I just saw the two Daniel Craig Bond movies, “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace”, on DVD. CR was not bad, QoS just OK. I’ve been rocking out to the song from CR though-
I applied for a job with the CIA a long time ago. They had an ad for “operations officers”, which is what they call people who are actually spies. I went to an interview and the guy told me they had three areas open, photo analyst, intelligence analyst, and operations, and what would I be interested in doing? I told him I was only interested in operations, not being an analyst. I never heard back; I suspect the ad was to draw people in, that they were only looking for analysts, not operators.
The Marines recruit infantry officers in somewhat the same way. If you have seen Marine officer recruiters on a college campus, you have probably seen them claiming they are looking for pilots. The Marines idolize the infantry, but few people really want to do that, and less when they’ve been through the training. It’s a brutal business with little career potential. Being a pilot on the other hand is glamorous and gives you a good chance of getting a high-paying job as an airline pilot. What they don’t say is that most of those recruited as pilots will fail the eye test at some point or flunk out of flight school, after which time they will be assigned as infantry officers. One guy I talked to who had been in infantry for years said of all the lietenants he had, all except on were flight school washouts; only one had actually wanted to be an infantry officer. Remember- “USMC” stands for U Signed the Motherfuckin’ Contract.
A guy named Robert Baer has written some good books about being a CIA agent; he came from a rich family and spent much of his childhood traveling in Europe. In addition to being a pretty miserable government bureaucracy the CIA is also pretty snobby I think, and they aren’t looking for common proles for serious jobs.
An exception might be the paramilitary part of operations; Johnny Spann, the agent who got killed in Afghanistan, apparently came from a lower-middle class southern background. He had jump training so maybe that’s what you need to spark their interest. In one of the news stories about him his divorce lawyer described him as “not the kind of guy you’d invite to a dinner party.” That kind of chapped my ass; I am the kind of guy you’d invite to a dinner party. But CIA wise, I seem to have fallen between two stools, as the Brits say, those of Robert Baer and Johnny Spann.
Part of the reason CR and QoS didn’t do too much for me is they seem to follow the modern action movie custom of excessively choreographed action and super quick-cut editing. I think this comes from trying to imitate Jackie Chan; but Jackie Chan movies, at least the Hong Kong ones, are of a specific time and place and not necessarily appropriate to imitate. “The Transporter” is an example of this, although they maintain the comedy a bit which makes it work. Bond movies are supposed to be a little tongue in cheek, but they have dropped this and tried to make it appear realistic, which is dumb. In these Bond is always going off by himself to kill people or steal things; in reality any such guy would have dozens of support people, some he would know about and many he wouldn’t. A realistic spy movie would be interesting, but maybe not to very many people.