It seems old habits die hard so we’re introduced to the main villain’s voice early on, without seeing his face - again; all the viewer has to go on is his love of cats, violent fish and giving people numbers instead of names, including himself who he seems to have given the rather presumptuous title of ‘number one’.
One of his associates, number five is introduced while playing a game of chess, we can only assume from how tired he looks that this game has been carrying on for several days; despite this he wins the game and is next seen in the office of number one discussing a plan which he guarantees will not fail – it’s fairly obviously from that line of the film that whatever the plan may be its defiantly going to fail. With this inevitability in mind its slightly harsh that later in the film number five is killed for things not going quite according to his brilliant plan; though I was amused by the rather original, “kick him in the shin with a venom powered spike” method. This method is revived later by number three in a last ditch attempt to kill Bond; unfortunately she doesn’t seem to have been taught how to kick and end up getting shot.
The regular viewer will be pleased to see the return of previous Bond girl, Sylvia Trent, who still likes golf and is still a clingy psychopath and once again is deprived of spending time with James as he’s dragged away to save the world again. Nonetheless it was nice to see a small reference to the otherwise seemingly forgotten prequel.
If it’s at all possible Bond puts even less effort into seducing the women of this film, one case they are quite literally given to him. Unfortunately all women have their flaws, for example, Tania, thinks her mouth is too big and she’s too tall to be a ballerina – these negative body images issues are proof that older films are still very much relatable to a modern day audience.
We also get the introduction of the Bond’s first gadget, a suitcase with built in tear gas, money and shotgun; proof if needed that airport security has improved somewhat over the years; it does however come in extremely useful when fighting off Grant, a hand selected murder machine. Grant plays his part well, attempting to pass himself off as a cultured well-rounded gentleman only to fall down at the obvious hurdle of what wine to drink with fish.
It seems that a lot of this drama could be avoided by Bond simply getting on with the job he’d been commissioned to do, all this waiting around in Istanbul making friends and fighting with gypsies just gives everyone more time to decide how to kill each another.
I have to say this was much more of a forced viewing than the last, although I think this is possible more reflective of my own mood than the plot which was just a bland as the last film.