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'Quantum of Solace' Movie Review

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

By

Daniel Craig stars as Bond in Quantum of Solace

Daniel Craig as Bond in 'Quantum of Solace.'

© Columbia Pictures/MGM
Bond's back and out for vengeance in Quantum of Solace, the second Bond film with Daniel Craig as the sexy superspy. This Bond isn't the smooth operator of previous editions, but instead he's a whirling dervish fueled by rage and looking for revenge. Gone are all the gadgets and, for the most part, the sexual antics that filled past Bond movies. Instead, Quantum of Solace is all about the crazy, heart-pounding, balls-to-the-wall action.

Because Quantum of Solace is a direct sequel to Casino Royale, there's very little need to set up the story. Instead, audiences are immediately sent spinning into action with an opening car chase sequence that'll leave your heart in your throat. Director Marc Forster and screenwriters Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Paul Haggis work just about every form of transportation into one action scene or another as the production leaps from country to country and fight scene to fight scene. There are plenty of brutally realistic beatings as this Bond adopts a take-no-prisoners approach to taking down his enemies, and over the course of the film Daniel Craig's Bond looks increasingly like he's gone 12 rounds with WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko. Quantum of Solace's Bond is one hell of an angry man and not the suave spy who melts women's hearts.

Olga Kurylenko stars as Camille in Quantum of Solace

Olga Kurylenko as Camille in 'Quantum of Solace.'

© Columbia Pictures/MGM

The Story

Quantum of Solace picks up about an hour after the end of Casino Royale. Bond's lover Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) has been killed by an organization that set her up and made her betray him. Although he claims it's not personal, Bond sets out to find the men responsible. Tracking the mastermind behind Vesper's murder, Bond travels around the world piecing the puzzle together and dispatching anyone unwilling to answer his questions. M (Dame Judi Dench) even has to ask Bond to try and avoid killing every possible lead, but it's a request Bond doesn't take to heart as the body count continues to mount.

Declared rogue by MI6, Bond is on the run from his own agency but that barely slows him down. He's learned all he needs to know about his target, industrialist Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), and is off to South America to make Greene see red – blood red.

The Cast

Craig solidifies his place in the Bond universe with his incredibly intense performance in Quantum of Solace. Craig's Bond is not at all vain, appearing downright bedraggled at times. There's an emotional vulnerability to this Bond whose heartbreak over the death of his lover is etched on his face. We hurt right along with this man and we turn a blind eye to the fact he tosses all the rules aside in his pursuit of Vesper's killer. Craig's still sexy as all get-out as Bond, despite the fact he often looks like something the cat dragged in, and that sexiness is due in part to the fact there's more depth to the character in Quantum of Solace than in many of the Bond films of the past.

Gemma Arterton makes a brief appearance as Fields, an agent who tries to corral Bond's activities and attempts to send him back home to London. And Bond enthusiasts will get a kick out of the homage to Goldfinger involving Arterton after she succumbs to Bond's charms – the only female in Quantum of Solace who does so. The Bond Girl this time around is Russian beauty Olga Kurylenko who distinguishes herself from the pack by not sleeping with Bond. Kurylenko plays Camille, the woman who teams up with Bond to bring down Greene and his cohorts, as feisty and determined. It's a great performance from the relative newcomer to American films and one that's better than some of the more recent Bond Girls who shall remain nameless…Denise Richards. Sorry, I couldn't stop myself. She so obviously didn't cut the mustard it's nearly criminal.

Mathieu Amalric, who was so terrific as paralyzed French Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, shows he's just as good at playing evil. And of course Dame Judi Dench does M as only Judi Dench can do M. Surprisingly, M's the source of the few laughs to be had in Quantum of Solace. Bond's all business, but M tosses out a few witty quips to relieve the tension, and Dench's biting delivery makes even the lines that are barely funny work.

Daniel Craig stars in Quantum of Solace

Daniel Craig in 'Quantum of Solace.'

© Columbia Pictures/MGM

The Bottom Line

Bond takes part in a hair-raising car chase, leaps across rooftops like a cheetah pursuing a meal, breaks a man's neck while barely breaking a sweat, flies a motorcycle onto a boat which leads to a gunfight at high speeds on choppy water, and pilots a DC-3 while dodging enemy planes. It would be almost impossible to pack in even one more dangerous stunt in Quantum of Solace. This Bond movie seems to be attempting to satisfy action audiences even more so than it is Bond movie fans. And the downside to the number of fights scenes in Quantum of Solace is that the dialogue is clearly secondary to the action sequences.

Still, an easy to anger, eager for a fight Bond isn't a bad thing. Quantum of Solace takes Bond to a dark place, but at least it completes the story that began in Casino Royale and seemed unfinished at its end. Now that the period and exclamation point have been tacked onto the end of Casino Royale, Bond can get back to the business of bedding babes, looking snappy in stylish tuxedos, and sipping Martinis - shaken, not stirred.

GRADE: B

Quantum of Solace was directed by Marc Forster and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content.

Theatrical Release Date: November 14, 2008

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