At least you know what to expect with a Bond movie: it will begin with a spectacular chase after which Bond pulls off a miraculous escape; it will involve a dangerous megalomaniac with plans to rule the world; there'll be plenty of exotic locations, guns, gadgets and girls; and the finale will feature another successful shoot-out in the baddies' headquarters, followed by a closing shot of Bond having a snog. You know this because you've seen it all 18 times before. That said, some Bonds are more watchable than others, and this, the 19th addition to the franchise, is certainly one of the better ones. An oil magnate friend of Commander Bond (Brosnan) is murdered, and his heir, the beautiful Elektra King (Marceau), is threatened with the same treatment unless she changes the route of her father's proposed pipeline. The terrorist in question is one Renard (Carlyle), a dying, dark-eyed psycho who feels no pain. Worse, he's got a missile in his silo. Bond hotfoots it to several exotic climes, nearly dies a few times, enlists the help of an old adversary, ex-KGB man Valentin (Coltrane), and even endures a few minutes of auto-eroticism, all in the course of active duty. Midway through it becomes apparent that someone's overcooked the story with too many incidentals and locations (not to mention too many puns). Nevertheless, director Michael Apted ensures it all passes by efficiently enough. And his extraordinarily well staged opening salvo is one of the most impressive Bond sequences yet.