Review: Quantum of Solace
Plot: QUANTUM picks up right where CASINO ROYALE left off, with Bond (Daniel Craig) hell-bent on avenging Vesper Lynds death. His path of vengeance leads him to Dominic Greene (Matthieu Amalric), the CEO of an international philanthropic foundation- with ties to a top secret organization known as Quantum. He also encounters the beautiful Camille (Olga Kurylenko)- whos on her own quest of vengeance, but is she someone Bond can trust- or, like Vesper, is she also in QUANTUMs pocket?
Review: I had some mighty high expectations for QUANTUM OF SOLACE. If youve been reading my on-going Bond retrospective here at Joblo, you are no doubt aware of the fact that Im a James Bond fanatic. When I saw CASINO ROYALE two years ago, I was completely blown away, and I had not a doubt in my mind that the Bond producers had found, in the personage of Daniel Craig, someone who could truly take Bond into the 21st century and make him relevant to a new generation.
Mere words cannot describe how I excited I was to see this film on Monday night. I was as wired as can be, and sure enough- when the film began mid-car chase with Bond transporting the duplicitous Mr. White, who he kneecapped at the end of the last film, to an MI6 safe house, I was sure that this film would be even better than CASINO ROYALE.
But then a funny thing happened. I began to get a little bored with the high action quota. Now dont get me wrong- I love action films- but by the time the forth major action scene began less than thirty minutes into the film, I began to get a little numb to it all. Some of the action scenes are stunning (such as another parkour inspired chase/fight near the start of the film) - but theyre also VERY hard to follow, and a little too BOURNE-like for my taste. Its obvious that the producers must have closely studied that franchise before starting work on this film- which is very disappointing, as if I wanted to see a BOURNE film, Id watch a BOURNE film!
This is really my major criticism of the film- that its not particularly Bond-like. CASINO ROYALE obviously had some other, modern influences, but at its heart it was a Bond film through and through, with all of the glitz, glamour, and most importantly- fun, that you come to expect from a Bond film. QUANTUM OF SOLACE, running a scant 105 minutes, packs an incredible amount of action into the film- but forgot the include any fun.
I really dont know who to blame here- director Marc Forster, or the producers. Obviously everyone involved was only interested in making a cutting edge action film, I dont want it to sound like Im calling this a bad film, as Im not. Its a very slick, well made action flick- but, to me at least- its not actually a Bond film- its a BOURNE clone- through and through.
Still, while Im most definitely disappointed with the film- I still enjoyed it once I accepted the fact that it bares no resemblance to the Bond franchise that I know and love. Daniel Craig is just as good here as he was in CASINO ROYALE- although he has a lot less to work with. I also liked Olga Kurylenko as Camille- the nominal Bond girl. While shes more of the Halle Berry/ Michelle Yeoh mold, in that shes a heroine in her own right, she has a certain vulnerability that these other actresses lacked in their films that makes her very likable.
That said, shes not really a true Bond girl, as theres not much in the way of romance between them. I suppose Gemma Atherton as Fields, was brought in to give Bond a little action in the sheets- but I really found this character useless, and her whole sub-plot was really tacked on.
Matthieu Amalric, as Greene, doesnt make much of an impression, as his character is very thinly written, and not given much of a chance to be menacing. Jeffrey Wright returns as Felix Leiter, but the character is strangely passive here, and doesnt serve much of a purpose. Besides Craig , and Kurylenko, I really enjoyed the work done by Judi Dench, who once again gets a large amount of screen time as M, and especially, Giancarlo Gianni- who returns as Mathis, who Bond had wrongfully arrested in CASINO ROYALE. His story arc is one of my favorite things about the film, and his final scene with Craig is probably the best part of the film.
Overall, I was very disappointed with QUANTUM OF SOLACE, as I expected an extraordinary Bond film, but only got a decent action film instead. I debated the grade I would assign to this film for days. The Bond fan in me wanted to give it a 5/10, but the fact remains that its still a very decent film- and while it didnt give me what I wanted out of a Bond, I can easily see why other people might love it.
My Grade: 7/10
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