It’s hard to believe that not long ago, fans of daring secret agents and villains with odd accents feared that James Bond might actually become a thing of the past. Now MI6’s most valuable asset is back, and set to make his mark once again in Skyfall.

And make his mark he shall, on more than audiences and Javier Bardem’s villain, Raoul Silva. The first extended clip from Skyfall has arrived, providing a sneak peek at one action sequence that would make even Ethan Hunt take notice. We’d generally advise that construction equipment and high speed trains don’t mix, but this clip might be the exception.

The action set piece in question has Daniel Craig’s Bond making his way through a moving train with the help of a heavy-duty digger. The train sequence was actually one of the first things we ever learned about Skyfall, back when Mendes and Co. were scouting locations to film the sequence. Needless to say, the final result is pretty impressive, and the final shot of the sequence has been used regularly in Skyfall‘s trailers, showing Bond leaping into the crumbling train with nothing more than a straightening of his cuff.

The shot worked beautifully as a button to the theatrical trailers, going a long way to prove that Bond was back, and ready to bring a bit of swagger to the spy game once again. That final shot was enough to elicit excitement, and more than a few smirks from audiences (after all, that’s the kind of action James Bond fans know and love), but the sequence as a whole is impressive for even more reasons.

We’re always fans of directors who favor practical effects over unnecessary CGI, but even so, having a digger crushing cars atop a moving train would be one situation where we’d cut filmmakers a little slack. Director Sam Mendes is obviously committed to a stronger sense of realism with Skyfall, in terms of action, and in the film’s return to the streets of London. In doing so, Mendes makes the over-the-top, Bond-brand of action (his self-proclaimed ‘big fabulous escapist movie’) even more memorable.

The previous films delved a bit deeper into the personal trauma and conflicted heart of 007, and while not everyone enjoyed the departure, Daniel Craig has confirmed that Skyfall will certainly be better than Quantum of Solace. He’ll certainly have a larger, stronger cast to work with, including Naomie Harris’ Agent Eve, seen in the above clip. If this brief clip is the kind of trouble that he’ll be getting into (without descending into another depression) then the James Bond series might be on the up-swing.

Daniel Craig has signed on for two more films after Skyfall, but the road isn’t as well-mapped for other series mainstays, Judi Dench’s ‘M’ in particular. Ralph Fiennes is a strong addition that we wouldn’t mind seeing for more than a single film, and the same goes for the brand new ‘Q’ (Ben Whishaw).

If Skyfall can bring in new faces and still hearken back to the classic ‘escapist’ Bond movies, it would go a long way in drawing back fans who felt action had been tossed aside in favor of character pieces.

It’s startling to think that Sam Mendes might be the one to do just that, but stranger things have happened. Like this one time, we were taking this train…

Skyfall will be in theaters and IMAX on November 9, 2012.