Definitely improved since last time.
From Russia With Love is regarded by many to not only be the best James Bond film but one of the best movies in the spy genre period, and yes I do somewhat agree with that. Our story follows Bond as he is wrapped in the web of SPECTRE, attempting to obtain a decoder device with the help of a young woman named Tania who works for the Russian consulate in Istanbul, while one of SPECTRE's top agents is in pursuit of Bond across Europe to get revenge on the death of Dr. No and SPECTRE losing their favorite vacation spot. I do greatly like this film, no doubt it will be a contender for the top 10 when I summarize the whole series, but I think it's mainly the story and production that have had the best treatment this time around. It really does build this world of espionage so well, done in no small part due to introducing Kerim Bay played by Pedro Armendariz, one of Bond's allies who has a world of subterfuge which we learn in detail and it's one of my favorite things from the movie and Kerim is such a warm and friendly person it's difficult not to genuinely adore him. Not as rugged as Quarrel, but endearing in his own right. The story is very well told, with enough intrigue and surprises to entertain but not to the point where you lose track of the story which is something I appreciate. There's no exposition dumping here, just a well crafted spy thriller that I do enjoy more and more each time I watch it. Sean Connery delivers another great performance, given more to do this time around and comes more into his own with the character. Daniella Bianchi is lovely, though perhaps a bit too infatuated with James but nevertheless charming and has her own stand in the story. Robert Shaw is great in this movie, even though he hardly speaks a line but then again he doesn't have to, his physicality speaks for himself and is a formidable match for our dear James with one of the best close quarters action scenes in film history. I'm serious this fight is everything you've heard it to be, so well shot and edited, such palpable force in each punch and hit, and mad respect for both the stunt performers and Connery and Shaw in that scene. Once again the location shooting is excellent, and production designs while not grand are done very well, and it feels more like a well thought out production with everything done splendidly, and Terence Young proving his salt in the director's chair. Bit of trivia for you, originally the now famous gunbarrel sequence wasn't meant to be in this film at all but was added to let the audience know when the film began, so much thanks to this for setting the standard. Also, Ian Fleming the author of the James Bond series has a supposed cameo but I take that with more salt than I do the codename theory. All in all, this is a damn good movie in the series and one I can fully recommend to even casual fans and may even make you want to dig deeper into the franchise's history. 3.5 stars, 7.5/10, but next time dear ones we hit gold.