From the opening death-defying car chase, Quantum of Solace explodes onto the screen continuing the high octane action agenda of its predecessor.

This second instalment with Daniel Craig as the inimitable Mr Bond, incidentally the franchise’s first sequel, does away completely with the genre’s predictable puns and one-liners which may disappoint some ‘old school’ fans.

But, for my money, this new style, serious James Bond is exactly what the slightly dated 007 brand was crying out for.

In this outing the story follows straight on from Casino Royale in which Bond was betrayed by Vesper, the woman he loved. Here 007 is on a mission to uncover the truth and has to fight the urge to make things personal.

Bond discovers the organisation which blackmailed Vesper is more complex and dangerous than anyone had imagined.

Forensic intelligence links an Mi6 traitor to Haiti where a case of mistaken identity introduces Bond to the feisty and revenge-hungry Camille (Olga Kurylenko). She then leads him to ruthless businessman Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) – a major player in the shady Quantum organisation.

Bond soon discovers Greene is conspiring to take control of one of the world’s most vital natural resources and, promising to help overthrow the regime in a Latin American country, forges a deal with the exiled General Medrano (Joaquin Cosio) which will allow him to take power.

Bond has to overcome treachery, murder and deceit as well as keeping one step ahead of the CIA, the terrorists and even his boss M (Judi Dench) in order to find the man responsible for Vesper’s demise and sabotage Greene’s sinister plot.

Craig is on top form again as our leading man, bringing a realistic rawness to the role both in terms of acting and his impressive commitment to doing his own stunts and fight scenes.

This story ventures into darker territory than previous 007 outings and Craig’s brooding on-screen persona is perfectly suited to this. But those who prefer more laughs and one-liners with their Bond may be left feeling short-changed.

Fresh from her Tess of the D’Urbervilles TV success, new actress of the moment Gemma Arterton is sadly underused as Agent Fields - although her untimely demise is memorably reminiscent of another iconic Bond death scene. Olga Kurylenko fares better as Bond’s ally, escaping his usual seduction, and she does her best to match Craig’s agility and toughness in some of the awesome action sequences.

Director Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball) fast-paced camerawork keeps the story hurtling along at virtually break-neck speed. Coupled with stunning locations and mind-boggling stunts it would be difficult to fault the watch-ability of this adventure.

You’ll certainly be shaken and stirred by Quantum of Solace but there aren’t too many laughs here for traditionalists.