film focus

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am

In anticipation of its sequel, Quantum of Solace (due to be released in October in Britain), fans of the James Bond franchise reboot Casino Royale can catch it on the small screen tonight (Star World, 9pm).

Casino Royale, based on Ian Fleming's 1953 novel of the same name, shakes off 40 years of continuity and introduces a new narrative style to the exploits of MI6 agent James Bond (Daniel Craig, in his first turn as the iconic master spy). The first action sequence in Eon Productions' 21st film in the series (adapted by screenwriters Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis and directed by Martin Campbell) shows the newly minted double-0 agent in rooftop pursuit of an international bombmaker.

Killing his target and obtaining his mobile phone, Bond traces the criminal activity to a man named Le Chiffre. After foiling the villain's plan to destroy the prototype Skyfleet airliner and leaving him bankrupt, Bond follows Le Chiffre all the way to Montenegro, joining a high-stakes Texas hold 'em tournament at the Casino Royale to find out how high the chain of command goes.

Enter Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini), Bond's ally in Montenegro, and Vesper Lynd (Eva Green, left with Craig), a treasury agent who is assigned to look after his handling of the government's US$10 million buy-in. The usual mix of romance and danger ensues.

By general consensus, Craig is a less dapper Bond than Sean Connery or Roger Moore, but the mixture of vulnerability and brashness he brings gives the timeless character a much-needed reinvention.