have one distinct main villain but throws a handful of supporting villains which at times appears to be more of a hindrance. Quality is better than quantity and I think the film would have benefited more from a defined main villain than a slew of mediocre minor ones. But in the end, From Russia with Love definitely builds upon the success of the first film and offers some entertaining action and adventure.


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