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Less than two minutes into From Russia with Love, James Bond is dead, strangled by an assassin while walking through a hedge maze. Hedge mazes: often fatal in film & literature.
You didn't really expect Bond to die, did you? The murdered Bond turns out to be a man in a very lifelike Bond mask. RIP unknown dude, we hardly knew ye. The real Bond is busy, um, in the trenches. By that, we mean he's canoodling with Sylvia Trench, the gambling dame from Dr. No.
Their tryst is interrupted when Bond gets a call from MI6, summoning him for an urgent mission. Rude of him not to turn the ringer off, don't you think? Sorry, Sylvia, he's just not that into you.
Meanwhile, SPECTRE, the evil organization Dr. No worked for, is plotting the theft of a cryptography device called a Lektor machine (no relation to Dr. Hannibal the Cannibal). They plan to manipulate a beautiful Russian cryptographer into seducing 007. Then, they'll kill him with the assassin from the opening sequence, a man named Grant. This plan will nab the machine for SPECTRE and kill Bond. Two birds with one sniper rifle.
Bond's briefed that a beautiful Russian defector will lead him to the Lektor machine. He's a given a high-tech briefcase that includes a hidden knife, a compact sniper rifle, and a trick lock that explodes gas if not opened correctly. Bond doesn't think he'll need it, but M forces him to take it anyway, just in case. Foreshadowing alert, natch.
Bond jets to Istanbul, where he meets Kerim Bey, head of Britain's Secret Service in Turkey known as Station T. Things are relatively peaceful in Istanbul until Grant kills a Russian agent and leaves him at the consulate, making them think the British did it. This fires up a conflict that soon leads to Bey's office being bombed. Bey escapes unharmed.
Bey helps Bond spy on the Russians and hides him in a Romani camp, but he unwittingly leads the Russian's Bulgarian thugs straight to them. Grant, who's hiding in the shadows, saves Bond from being killed by sniping an attacker without Bond noticing.
Hmm. We thought he was supposed to kill him.
Bond and Bey kill the head Bulgarian assassin. Bond returns to his hotel where he finds the beautiful Russian cryptographer, Tania Romanova, in his bed. After, um, sealing the deal, Bond records Tania describing the Lektor device. He transmits the recording to MI6, where M confirms that the lady knows what she's talking about.
With Bey's help, Bond steals the Lektor machine and Tania's heart. The three flee to the Orient Express, where Bond and Tania take on new identities: Mr. and Mrs. David and Caroline Somerset. How quaint. Unfortunately, Bey is killed on the train.
Bond needs backup, so he transmits a telegram to M to send another agent. Unbeknownst to Bond, agent Nash is killed and impersonated by Grant. "Nash" pretends to help Bond until he sees the perfect opportunity to strike and steal the Lektor machine. In a brutal fistfight, Grant/Nash almost kills Bond. But remember that briefcase from the beginning of the movie? Bond manages to retrieve the knife and kill Nash.
Bond and Tania flee for the border, pursued by a SPECTRE helicopter dropping grenades. Bond manages to snipe the co-pilot, who drops the grenade and goes boom.
Not enough explosions for you? Don't worry. Bond and Tania make it onto a speedboat, where they're pursued once again by SPECTRE agents. Bond drops a bunch of oil barrels into the water and sets off an impressive chain reaction of explosions, frying the SPECTRE boats and clearing the way for Bond and Tania to flee to Venice.
Back at SPECTRE HQ, the shadowy leader, Number One, is not happy the plan failed. He executes Kronsteen, a.k.a. Number Five, for being the brains behind a brainless plan. Not wanting to meet the same fate, Rosa Klebb, the woman who recruited Tania, decides to retrieve the Lektor machine herself.
Disguised as a housekeeper, Klebb infiltrates Bond's Venetian hotel suite. She tries to leave with the Lektor without even leaving a mint on his pillow first. Rude. Bond struggles with Klebb, who deploys a poisoned blade from her shoe. Tania manages to retrieve a gun and gets the last shot, killing the agent in her tracks.
Now that they've killed everyone, Bond and Tania have a romantic trip on a gondola. If you saw Dr. No, you know what boats get Bond in the mood for. The pair kisses and the film fades to black. The end.