Quantum of Solace
(2008) (rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content) (1 hr, 46 min)
Starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright, Jesper Christensen
Director: Marc Forster
The Plot: Seeking revenge for the death of his love, secret agent James Bond sets out to stop an environmentalist from taking control of a country’s water supply.
MY TAKE (minor spoilers): As you’d expect from the opening sequence of a Bond movie, Quantum takes little time to get going, jumping right into a vicious car chase through Italy. As previously reported, this is a direct sequel, as the story picks up about an hour from the end of Casino Royale… with Bond racing to his HQ.
Daniel Craig is great again as 007, Judi Dench is awesome as usual as M, Jeffrey Wright and Jesper Christensen were good again in their limited, but important roles as Felix Leiter and Mr. White. New Bond girl Olga Kurylenko is solid as the female agent trying to conduct her own covert operation on new villian Dominic Greene, played convincingly by Mathieu Amalric.
There’s tons of action in this one – but if you didn’t see Casino Royale, you may be surprised at the style and type of action – its a lot more Bourne Identity that your grandfather’s smooth talking shoot and punch Sean Connery of the classic Bond movies. Craig’s James Bond is fleet of foot, jumps from rooftop to rooftop, dangles from ropes, shoots, punches, and jumps some more. But as we saw in Casino Royale, this Bond is also more conflicted and a little darker than the just charming and cool Bond’s of the past – this Bond has many layers and troubles that has M in a constant state of concern.
The script and character development were good as you’d expect after Casino Royale, eventhough Quantum has a different director.
Its fun to see the opening scene going through a construction site again as it did in Casino Royale… all of the action scenes were great: a car chase, a boat chase, foot chases, and an airplane dogfight.
BUT…. there are 2 very noticeable issues that set this apart from the last movie:
During the action sequences the camera is often too close to make out exactly what’s going on – yes, it puts you right in the action, but its a little jarring and distracting during chase scenes and fight scenes when the camera is so close to the action, that its confusing of who is getting hurt and who is escaping.
There seems to be a lack of connection that the audience had with Bond in Casino Royale, it could be that this Bond is darker and crass and devoid of true feelings.
But I think what really bogs this movie down is the movie’s complex plot points that are a bit harder to grasp. In Casino Royale, it was a lot more basic: chase down and catch a bomber, link him to the next bad guy, then to the next bad guy, stop a plane from blowing up, play some poker, and then chase down another bad guy – with a bunch of other action and character interaction in between. In Quantum, the bad guys’ “evil plan” is all about land rights and wildlife preserves, oil rights, and secret conspiracy groups.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Don’t read this as I didn’t like the movie – because I did like it, I just want to explain why I’m giving it a lower grade than Casino Royale. This just wasn’t the great action sequel that we’ve been spoiled with lately with The Dark Knight, Bourne Ultimatum, Bourne Supremacy, and Spider-Man 2.
I give Quantum of Solace a 7.5 out of 10. If you are a fan or have any interest in the James Bond franchise – you should check this movie out because with Craig signed on for at least one more Bond movie, this movie certainly sets itself up for a third chapter.
So what did you think? Please post a comment!
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