They are keeping it low in this second round, making their enemies sweat and maybe, maybe they will make a mistake.
Young is back in a sensible and calm state that is more Hitchcock-ian- there is literally a sequence similar to the North By Northwest, which surprisingly is both, more and less realistic than it was- than De Palma-isc. This verbally brimmed counter play of each characters might not be particularly smart but is surely a mature way of exploring the wry business vacation. Terence Young, the director, this time, is definitely bringing new things on the table. One would assume that after getting all the ingredients correctly mixed and cooked, it would be SAFE to believe in that recipe; one is wrong and also probably under pressure.
What was fast and smooth in the previous one, is slowed down and analyzed thoroughly from all the directions. And from this comes some of the finest tensed moments created on the screen, like sense of vulnerability or the tease of the upcoming guns-blazing and blood-dripping antic. These physical sequences are something that Sergio Leone used to rely upon, before breaking down into a big fist fight. Another major improvement is levity slipped in a scene, the one-liners are getting more sharp and gets a much bigger reaction from the audience.
Also, the makers and the actors on set seems confident and in a comfortable zone, considering some of the most ridiculous and questionable scenes- the entire cultural dance and eerie controversial rituals- are pulled off with such ease and conviction. Sean Connery revisiting his character oozes, yes, sexiness, but also a calculative, ethically wrong or mislead person that gives him quite a range to cover; he cares but often it turns out to be too late. From Russia With Love is the perfect formal vacation they could color, it is polished and poised in its tone, even at its dirtiest moment, the characters have enough courtesy to keep their gloves on.