James Bond: Quantum Of Solace

Daniel Craig storms back to the big screen as Ian Fleming’s legendary superspy in Quantum of Solace, the latest offering of the James Bond franchise. The movie is a sequel to the previous 007 caper, Casino Royale, and while not as good as its predecessor, it is still a worthy Bond adventure in its own right.

The film picks up directly after the events of Casino Royale, opening with a white-knuckle car chase through the Italian countryside as Bond brings Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) to an interrogation with M (Judi Dench). Unfortunately, things quickly go awry when M’s bodyguard turns on her, allowing White to escape. Shortly afterwards, MI-6 traces some of the bodyguard’s money to Haiti, where Bond encounters Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), the seemingly benevolent chairman of the ecological reclamation firm Greene Planet, as well as the mysterious Camille (Olga Kurylenko). Camille has a personal vendetta against one of Greene’s associates, General Medrano (Joaquín Cosio). Bond soon learns that Greene is aiding Medrano in his efforts to overthrow the current Bolivian government – and that he is also backed by the CIA, including Bond’s old friend Felix Leiter (Jeffery Wright). As Bond works to unravel Greene’s conspiracy, he finds himself cut off from MI-6 and on the run from both Greene’s killers and the CIA’s own assassins. Bond is haunted by the memory of his one true love, Vesper Lynd, who betrayed him and was then killed at the conclusion of Casino Royale.

As in Casino Royale, the acting in this film is phenomenal. Craig absolutely shines as James Bond – once again bringing a raw, emotional energy to the role. Dench’s character M’s tense, yet seemingly maternal, relationship with Bond is a definite high point of the film, harkened back to the early Bond days. Unfortunately, the character lacks the emotion he had in the previous film; he now seems almost sociopathic in a way – just a bit too eager to kill. Likewise, Kurylenko superbly portrays Camille’s reckless desire for vengeance as well as her shattered innocence. Probably the only lackluster performance is that of Amalric’s Greene, though this is forgivable considering the script didn’t give him much to work with.

Unlike Royale, action fans will not be disappointed. Quantum is absolutely loaded with fast-pace car and boat chases, fight scenes and even a dogfight between two aircraft. Unfortunately, the plethora of action comes at the cost of a good deal of emotional interaction between the characters. Indeed, the only emotion Bond displays in the film is when he holds a dying agent in his arms, which abruptly ends when he disposes of the body – in a garbage dumpster. The action would also probably have been better if it had been shot differently: the chases and fights are composed primarily of shots that cut from one to the next very rapidly, reminiscent of the Bourne Identity. However, the camera in many of the chases and fights appears too close to the action, making it difficult to tell exactly what is going on.

The film’s biggest letdown has to be the title song. The film cuts from the spectacular opening car chase to the rock song “Another Way to Die,” sung by Jack White and Alicia Keys. While it is no doubt a good song, it does not sync very well with either the pace or tone of the rest of the film.

The bottom line with this film is that it is, unfortunately, not nearly as good as Casino Royale. However, it is still a very good film in its own right and is definitely worth watching, especially if you are a fan of James Bond.

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