Stirred, but not shaken

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch

SPEC­TRE (M)

Di­rec­tor: Sam Men­des (Skyfall) Star­ring: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Sey­doux, Ralph Fi­ennes, Mon­ica Bel­lucci, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Har­ris Ver­dict: Plenty of Bond­ing, but not all of it sticks

THE lav­ishly ap­pointed Spec­tre (the most ex­pen­sive Bond pic­ture) takes 148 slog­ging min­utes (the longest Bond pic­ture) to end up as one of the most av­er­age Bond pic­tures.

Long-time devo­tees of all things 007 will be sat­is­fied enough af­ter feast­ing on this whop­ping chunk of spy candy. Less-com­mit­ted on­look­ers will wish there had been a lit­tle more last­ing flavour to the whole sweet-and-sour ex­pe­ri­ence.

In one of the great­est and grip­ping stand­alone in­tros to grace a Bond pro­duc­tion, we find 007 within the cramped con­fines of a he­li­copter in full flight.

James is hav­ing one hell of a brawl with both a fel­low pas­sen­ger and the pi­lot of the craft.

Just to up the stakes some­what spec­tac­u­larly, the chop­per is duck­ing and div­ing all over a crowded Cen­tral Amer­i­can town square.

If Jimmy doesn’t win the punch-up and take the con­trols in time, 100,000 Mex­i­cans are go­ing to get a hair­cut they’ll never for­get.

Once Spec­tre fi­nally gets down to the busi­ness at hand, some 45 min­utes of oblig­a­tory filler have come and gone. Pri­mar­ily so Bond nerds can tick off on all the stuff they ex­pect to see upon catch­ing up with their old buddy for the 24th time.

A right royal chew­ing-out from M (Ralph Fi­ennes) for be­ing a naughty 007 down in Mex­ico? Check.

Pay goofy gizmo whizmo Q (Ben Whishaw) a visit for a gad­get up­grade? Sure.

Low-level late-night flir­ta­tion with Moneypenny (Naomie Har­ris)? OK.

Medium-strength sex­ca­pade with a glama­zon (Mon­ica Bel­lucci) who won’t be seen ever again? Yep.

High-def close-ups of all prod­ucts that have paid a pile for prom­i­nent place­ment in the pic­ture? Done.

While Mr Bond still very much holds his fa­mous li­cence to kill, he also has to carry around a con­tract to ful­fill.

It is only once James has hookedup prop­erly with this movie’s in­ter­change­able ex­otic femme fa­tale of choice (French star Lea Sey­doux) that Spec­tre snaps out of its rut, and rapidly works up a few qual­ity rushes of blood.

Though the im­pres­sively-staged ac­tion se­quences vary in po­tency – a marathon round of ve­hic­u­lar park­our on the streets of Rome is a high­light, as is any com­bat scene that doesn’t lean too hard on weapons or ex­plo­sions – they never bore.

That is the job of Spec­tre’s snoozy bad-dude Ober­hauser (an un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally hammy Christoph Waltz), who spends more time vil­lain-splain­ing what he might be up to, rather than com­mit­ting ac­tual acts of vil­lainy.

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