DVD review: Spectre (3 out of 5)

Like most English guys I've been a fan of the James Bond films since I was a kid. It's easy to see why.

Daniel Craig returns as James Bond in Spectre
Daniel Craig returns as James Bond in Spectre

Bond’s the ultimate action-adventure hero. He’s suave, he’s sophisticated, he travels to exotic countries for dangerous missions and he’s (almost) irresistible to beautiful women.

When it comes to male wish-fulfilment characters, nobody does it better.

However, since Daniel Craig made the role his own in 2006, we’ve seen another side of Bond. He’s troubled by the nature of his work, he’s got a bit of a drink problem and he’s not getting any younger. In short, the Daniel Craig movies have tried to add a layer of realism to a rather unrealistic protagonist.

And they’ve been pretty successful.

Casino Royale was great, Quantum of Solace was okay and Skyfall was simply fantastic.

Sadly, Spectre (Cert 12, 148 mins, DVD) shows a bit of a drop in quality.

This film concerns Bond’s encounter with a sinister criminal organisation called Spectre, after he follows leads left by the recently deceased M (Judi Dench). Travelling to Rome, Tokyo, Austria, Tangier and London, Bond teams up with Dr Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) to hunt for the head of this evil group. Gee, I wonder who it could be?

In the background there’s a merger of MI6 with MI5 with the smarmy Max Denbigh (Sherlock’s Andrew Scott) pushing for more government surveillance.

Spectre is not a bad Bond film but it’s not a terribly exciting one either.

This is surprising seeing as the film boasts a street race through Rome, a daring downhill pursuit in a destroyed plane and a savage punch-up on a train. The movie’s huge opening action scene doesn’t disappoint either as Bond fights for control of a spinning helicopter above a crowd of thousands.

Nevertheless, there’s something lacklustre about all the fighting and chasing this time around. It could be the sombre colour palate or the grim tone or the shortage of jokes. But I think it’s that Spectre doesn’t quite blend atmosphere with thrills the way Skyfall did. We either get moody scenes or action scenes, and nothing like the mix of poetry and violence that we saw in one magnificent Skyfall set-piece.

The performances are definitely strong through with Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux and Monica Bellucci all keeping the audience engaged and interested enough.

Craig’s still great too and I wouldn’t object at all if he wanted one final go as Bond.

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