In two years and change, I have not softened on Spectre. Quite the opposite: I’m mad at the misfire of a theme song; I’m cranky about the lugubrious pacing; I’m pissed (get it??) at the unfortunately yellow color timing; and I’m livid at the squandering of Blofeld via some wrong-headed “continuity-first” bullshit. And I’m ultimately aghast at the idea that maybe, just maybe, Daniel Craig should have packed it in after Skyfall.
But folks, at the risk of repeating myself: that fight scene on the train is fucking great.
The Bond franchise has been shadowboxing the iconic 007 vs Red Grant train fight in From Russia With Love for decades, and though there’ve been some fun ones, none of them come close to the original. How ironic that this one, stuck in the mess of a movie it is, comes close. And maybe it’s just that by the time it happens in Spectre, viewers have been slowly lulled into a sense of depressed resignation that the film isn’t any good, but when that fight scene happens in context, it’s like an electric shock. It looks like it hurts. It feels like there are actual stakes. Everything comes alive for a few minutes and the franchise becomes the version of itself it’s supposed to be – even if it’s just for three minutes.