Monday, November 10, 2008

Quantum of Solace

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Daniel Craig Back for Second Go as 007 in Revenge-Fueled Thriller

Beyond the blond hair, there’s something decidedly un-Bond-like about Daniel Craig as 007. Perhaps it has to do with how his unassuming earthiness contrasts with the relatively-patrician pretensions of such predecessors as Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and especially Sean Connery. Be that as it may, Craig is back for an action-oriented, globe-trotting adventure apt to disappoint fans anticipating the suave spy’s sophisticated airs and other staples of the storied franchise.
For instance, instead of the peripatetic playboy’s trademark parade of a bevy of beauties, this flick finds him fairly obsessed with understanding why he had been betrayed in Casino Royale by Vesper (Eva Green), his late love interest from that picture. In fact, Bond becomes so desperate in this endeavor that he roughs up as many good guys as bad.
This development frustrates the director of the British Secret Service, M (Dame Judi Dench), who suggests “I think you’re so blinded by inconsolable rage that you don’t care who you hurt.” Then, when James continues to behave irresponsibly, his boss cancels his passport and credit cards, strips him of his license to kill and summarily calls him in from the proverbial cold, because, “When you can’t tell your friends from your enemies, it’s time to go.”
As a result, this version of Bond is a rogue agent who operates sans the futuristic firearms, armored sports car and other state-of-the-art accoutrements ordinarily equipped by M16’s genius inventor, Q, a beloved character conspicuous in his absence here. Nevertheless, Quantum of Solace does offer about double the amount of gun play, fisticuffs, foot chases and pyrotechnics, plus all the automobile, motorcycle, airplane and speedboat derring-do of the typical 007 installment. The problem is that the movie no longer feels like a Bond film when stripped of its eagerly-anticipated earmarks, but looks suspiciously similar to a high-octane Jason Bourne affair in terms of non-stop stunts and its unflappable protagonist’s inscrutable demeanor.
What does remain intact is Bond’s familiar mission to save the world from a diabolical villain bent on world domination. In this case, the creep is Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) whose benignly-named Greene Planet Corporation has for some reason been quietly acquiring ecological preserves around the planet by any means necessary.
007 discovers that Greene is a member of Quantum, the shadowy brotherhood of thieves implicated in the death of Vesper. Thus, the solution to her suicide conveniently dovetails with cracking the case. Along the way to finding answers, Bond encounters a couple of fetching temptresses in Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton) and Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a disenchanted gun moll of Mr. Greene. But he’s far too consumed withy kicking butt from start-to-finish to pause for anything more than a perfunctory appreciation of their pulchritude.
Unfortunately, Bond the bon vivant and charming ladies man who would flirt with Ms. Moneypenny and anything in a skirt is nowhere to be found. Woefully underdeveloped except for the array of exotic backdrops and the display of fighting skills, this incarnation of 007 is too busy taking on wave after wave of equally-impersonal adversaries for romance or the subtleties of espionage.
A hyperactive James Bond whose attention-deficit antics ought to resonate with the restlessness of the Joystick Generation.

Good (2 stars)
PG-13 for sexuality, violence, and intense action sequences.
Running time: 106 minutes
Studio: Columbia Pictures

To see a trailer for Quantum of Solace, visit:

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