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Casino Royale (DVD)

Starring: Daniel Craig. I think there are some other people in it but none of them are around for enough of the film for me to remember. Oh, hang on, Judi Dench definitely crops up and, er... some girl who will doubtless never be in anything else again, and... Nope, I've forgotten...

Rated: 12

Story: Er... Now you come to mention it, what is it about?

Bond tracks down some villain who is doing some evil stock-market manipulation. He then plays poker with him at length. Then he takes a holiday. And then he sinks a house. Then the film ends.

I'm not making this up.

Comments: Die Another Day was dreadful. The plot made no sense, the jokes were desperate and the stunts were ludicrous in their search for novelty. It was like the latter days of Roger Moore. (Shiver).

Casino Royale is a new direction. Dispensing with all that has gone before, it has Bond beginning his career as an '00' agent. Moneypenny, gadgets and secret bases in volcanoes are no more. The film finally recognises that Bond is a self-centred git who uses everyone he meets for his own ends. He's charming and gets the job done but he's also arrogant, unpredictable and dangerous. Fortunately, this is a vast improvement on smug and brings new life to the franchise.

The first half of the film is fantastic. Daniel Craig takes command of the role from the start and there are a couple of excellent chases. The plot also seems to be heading somewhere. After that, however, there's a long section involving poker that's somewhat mystifying to the uninitiated and when that's done the whole thing goes off the rails. The plot fizzles out, there's some unlikely romance, Bond does some even less likely soul searching and the final action sequence is totally forgettable.

Ho hum. Maybe the next one will be better...

Conclusion: A step in the right direction for Bond, quickly followed by a stumble and a nasty fall down some stairs.

Explosions: Too few.
Poker: Too much.
Plot: Too little.
Villain: Too soft.
The beer I drank: Too cold.
Bond: Just right.

Rating: 3/5.

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