Review Catch-Up: “Quantum of Solace”

January 12, 2009 at 9:12 pm 1 comment

I know, the movie’s been out since November.  I actually did see this opening night, I just got super lazy, but a review’s been on my mind since then.  So, better late than never, right?

Quantum of Solace is the second of the new James Bond films, and the first ‘true sequel’ in the franchise’s history.  In this outting, James Bond (Daniel Craig) globe-trots to various locales in order to stop a madman from taking control of an important natural resource (no, it’s not oil).  The Bond films have never been known for their plot (at least not in a positive way), so the focus here is the action.  And boy, is there plenty.

The movie opens immediately where Casino Royale left off, with Bond capturing Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), a member of a shadowy organization that blackmailed Bond’s dead love, Vesper Lynd.  They learn from Greene that their organization, Quantum, has its hands in nearly every major organization and government.  007’s boss, M (Judi Dench) sends him to stop Quantum, which leads Bond to Haiti, Austria, Bolivia, and a few other countries.

Quantum of Solace‘s cast is fine, with Daniel Craig being more brooding than he was in Casino Royale, which is understandable, considering what happened in the movie.  Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko) continues the tradition of gorgeous Bond Girls, but doesn’t exactly bring anything new to the role.  In the end, she’s just another pretty face (her own storyline was a bit convoluted), but she wasn’t terrible (that honor goes to Denise Richards in The World Is Not Enough).  Some old friends return, like Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) and CIA Agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright).  As nice as it is to see these characters return, they don’t really do much.

Now for the ‘meat’ of the film: the action.  Here’s where I start to have issues.  The plot is hokey, but then again so are most Bond plots; what keeps me watching is the action, the gadgets, the women, etc.  You know, the typical male-oriented stuff.  Unfortunately, while the action is good, I think it becomes distracting.  Also, the action is uninspired.  Casino Royale was a breath of fresh air for the 007 franchise; it introduced more realistic action, as opposed to the more fantasy-based stuff of previous movies.  Here, it’s as if they were trying to make James Bond into Jason Bourne.  Supposedly, Dan Bradley, Quantum‘s second unit director, handled most of the action scenes.  Bradley was also the second unit director and stunt coordinator on The Bourne Ultimatum.  Watching Bond jump out of windows, run along rooftops, and crash cars is very reminiscent of the Bourne films.

Also, I thought that the story as a whole was a let-down compared to Casino.  In that movie, 007’s nemesis was a banker for terrorists, but not exactly a terrorist himself.  If Bond lost, it wouldn’t exactly be a catastrophe.  Yes, it would mean that he helped fund terrorism, but it was different from the usual madman-who-wants-to-rule-the-world stuff.  In Quantum, it’s back to that again: a madman who wants to rule the world, only this time through controlling natural resources.  And I kind of wished that this shadowy Quantum organization would just be renamed into S.P.E.C.T.R.E., a nod to the classic Bond movies.

Quantum of Solace is a very well-made and entertaining action film, even if it does rip off a lot of the action from the Bourne series.  Daniel Craig, once again, proves himself to be capable as the new Agent 007, although I sense Judi Dench is really just phoning in her performance.  My only wish for the next movie to be ‘smaller’ in scope; I dont’ want it focusing on stopping some crazy global domination plot.

8/10

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Fortress Guy  |  April 4, 2009 at 9:47 am

    I do not think the franchise really needed a sequel. I agree with you that all the plot threads are convoluted.

    After a while you just almost have to give up on trying to understand it. So the bad guys made a hotel in the middle of the desert constructed completely out of highly explosive fuel cells?

    Like you, I want to see a return of Spectre. I want a lot of classic Bond elements to return. How many more Bond movies with Craig must we wade through before getting that?

    Here is my take on the film with pics like yours:

    http://fortresstakes.wordpress.com/2009/04/04/quantum-of-solace-2008/

    Reply

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