The limpest of the Brosnan Bonds (even if Die Another Day is the worst), trying to have its cake and eat it, with "serious" character development for Bond (presumably at Brosnan's request, but amounting to a shoulder injury that has no real place in an action franchise) and "real world" plotlines (an oil pipeline across Azerbaijan) but also a nuclear physicist called Christmas Jones and terrible jokes about premature versions of the Millennium Bug (WTF?) for cheap yuks.
Then there's a unnecessarily expanded part for M, presumably down to having prestige thesp and Oscar winner Judi Dench in the part (something that also hampers Quantum of Solace). Cast-wise, Sophie Marceau plays prickly and difficult to read, but she's better than her material. Robert Carlyle is wasted in a "We need a stock villain, who can we think of?" role. The result is a rather dour, tepid affair, only enlivened by the return of Robbie Coltrane (I like to think his character survived).
The biggest problem, though, is Michael Apted's uninvolved direction. He shows no sense of how to construct an action scene (the joins between first and second units are gaping at times), and presumably this couldn't be saved in the editing as the result is too frequently lacking in bite. We’re served up a going-through-the-motions snow chase, a going-through-the-motions submarine climax, and an interminable helicopter threshing scene complete with rubbish CGI cogs and wheels. The opening boat chase is okay, but the film only really seems to find its footing on a few occasions (the first half hour actually builds up a sense of mild intrigue, and the final scene between Bond and Elektra is surprisingly strong).