ACTION; 2hr 28min
STARRING: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes
Twenty-four films later and Bond, James Bond (Craig) is still suavely hot to trot, cutting to chase after logistically boggling case in a ritzy, far-flung and most probably exhausting sweep. We meet up with him in Mexico City on director Sam Mendes's lavishly choreographed Day of the Dead, where 007, as sober as a hanging judge, tosses a lowlife from a chopper after nicking his narratively significant ring. Since he wasn't supposed to be there, Bond is grounded by the new and livid M (Fiennes), to which he reacts with his usual dispassionate poise.
As Miss Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) predicts, JB is just getting started, disobediently taking himself to Rome and seductive widow Lucia (Bellucci; Seydoux is another tasty dish as the feline Dr Madeleine Swann) for whom grief is plainly not an issue. Amore aside, he infiltrates a meeting of poisonous global web Spectre, chaired by the fiendish Blofeld (Waltz). Grounded, schmounded!
If the definition of a film's success is the fulfilment of its makers' expectations, then Spectre's burnishing of a time-tested formula is surely a win-win. Just as Seydoux and Bellucci are adult Bond girls, so Mendes, Craig and their apparently tireless company take the business of entertainment very seriously.