The Peking is a good place for a pre-cinema meal, because it's fairly close to the Cineworld (the other side of Hills Road, in the new Belvedere development), and the service has never been slow. It was reasonably well frequented last night (for a Tuesday), so it looks like their regulars have followed it across the city. We arrived and Hsiang (the manager, and the chef Michael's wife) was back on duty. Last time we'd dropped in, she was off with a bad back, and we'd only spoken to her on the phone when her husband had called her up.
(It's nice to be not only recognised, but welcomed. Having a chef proudly show us round his gleaming new kitchen is something we'd not encountered before. No, that wasn't last night, it was the previous time.)
This time I had the Hunan Pork, which doesn't work quite as well for me as the Hunan Prawns, because the delicacy of prawns just works so well with the fiery heat of the Szechuan chillies. (Half the fun of the dish is picking out the dried chillies, which aren't supposed to be eaten. They make up something like 20% of the volume of the dish.) bellinghwoman on the other hand had chicken with mushrooms in oyster sauce, no chillies. (A sensible precaution - she doesn't have anything like my heat tolerance, and a lot of Michael's cuisine recipés make liberal use of them.)
And then, off to the cinema, in plenty of time to get seats in the 'front' row (or rather, the front of the main block).
You know, this film has been open for the best part of two weeks, and it's on a number of screens, and yet, the 300 seater screen we were in (with the decent seats that don't fold up) was pretty near full. It may be that there's nothing else tempting to watch right now, because from the evidence of this, it's monstering the box office.
(I note that, according to the latest BBC box office reports, it took 2/3 of the total box office of the top ten films. That's domination.)
As a film, it starts with a bang and works up, with the opening scene being an unexplained (well, unexplained to us - we have not seen Casino Royale) car chase along the edge of an Italian lake (Lake Garda, perhaps?). Craig is a hard, brutal Bond, a long way from Moore's suavity, and I think the audiences prefer this. It certainly got a bit cheesy in Moore's reign, and though Brosnan brought it back towards hardness, this latest incarnation shows Bond as a thug, and that's what he should be. A thug on our side, a thug who fills an evening suit very well, but a thug nonetheless.
OK, so there were a few questions I would raise. The major one being about the quality of Bolivian building regulations, which must be written opposite to most countries' ones: it's one thing a super-villain's lair, or even a factory being a little combustible, but a hotel? Ah well.
I did like the way the film ended, though. Back in Moore's day, there'd be a big climactic battle, and then Bond would float off into the sunset with the girl. That didn't happen here - the story kept on going, and we do indeed have a feeling that there's more to come even after the amount of wrapping up in the closing scenes. I've seen a note elsewhere saying it feels like the middle film of a trilogy, and I have to agree. There seems at last to be a story arc of some form.