For those who missed out on Casino Royale, it marked a serious change in the James Bond legacy. With Daniel Craig running roughshod throughout the extended footnote to Royale in Quantum of Solace, the players involved continue to radically reshuffle the series traditional elements to bring Bond into the 21st Century.
First things first, the run-time for Quantum of Solace is shorter and the action has been turned up to its highest decimal. Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli allowed Marc Forster to turn Bond into a cold and calculating, revenge-driven spy du jour. With no rest for the wicked, Quantum finds solace in high speed chases, witty repetoire, beautiful girls and a storyline that has well-deserved its place in the Bond legacy.
Daniel Craig once again shows his physical prowness by dropping some muscle to be more lean as the sixth actor to don the 007 codename and he manages to prove that he is more than qualified to be the leading man. Picking up where Casino Royale left off, the differences in tone, look and tempo are instantly apparent. Camera zooms and quick cuts find Bond being chased in his Aston Martin by armed villains leaving Royale’s director, Martin Campbell and his vision in the dust.
Craig is still in control in his role as Bond and facing the death-slash-betrayal of his love, closure is the first thing on his mind. After traveling between Latin America and Europe, the plot is finally made clear that there is more than what meets the eye and a mysterious new power only known as ‘Quantum’ is behind a series of power plays that have made the U.S. in league with them and the Queen Mum and MI6 curiously suspicious.
At 40-minutes in to the flick, Bond has terrorized, chased down assassins, became the enemy within his own organization and tops it all off with meeting the beautiful, if incredibly vapid, Ukrainian model-turned-actress Olga Kurylenko. The Bond girl turns in a phoned-in performance, yet is fiesty in her relentlessness to avenge the murders of her family by an ousted ruthless dictator.
The action sequences were well-staged and choreographed, but seemed to echo The Bourne films with their fast-paced, quick-timed shots. In the end, it leaves little to distinguish Ian Fleming’s internationally known agent from any other franchise hero and it leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those who only see Bond as a man with a taste for fine hotels and women. Even worst that the reshuffling of the franchise did away with gadgets in favor of a showcasing the hard-edge brutality of Bond was the fact that staples in the series fell short. Vague references to his favorite drink and absolutely no, “Bond… James Bond,” introduction leave the flick devoid of any smoothness.
Quantum of Solace falls flat on style, humor and elegance with the plot more in the line of the Roger Moore pics of the 70’s and 80’s which is a step back from Casino Royale’s unique take on the early days of Bond. Fans of the flick will have no problem distinguishing from the pros and cons of this flick, but while it may be Bond-lite, the pace and time of Quantum of Solace will leave you anticipating the next installment of one of the best film series of all-times.
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