by Aaron Peck
He quickly rose to international stardom after taking on the role of the world's most famous spy James Bond. Now Daniel Craig has become a blockbuster name, an actor who can sell tickets just by having his name attached.
With his newest film 'Cowboys & Aliens' hitting Blu-ray this week, and his starring role in David Fincher's adaption of 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' hitting theaters soon, we thought we'd review Craig's career and take a look at some of his best and worst movies.
In an effort to lessen confusion of whether or not these are ranked in a certain order I've simply alphabetized them.
After the laughable final Pierce Brosnan installment of the 'Bond' series, it was clear the entire enterprise needed a good reboot. It wasn't Brosnan's fault. For my money he was a great Bond and showed it in 'Golden Eye.' Sadly, after that the 'Bond' films became giant billboards for product placement. They were packed with silly cartoonish scenes and villains that were over the top even for a 'Bond' movie. They'd gotten too out of hand, perhaps a reworking was in order. It worked for Christopher Nolan and 'Batman Begins,' why couldn't it work for 'Bond?' It did, and Craig was a perfect choice for the role. He exuded a grizzled action hero persona, but was still able to look smooth while saving the world.
This film had a split reaction. Most people I know, however, enjoyed it immensely. I was one of those people. Maybe it's my predisposition to like any movie where the main characters have a vendetta against the Nazis, but 'Defiance' really was a good, overlooked World War II film.
People who like Daniel Craig and have never seen this movie please stop reading this, go get it, and watch it immediately. We'll wait for you…
Done? Totally worth it huh? This really is the movie that you look back on in Craig's career and realize, now that's where he got it going. Directed by Matthew Vaughn ('Kick Ass') 'Layer Cake' is a fun film that never received the notoriety it deserved. Casual film fans don't even know it exists and think that the first time Craig popped up in movies was in 'Casino Royale.' While he did loads of stuff before 'Layer Cake,' this is the movie where you can see him blossoming as the action star he was going to become.
Before he starred as James Bond, Craig starred with Eric Bana in the Steven Spielberg directed film 'Munich.' A revenge story where Bana, Craig, and a few others hunt down and kill those responsible for the Munich Massacre. It works both as an action thriller and a commentary on contentious politics. An eye for an eye right? Oh, and by the way, we really need a Blu-ray release for 'Munich.'
Usually Craig plays the good guy. The stalwart hero saving the world from imminent doom, but in 'Road to Perdition' he was anything but that. He was great as the sniveling, conniving Connor who was jealous of the Michael's (Tom Hanks) relationship with his father. It's true that when you think of 'Road to Perdition' you automatically think of the lead performances by Jude Law and Tom Hanks, but Craig delivers a great bad guy performance here.
It had such promise. Jon Favreau was behind the camera, Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig were in front, what could go wrong? Yes, 'Cowboys & Aliens' can be enjoyed on a guilty pleasure level, but even then it comes across as a little too stupid for its own good. Almost like a 'Wild Wild West' with aliens. Okay, nothing's that stupid, but it simply never lived up to what we all expected it to be. Maybe it was a case of misplaced aspirations, but with all those involved, I'm sure that our lofty expectations weren't too high.
It has a measly 7 percent score on the Tomato Meter. It's really the only Daniel Craig film where you can honestly say, "Yuck!" Was it supposed to be scary? Was it supposed to be a horror movie? The only thing that scared me here was how slow and dreadfully dull it was. It was like watching 'The Grudge' on mood-numbing depressants.
'The Golden Compass' failed to create any imaginary world of merit. Even the first 'Narnia' movie managed to create a somewhat engaging fantasy environment. The end product came across as drab and unimaginative. Going up against the big guns in the children's fantasy world like 'Harry Potter,' 'The Golden Compass' never came close to attaining such glory.
In my Top 5/Bottom 5: Alien Invasion Movies article I put 'The Invasion' in my bottom five. So naturally that same film would end up here too. To quote myself, as a remake of the 'Body Snatcher' movies, "'Invasion' was unable to even come close to replicating any of the dread or suspense that an 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' movie needs."
Many people don't agree with me on this one, but 'Quantum of Solace' is not only a bad movie, it's all that is wrong with action movies these days. Its action scenes are an incomprehensible mess of half-second cuts and ultra-close ups. Its car chases might as well be roaring car noises without any visuals, because the editing in those scenes is seizure-inducing. From beginning to end, I thought 'Quantum of Solace' was one of the worst 'Bond' films I'd ever sat through.
To make matters worse Craig's Bond did a complete one-eighty and turned into Jason Bourne reheated. There was nothing debonair about him. He simply walked into rooms and punched people out after a few haphazard edits were thrown together. 'Quantum' lost the entire coolness factor that was built up in 'Casino Royale.' It's easily one of Craig's worst films.
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