Casino Royale (English)

Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green

Director: Martin Campbell

How strange it is that the new James Bond is blond a major departure from all the dark-haired actors who played the suave super spy in a film that is most faithful to the source material.

Ian Fleming wrote Casino Royale in 1953 and unleashed James Bond, a British spy with a licence to kill, on a world that was rapidly getting disenchanted. The film also reveals how Bond came to be the way he is, with updates text messages instead of cryptic notes, instant money transfer instead of cheques and poker instead of baccarat. The film , otherwise, remains faithful to the novel, right from the villain Le Chiffre's inhaler to even lines from the book as dialogue. Apart from being blond, the other departure is the millennial Bond does not smoke. Gone are the 70 cigarettes a day regime, which would surely kill even if all the megalomaniacal villains don't.

Le Chiffre, now instead of stealing money from the Soviets, is an international money launderer for the terrorists of the world. And though Bond's boss, M, talks about missing the Cold War, she will make do with whatever brand of villainy is on the table. Bond is supposed to defeat Le Chiffre in a high-stakes poker game and discredit him so his masters will do away with him. Treasury official Vesper Lynd is there to see Bond uses the money prudently.

So now that the story is done with, it is time to ask: Does the film work? The answer my friends is an emphatic yes.

After we have been seduced by eye-popping action sequences thanks to John Woo and Quentin Tarantino, there was always this fear that the Bond film would not measure up.

Not to worry. Starting from the amazing testosterone-fuelled chase in Madagascar and the high-speed chase involving a huge aircraft to a mind-altering climax in Venice, the film runs on pure adrenalin.

The cast is phenomenally top notch. Daniel Craig strikes the right notes as the man with the licence to kill, Judi Dench is imperious as M, Mads Mikkelsen is suitably revolting as Le Chiffre, and Eva Green is brittle and glossy as Vesper.

For perhaps the first time in the history of the franchise, it is the male body that is being objectified. The wonderfully psychedelic credit sequence features a man, and you have Craig whipping off his shirt with heart-warming regularity. Then he does an Ursula Andress as he steps out of the sea in tiny, sky-blue swimming trunks. He is also stripped naked for the infamous torture scene. Which makes one wonder about the orientation of the target audience. But none need complain because Craig has a lovely body and all that eye candy is welcome, for the customer is, after all, king!

More In: KARNATAKA | NATIONAL