QUANTUM OF SOLACE

There really isn’t any need for another “Quantum of Solace” review. Honestly, with all the reviews on this site as well as the countless others, its really unnecessary. If anyone wants another “Quantum of Solace” review, they’re obviously so Bond obsessive they deserve some type of intervention and serious medication.

Oh, what the hell, why not?

Once again Bond is back, in a film that take place mere minutes after “Casino Royale” and barely stops for a breath of air. After a harrowing car chase, Bond delivers Mr. White to M–only to have the interrogation go horribly wrong. The M16 team is wiped out and M is narrowly killed. But not before Mr. White alludes to a mysterious organization called QUANTUM, with roots practically everywhere. After the gunshots faded and the dust settles, Bond vows to hunt down M’s would-be assasins, fueled by the pain of his recent loss of Vesper. He finds himself not only opposed by the shadowy QUANTUM, but by their operative Dominic Greene and his plan to corner the world’s water supply.

The main and only flaw is the storyline created to Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade; while they succeed in weaving a terrific movie out of a short story by Ian Fleming devoid of action or espionage; their script appears to lean heavily on elaborate action sequences and gives the story the short shift. Exactly who QUANTUM is or how far their tentacles reach is never really explored, they exist and they’re bad so that’s all that matters. Greene is shown to be a fraudulent environmentalist plotting to horde Earth’s water, but a little more details to his plot might be nice–as well as some more scenes of his machinations to destabilize Bolivia. But for the scripters that is just an irrelevent detail, he’s there and he’s got a plan an nasty connect, so that’s all that matters. Felix Leiter seems to have been shafted on screen time, as Bond’s seemingly only ally he might have stuck around longer. The CIA subplot involving the agency’s alliance with Greene might have been further developed, but that falls by the wayside also. 

Of course there’s plenty of gems in the script by Haggis, Purvis, and Wade. Their Bond is no longer a roguish playboy with  an easy quip and plenty of charm for the ladies. This is a Bond pushed to his breaking point, tragically wounded by the death of Vesper and in a red fury over the attempt on M. “Quantum of Solace”‘s Bond is the definative Bond–hell bent and unstoppably driven. People he’s loved have been hurt and killed, so its time to leave to gadgets at home and exactly vengeance without mercy. Vodka martini shaken, not stirred? Give this Bond a loaded Walther PPK and he’s ready to go. Of all the versions of James Bond, this is the most accesible; he can be emotionally hurt like the rest of us and feels hate and rage like anyone else in his situation would. The writers have spared no chance for an extravagant action sequences, it seems there can’t even be a minor fistcuff without something crashing, exploding, or breaking several panes of glass. Dean Bailey and his fellow stunt coordinators must have gone without sleep for weeks to accomplish it all, but they do a marvelous job. The frequent fight scenes are an amazingly kinectic spectacle, as jarring as adrenaline fueled and truly what holds the film together.

In just two films, Daniel Craig has done the impossible by simply owning the role of James Bond in such a short time. His James Bond is larger than life–yet so human times with the frailties ordinary people possess. Punch Craig’s Bond, and he’ll bleed. Hurt someone he cares for, and it’ll tear his heart out–but God help the person foolish enough to do that and face Bond’s white hot fury. But at the same time, Craig’s Bond can be quite compassionate and at times almost like an understanding older brother. Those character contradictions made this Bond a superhero and a mere mortal at the time, and all the more reason for the audience to love him. In a lesser role but equally good is Dame Judi Dench as M; possibly the closest thing to a mother Bond has ever known. Dench projects a role of stern dignity, giving Bond a brand of tough love that he responds to. Little wonder that this dignified older woman is the only person who can corral MI6’s biggest loose cannon. In the role of villian Dominic Greene, Matthiu  Almaric is excellent as a man whose face says all the right words, while the rest of him practically leaves a trail of slime wherever he goes.

In his action debut, director Marc Foster is superb. Considering his previous experience with action was a love scene involving Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thorton, he manages to jump into the deep end of the pool and swim while avoiding all the hungry sharks. Foster imbues “Quantum of Solace” with a breathless speed, that rips by so quickly you barely notice any flaws in the film. With Foster’s next project being “World War Z”, zombie fans should count the days until a spectacle that should rival the best of George Romero.

The lastest Bond is by no means perfect, but with all the rapid fire action scenes and a supersonic pacing you won’t notice. The 21st Century has brought us a new Bond unlike anything we’ve been shown before. Let’s hope he stick around, he’s more than welcome to stay.                         

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