BOND (Daniel Craig) is reportedly killed in action and section chief M (Judi Dench) pens an obituary as a political storm rages around her.

A database of MI6 assets has fallen into the wrong hands, compromising undercover agents around the world.

While M fends off sustained attacks on her reputation, news filters through that Bond has survived and M engages her physically bruised agent to track down menacing cyber-terrorist Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem). Bond traverses the globe in search of Silva and consequently he unearths dark secrets from M's past that threaten to bring down MI6. Skyfall opens with a breathtaking 12-minute pre-credits sequence, which draws heavily from the Bourne franchise.

Sam Mendes's film looks stunning courtesy of cinematographer Roger Deakins, and Adele's soaring theme song harks back to the belting ballads of Shirley Bassey. Craig has rugged physicality in abundance but his one-note interpretation of the spy who is shaken but never stirred remains devoid of personality. Mendes sensibly surrounds his leading man with an ensemble of award-winning actors. Bardem is deliciously camp and menacing, and Dench is glorious.

In his 50th anniversary year, Ian Fleming's debonair secret agent is on top form. A three-disc box set comprising Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall is also available.


Hit and Run (15)

CHARLIE BRONSON (Dax Shepard) is a nice guy living in the small California town of Milton, whose formative years are a mystery to his perky live-in girlfriend, Annie (Kristen Bell). She is completely unaware that his real name is Yul Perkins and he is a one-time getaway driver from Los Angeles who agreed to testify against his bank-robbing chums in exchange for a new name in the Federal witness protection programme. When Annie lands an interview for a teaching position in Los Angeles, Charlie throws caution to the wind and agrees to drive his sweetheart back to his old stomping ground, unaware that Annie's jealous ex-boyfriend, Gil (Michael Rosenbaum), has alerted gang leader Alex Dimitri (Bradley Cooper).

Hit & Run has its heart in the right place but Shepard's script is all over the place. Dialogue about the political correctness of a homophobic slur is outdated and a sub-plot involving a gay police officer (Jess Rowland), who cruises for partners using a fictitious smartphone app called Pouncer, outstays its welcome. Shepard and Bell gel nicely but any sparks of on-screen chemistry tend to be extinguished by the madness unfolding around them.