Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Quantum of Solace

Title: Quantum of Solace (2008)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content)
Length of Time: 106 mins

What is it about?: Britain MI6 secret agent, James Bond (Daniel Craig), motivated by revenge after the death of his girlfriend, goes after the head of an environmental agency, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric). Unbeknownst to MI6, Greene also runs a terrorist organization that has more sinister agendas.

After "M" (Judie Dench) sends Bond on the mission to bring down Greene, she becomes concerned about Bond's motives and take-no-hostages approach. Bond disobeys M's orders to cease and devises his own plan, which involves rescuing Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a revenge-motivated damsel in distress, and uncovering a billion-dollar international corruption scheme. Bond tracks down each power-player and makes them pay.

My Review: 3/5 Stars. It's good, but not great. There are some on-the-edge of your seat action scenes that we have come to expect from Bond movies, such as: chases on foot and in exotic cars and boats, fearless fighters, guns and explosions, and deaths by trained and sadistic assassins. You can also expect the usual sarcasm, expensive suits, hard-working stuntmen, high-tech gadgets, an ever-present feeling of nearby danger, the usual poker-faced "007", and some upbeat music playing in the background to build up each scene... It's just not packaged in the manner we have come to appreciate in previous Bond movies.

This movie has plenty of chases and hard hits by a darker Bond. Others have compared this movie to just another Jason Bourne-type movie; and I agree. I love action heroes-- just look at my "Top 10 Favorite Movie List" on the right--but, that's not what "Bond" is about. Revenge being the motivating factor for the usually suave, intelligent, witty, ruled-by-principle-and-duty James Bond, just doesn't work for me.

Sure, I didn't readily accept Craig as a replacement for Pierce Brosnan, but I thought he did a good job with "Casino Royale". I didn't hold it against him that he didn't quite pull off the usual too-suave-to-get-dirty look because this more muscular Bond delivered some believable performances during the fight scenes... maybe more believable than the other Bonds. BUT, James Bond is not really a fighter. Bond is SMART. He fights when he has to and is very skilled at it, but he uses his mind more than anything. He usually out-smarts his adversaries.

Craig's portrayal of Bond in "Casino Royale" was more hands-on and somehow it was ok to see him a little more rugged and able to whoop some tail. However, in "Quantum of Solace", he just looked like a one-dimensional, action hero mess. The director (Marc Forster) has Craig looking more like a creature from "Dawn of the Dead" than James Bond. The action scenes depict a revengeful action hero, minus the suaveness and irresistible appeal we've grown to love about Bond.

I also didn't like Mathieu playing the villain, Greene. I never once believed he was a bad guy. Furthermore, I thought something was missing from the story. How did Camille get the scars on her back? I thought the movie would have explained this.

On another note-- I think Craig is a great actor who needed better directing for Bond or a revised script. I liked Judie having more camera time as "M" and I loved hearing everyone's British accents. It was also good to see Stana Katic from the new ABC tv show, "Castle", make a short appearance as Corinne Veneau.

My Recommendation: Make sure you watch "Casino Royale" first and let this be a continuation of that movie since it picks up one hour later. I'm afraid if you watch this one by itself, you will be disappointed. If you are a "Bond" buff and loved all the things previous Bonds represented, you may be disappointed with this director's interpretation of Bond. If you felt the previous Bonds were too puny and needed a little muscle, you will probably be pleased with the new Bond... James Bond. Just don't expect too much either way.


  1. I agree with you with some and don't with other comments. I think the director and Daniel Craig did a great job with Quantum of Solace.

    This is James Bond in his earlier years. In the books he's a rough and tumble guy.

    What I didn't like was the long and drawn out fire scene. The storyline about Camile actually drew away from the movie than added to the supposed excitement.

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  3. I HATED Casino Royale. Bond's icon is about being charming and smart. The "new" Bond is neither and leaves me cold. We watched Casino Royale but hated it. We didn't even make it to the end of this loser.

  4. I totally forgot about this movie. I shall put it in the Netflix queue.