Casino Royale (12A)

A new look for the Bond franchise comes in the impressively muscled form of Daniel Craig and, if anything, he takes the long-established franchise back to the good old days of Sean Connery.

A new look for the Bond franchise comes in the impressively muscled form of Daniel Craig and, if anything, he takes the long-established franchise back to the good old days of Sean Connery.

Craig's Bond doesn't have the suaveness of more recent Bonds, he's hard and ruthless but also a bit of a thug.

Casino Royale was the first of Ian Fleming's 007 books and this film sticks more or less to that story, albeit updating it from the original Cold War setting to the present days of international terrorism. Bond has newly been granted his licence to kill and this is his first major assignment, aiming to bring down terrorist banker Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) in a high-stakes card sting at the titular casino.

The Bond girl here is also more than just a bit of fluff, she's a treasury agent in the shapely form of Eva Green.

Gone are the gadgets and gizmoes of 70s and 80s Bond movies and Craig's version is much more visceral and brutal. The set piece action scenes rely on top-of-the-range stunt work rather than cinematic trickery and it's all a bit more brutal and grown up than we've come to expect.

In fact this new Bond is probably the one most like the character in the original books - fierce and heartless but nonetheless a hero. This is the 21st official Bond movie, in a series that has been running for 44 years and it has breathed new life into the franchise. Number 22 is already on the cards.

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