Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rough and Tumble: Big Bad Bond is Back

"As long as there's plenty of man-flesh and a good car chase, I'll be happy" I said as we parked up at the marina to go and see the new Bond film last night, prepared to be disappointed on the basis of mixed reviews. The second half of my wish came true almost immediately as a dogged Daniel Craig trashes yet another Aston Martin in the very opening scene - a rip-roaring chase sequence around a dusty, meandrous Italian town. The rest of the film continues at a similarly frenetic pace, as Bond battles to square some very personal scores left hanging in the previous installment, Casino Royale. Quantum of Solace is effectively a direct sequel, and while wounds are still fresh for our embittered hero, some of the plot details were a little hazy for those of us who had been busy doing other stuff in the two years since Craig made his debut in the role. But with all the brawling, bleeding, brooding and almost nonstop breakneck bedlam, it's easy enough to get caught up in the moment and not worry too much about the finer intricacies of exactly what is going on and why.

What I love about Craig's 007 is that he is HARD, almost superhero tough; leaping from buildings and bumping people off without a flicker of remorse. But he also bears the scars of these intense run-ins and occasionally betrays a softer underside, especially when dealing with vulnerable women. His cold single-mindedness in this particular pursuit thankfully leaves little room for the sleazy conquests of past Bond eras however. Just one (slightly unconvincing) seduction occurs towards the beginning, and even then we are spared the sordid details. The only downside to this is that there is only one, ONE (!) bare torso shot in the entire film. WTF? After that drool-inducing snug swimwear scene in Casino Royale, I was at least hoping for a cheeky glimpse of naked arse, but sadly it wasn't to be. I suspect a subtle marketing ploy directed at middle-aged housewives, ensuring that they (we) will keep coming back on the promise of more. Well it worked, dammit! Lustful thoughts aside, it was a cracking action film that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. Perhaps not for fans of the oldschool Bond tradition - no excessive sex, gadgets or puns - but for me the ideal antidote.

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