CURRYBOND #17 Samrat Tandoori + Goldeneye
CURRYBOND #17 Samrat Tandoori + Goldeneye
As we depart the Summer of 2016 and look ahead to dark evenings brown leaves and far too much X-Factor, we also enter the Autumn of the Bond legacy. To make the most of the dwindling bright and warm afternoons we come to another weekend CURRYBOND.
With a host of casual CURRYBONDers and some first timers, including our youngest ever CURRYBONDer accompanied by Mum and Sophie the Giraffe, we kick things off at the Gorringe for a pleasant Saturday afternoon romp with Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean.
The Bond Leg
At last. We come to a Bond film I remember watching when it came out. Goldeneye.
Although I imagine like most men of my age, my memories of Goldeneye don't necessarily derive from the film, but from one of the greatest multi-player console games of all time, Goldeneye on the N64. Now I didn't own an N64, I was still plugging away with my Amiga 500...but playing it consumed 90% of all time with my friends in 1997. Never has sneaking up on a Russian on the bog and shooting his hat off without alerting him felt so fulfilling.
The game was so fantastically reproduced from the film that for the first time you actually felt like you were in an action film. With the same music, the same sound effects, and even Sean Bean rendered in at least 7 polygons added to the realism.
Obviously looking back now it looks like a pile of 90s graphical poo, but at the time it was revolutionary. Sadly, without owning said game, my skills were somewhat limited. Most clearly demonstrated in multi-player as I stumbled around with nought but a Klobb, whilst my rivals stalked me, crawling around as the impossibly tiny Oddjob covering the spawn locations with proximity mines and mowing me down with their RCP90s...good times.
But to the film. After shaking off the somewhat mediocre Dalton era, it's time for a refresh. A lot has changed since our last outing in 1989. The internet arrived, hackers are a thing, everyone has a computer at home, sure it' some of those giant ugly grey boxes, but it feels like the future. We've also had Die Hard, Aliens and Terminator 2. The action film, which Bond pioneered, has finally produced genuinely good films. Now it's time for Bond to follow suit.
We kick things off with a guy, who sort of looks like Bond, chucking himself off a giant freackin' damn! Boosh, welcome to the 90s Bond!
James, begins level 2 - Facility in the previously discussed toilet, clocking a bunch of Russians in the face. It's not long before Sharpe turns up, with a rifle but not his green jacket, posing as 006 to help out, "For England James!". Things take a turn for the worst when someone turns off stealth mode and a whole Russian army turns up headed by excellent bad guy General Ourumov. Before you know it the ever unreliable 006 is on his knees getting a bullet in the head. Well it is Sean Bean, he normally gets wasted in his first few scenes. Time for an escape, and what better way than to dive off a cliff, defy the laws of gravity, catch up with a falling plane, get in and fly off into the title credits. Bah, bum bum bum...enter Tina Turner!
Nine years later and time for a car chase, and we're introduced to our henchman/femme fatale Xenia (Jean Gray) Onatopp...Onatopp?....Ona-topp...splendid.
Enter feisty woman number 2, the new M played by the all conquering Dench, who slaps down the "misogynist, dinosaur from the Cold War" before dishing out the Bourbon and sending James off to "observe" Miss Onatopp.
Skip forward a few plot points and Russian bad guys have nicked a fancy helichopper and arrived at Level 5 - Bunker. We're introduced to feisty woman number 3 and our nominated Bond girl, Natalya Seminijkedeova...or something, and chief comedy hacker, Boris.
Before you know it Xenia thunder thighs (I'll get to that) is blowing everyone away, which in one of the more sadistic character traits appears to become very "happy" at the sight of mass murder. Turns out the bunker is the control station for our evil weapon of disaster, the Goldeneye...satellite. Yep, another space based death laser, which this time just sort of turns off all the power and ruins your Casio wristwatch, proper evil. Needless to say, bad guys escape with the keys to the weapon and destroy the evidence, mostly.
After a quick trip to Q branch, Bond is off to chilly St Petersburg where he meets up with Cracker himself, Robbie Coltrane as the fantastically grouchy Valentin Zukovsky.
Cracker gives up the goods and gives Jimmy a line of secretive string puller Janus. Intelligence acquired, Bond heads back to the hotel for dip in the pool and an erotic punch up with Miss Onatopp, who's weapon of choice is her mighty thighs...Bond sticks with the old fashioned gun approach and insists on an intro with Janus.
Level 10 - Statue Park. Look out for those guys with shotguns, they're a bitch.
Emerging from the shadows of the giant looming Soviet leaders appears Janus. OMG! (Spoiler alert) It's Sean Bean back from the dead! One of the few genuinely surprising twists in a Bond film. Inevitably, Bond is captured and to maintain the tradition is tied up ready for his stupidly elaborate murder. This time he's accompanied by Natalya who provides some excellent shouty acting. Inevitably Bond escapes until, hang on...captured again...balls!
Our next major set piece after the 18th escape from Russian jail...they really need to work on those security protocols...is another car chase. But car on car is no fun. Let's go car on tank this time!
That's right it's Level 12 - Streets (a somewhat underplayed title for a level where you drive around in a tank blowing the crap out of Russia), and Bond proceeds to demolish the majority of St. Petersburg on his way to intercepting Ourumov still holding Natalya who escape in the Ringo Starr shaped train...
Bad guys however have seemed to forget James is in a tank until he blows them off the tracks, but crafty Sean Bean still manages to escape in a another chopper! Bond escapes imminent exploding train with use of his crafty laser watch...man that was a bitch to keep steady with a thumbstick...
With Russia done, it's time for our climax location, let's do...Cuba, why not!? We get the oddly fast Bond girl falling in love with James bit, and then it's off to find the evil lair. Level 16 - Control (definitely the hardest one to complete on 00 agent difficulty...) we're in the remaining Goldeneye control centre with Boris, Alec (Sean Bean) and henchman galore. We get another nice confrontation with bad guy until Bond proves the pen is mightier than the sword...hur hur, and blows the whole place up with his trusty pen grenade with a little help from Boris.
Our final confrontation takes place on the antenna array with a good punch up between Pierce and Sean until the inevitable, bad guy hanging off a tall structure, scene. Alec makes one last plea, "For England James?", after planning to wipe out all the financial records in London with his mega-weapon, Bond is clearly looking after his hefty MI6 pension, "No, for me"...bad guy falls to his death. Well you would think, but it seems a 100ft fall onto concrete doesn't quite do the job...fortunately it's not long before the rest of the satellite dish falls on his face, just to make sure.
Everything tied up, Bond escapes on a helicopter (yes, another one!) piloted by a helpful henchman and drops Bond and Natalya off for some jungle fun times.
Right next up Level 19 - Aztec, and Bond is in a temple, and there's this shuttle he has to launch, and then Jaws turns up and....hang on...someone's been extending this screenplay....
So Goldeneye, one of the greatest computer games of the 90s and a pretty good film as well. An excellent first foray into the franchise from Pierce Bond, a splendidly feisty Bond girl in Natalya Sprofndjkfdiova, great bad guy and oodles of action and cheese. Goldeneye scores
Girls n Gadgets - 7.2/10
Cheese - 7.8/10
Action - 8.3/10
Overall - 8.0/10.
With the Bond leg under our belts, and a fair few beers in The Gorringe garden, thoughts drift to the impending walk to our curry venue, Saravanaa Bhavan. After not being able to book a table for our inflated curry leg cast list I make an executive, if controversial decision. I switch the curry leg to the place down the road. So, we jump to Samrat Tandoori!
The Curry Leg
Our venue therefore is a mere 20m down the road from The Gorringe on Mitcham Road. There's bold signage welcoming you in to the cosy restaurant. We pass the interestingly decorated dining booths along one side to a larger area at the back where 11 CURRYBONDers take their seats, eagerly awaiting the feast to come.
Venue Score - 7.3/10.
Everything is beautifully presented and we get the 'doms in quick smart. There are a lovely selection of chutneys and accompaniments to sample, good start.
With Bhaji's on the menu we line up enough for all to sample. They come in the crunchy ball style which tasted good but we're a little dense and clawing in the middle. Not bad but only deserving of a Bhaji score - 7/10.
With a horde of CURRYBONDers I won't go George R R Martin and spend the next 400 words explaining each course in elaborate detail. Suffice to say we ordered a whole bunch of curries, naans and rice. It all looked delicious with some splendid balti dishes and some excellent sculpted carrot. Overall the flavours were good, it was relatively mild, a little greasy but all pretty tasty. The Chicken Tikka Masala was surprisingly sweet but nice and creamy.
Food Score - 7.9/10.
Cobras were on offer and it's not long before the table is littered with empty vessels suffused with the essence of lager. This certainly adds to the bill which comes in at £196.90 which is £19.69/CURRYBONDer. So on the pricier end of the range, but we certainly don't feel overcharged.
Value Score - 7.2/10
Especially when not only do we get another plate of after 8s but all the female CURRYBONDers are presented with a single red rose, nice touch Samrat!
Overall Score - 7.7/10.
With the curry coma calling, the CURRYBONDers begin to disperse after a thoroughly enjoyable Bank Holiday CURRYBOND.
CURRYBOND #17 Samrat Tandoori + Goldeneye scores 7.8/10.
CURRYBOND will return in Yhaal House + Tomorrow Never Dies.