My Name is Modesty: A Modesty Blaise Adventure is a real curiosity, a quickie shot in Eastern Europe in what looks like a couple of weeks mostly on one studio set with a no-name cast and the odd bit of stock footage (most notably from A Bridge Too Far) simply because Quentin Tarantino had spent so much time NOT writing his once-vaunted Modesty Blaise movie that Miramax faced losing the rights if they didn't film something fast. As contractual obligation flicks go it's probably better than Roger Corman's `lost' 1994 version of The Fantastic Four, but it still feels like the kind of Harry Alan Towers flick that premieres on an airplane.
Fans of Peter O'Donnell's books or the comic strip won't find much they'll recognise here - no Willie Garvin for a start, no Network, no spyjinks (it's an origin story) - and anyone hoping for something like the stylised design of Joseph Losey's failed crack at the character will be similarly disappointed. So will action fans: this is mostly talk, with even the final shootout taking place offscreen while Alexandra Staden and her stunt double rather less than enthusiastically take on Nicolaj Coster-Waldau's bad guy who's killed her dodgy casino owner boss and is now holding the staff hostage. Instead, most of the film is taken up with Staden and Coster-Waldau playing roulette. If she wins, he releases a hostage. If he wins, she, er, tells him the story of her life in a series of visibly underfunded flashbacks.
Still, with a lean 78-minute running time and for fans this prequel to the books does get most of the backstory right even if it updates it to the 90s. It's just a shame they couldn't do that and make something that was good in the process. An excellent set of DVD extras, though.