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Quantum of Solace A Regress from Casino Royale

Quantum of Solace
Directed by Marc Forster
Written by Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade
Sony, 2008

Immediately, Quantum of Solace is better than most 007 films.  Just the fact that the production value and Daniel Craig’s take on Bond are more serious vaults this movie over a great many of the other 21 installments.  Being a true sequel, however, means the movie doesn’t quite stand alone.  You need a little knowledge of Casino Royale going into this, as the notoriously complicated Bond plots are already hard enough to follow sometimes.  But in the decade of a surprising number of second films being better than the original, including this year’s own The Dark Knight, to see Bond in a bit of a regress is a disappointment.

At the end of Casino Royale, Bond (Craig) hunted down a contact after his lady-love Vesper (Eva Green) betrayed him and was subsequently killed by one of her associates.  At the beginning of Quantum of Solace, Bond has this man in his trunk and is in a high-speed chase.  Once Bond gets his man of interest, Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), into a safe place, he mentions something vague about his “people being everywhere” before being proved right almost instantly.  This leads Bond to an assassin, who is supposed to kill a woman named Camille (the stunning Olga Kurylenko), who in turn leads to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Almaric), a man who in public touts environmental responsibility but is secretly buying up land and damming up water in a plotline similar to Chinatown.

Greene is teaming up with a great many bad guys with power, all, as Bond’s contact Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) says, “With fingers in many pies, practically untraceable.”  Unfortunately, Bond is using that license to kill…to kill too many people, and is being considered as a dangerous rogue by his boss M (Judi Dench), feeling that his killing is all revenge-based and not thinking clearly.  So Bond is wanted, and MI6 sends red-headed beauty Strawberry (just call me) Fields (another tremendous stunner, Gemma Arterton) to send Bond back to London.  Of course, she doesn’t have a chance in hell.  Eventually Bond teams up with Camille, who has a dead family to avenge, and the two look for justice.  Will they make the right decision and not kill everybody?

It’s your usual, classic plotline to revenge: it’s not going to make you feel any better or make your loved ones come back.  To Quantum of Solace’s credit, it doesn’t preach this and Bond always denies that it has anything to do with revenge, so the redundant message doesn’t feel like an after-school special.  There are some pretty cool action sequences here, but Marc Forster pretty much bungles their potential with a lot of confusion.  The best sequence is one where all the bad guys are watching an opera, communicating softly into microphones all around the arena, as Bond eavesdrops.

Daniel Craig continues to shine as Bond, and the revamped series has begun to give more for women to do.  Camille isn’t your usual Bond girl, since most of them end up sleeping with Bond, but oh yes, you better believe with a name like Strawberry Fields, that Bond girl does.  So it does keep some cheekiness, but it’s not gag-inducing…at least not yet.  They could always fall off the deep end I suppose.  Quantum of Solace will satisfy most Bond fans.  We can only hope it progresses after this.

Follows: Casino Royale

Next: Skyfall

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