On Film Upon its 1999 release, The World is Not Enough boasted the longest pre-title sequence in James Bond history, which culminates in a high-speed chase along London’s River Thames as 007 bids to catch the villain’s female accomplice, who is racing away in a Sunseeker Superhawk 34 speedboat. First, Bond launches the Q Boat from the MI6 office via a torpedo shoot – much to Q’s chagrin – landing the agile machine onto the river and giving chase. As his enemy fires on him with a heavy machine gun, Bond speeds towards her and barrel rolls the Q Boat over her vessel. She unloads with a grenade launcher and forces Bond to dive his boat underwater to avoid a closing swing bridge. The Q Boat even manages a sortie onto land before launching into the river once more, where 007 again ramps off the Sunseeker, leaping onto a rope that is dangling from a hot-air balloon.
The Vehicle The Q Boat is a custom-built vehicle, designed by engineer and boat builder, Doug Riddle. The film’s second unit team, Vic Armstrong and Simon Crane, required a boat that was highly manoeuvrable and which could stay airborne for almost 90ft after hitting speeds of up to 80mph. Riddle Marine constructed a custom racing machine with a V8 engine offering up 300bhp. On full plane, the boat can operate in just four inches of water,
The Production No production had ever before tried to film such a lengthy sequence on the River Thames, which is governed by strict regulations and carries a 9mph speed limit. Over six weeks in early 1999, Armstrong, Crane and their team pulled off some of the franchise’s most daring waterborne stunt work, with up to 15 different launches and camera boats taking to the Thames at any one time. Actor Pierce Brosnan improvised the moment where Bond straightens his tie underwater.
Q Branch Modifications • Twin rear jet thrusters
• Dive function
• Reinforced hull
• Two cannon-launched torpedoes
• GPS system
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