Uber-serious James Bond needs licence to chill

Witty one-liners, deadpan puns and absurd gadgets were once a requisite of James Bond films.

Now, however, the comedy, which reached its peak during the Roger Moore years, has all but disappeared because the films are pitched at Asian audiences who do not understand the British sense of humour, according to John Cleese.

He was not invited to reprise his role, and says subsequent films starring Daniel Craig had the "fundamental flaw" of lacking humour, while being too full of action sequences.

In an interview with 'Radio Times', the Monty Python star said: "I did two James Bond movies and then I believe that they decided that the tone they needed was that of the Bourne action movies, which are very gritty and humourless. Also, the big money was coming from Asia, from the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, where the audiences go to watch the action sequences, and that's why, in my opinion, the action sequences go on for too long, and it's a fundamental flaw."

Cleese added: "The audiences in Asia are not going for the subtle British humour or the class jokes."

Gadgets have also begun to disappear from the latest films. Cleese's comments shine a light on the importance of the Asian market to Hollywood film studios.

The actor appeared opposite Pierce Brosnan in two 007 films: playing an assistant to Desmond Llewelyn's Q in 'The World Is Not Enough' (1999) and as Q himself in 'Die Another Day' (2002).