SPECTRE review: A few misses but some direct hits from James Bond

Daniel Craig as James Bond in SPECTRE
Daniel Craig as James Bond in SPECTRE

Matt Adcock reviews SPECTRE, the latest James Bond film

“You are a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr Bond.”

As a similar aged gentleman to Daniel Craig, I have avidly caught every Bond film at the cinema since The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977 (still my joint favourite with Skyfall). Now comes Spectre, the 24th entry into the ultimate super spy franchise. Can Director Sam ‘American Beauty’ Mendes up the ante on his incredible last effort? It certainly looks that way for the first 10 minutes as Spectre opens with a bang.

The pre-credits visit to Mexico which is in the throes of the annual ‘Day of the Dead’ festivities is absolutely breathtaking. This is Bond at his best, so good in fact that the rest of the bloated two and a half hours never comes close to matching it, which is a shame.

Spectre veers from classic Bond – with some excellent nods and winks to many previous villains, gadgets and situations which include a great fight on a train (a la From Russia With Love) and a short brutal gunfight in a baddie desert complex (better than Quantum of Solace’s) to a bit ‘meh’, the London scenes play like a lesser episode of Spooks.

Mendes is too good a director to fumble everything though and is aided by the gorgeous exotic locations, Rome especially shines by day and night and is joined by Tangiers, Austria and of course London.

My wife really isn’t a fan of the whole ‘Bond girl’ thing but Spectre at least mixes it up by giving Bond a tussle with older Italian actress Monica Bellucci (still incredible at 50) before letting James lose his heart to the jaw dropping French actress Léa ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ Seydoux. Seydoux is much more than a pretty face and makes a great foil for the still sexist Bond, putting him in his place and teaching him a thing or two along the way.

Spectre’s slightly lacking villain Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) who has a penchant for white cats and deadly gizmos is backed up by the much more watchable Mr Hinx (Dave ‘WWE turned Guardian of the Galaxy’ Bautista). Bond’s boss M (Ralph Fiennes) however is not a patch on Judy Dench and Q (Ben Whishaw) and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) are both functional at best.

Overall Spectre is a like a hit and miss greatest hits compilation which starts strong and has the occasional great track before a forgettable ending – certainly worth watching but unlikely to be anybody’s new favourite Bond movie.

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