Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Quantum of Solace

It's a beat-up Bond we meet in Daniel Craig's second 007 picture. And he has 3 women with him: the irrepressible M (Judi Dench), Bolivian beauty Camille (Olga Kurylenko), and British Consulate administrator Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton).

The plot is a little loose (which translates to, we didn't know what the hell was happening half the time). But, if you must know -- sandwiched in between the car chases, the motorcycle chases, the foot chases, and the boat chases, not to mention the air chases -- we catch up with Bond right after his love Vesper has been killed. She betrayed him, but that doesn't stop him from chasing down her killer. In his pursuit of uncovering the truth, he discovers Dominic Greene, a ruthless businessman within the mysterious group known only as 'Quantum.' Greene is suspected of taking over the world's supply of oil by substituting his own dictator in Bolivia. Somehow Bond's pursuit of Greene gets personal, and M orders him back in....only to find out that 007 isn't exactly following her orders any more.

Dench's M has a really meaty part this time around, as the film explores her relationship with Bond a little more, a relationship we find really intriguing. And she has the best lines.

M: "If you could avoid killing every possible lead, it would be deeply appreciated."

The second woman, Olga, is interesting. It's not a love relationship she has with Bond, which is surprising. Her own motives are in hiding until the end. Miss Fields, however, is just an eye-candy waste of time; however, her demise gives a slight nod to Goldfinger.

Bond is damaged goods, something everyone else except Bond is keenly aware. Bond's answer to that is to go straight at whatever is in front of him, no finesse required. He bounces off walls; he flies over cars. Quantum is an amazing action film as a result. Some of the scenes are so quickly edited that it's hard to figure out what exactly is going on. The first car chase is like that. Still, you get the sense that he lives on adrenaline, that there's really nothing else. And that's the story here.

There really isn't another story. The plot is thinly written, unlike Casino Royale, where layers were put on and shed, puzzles slowly revealed. The villain Greene (actor Mathieu Amalric) is just plain boring. Imagine a Bond villain without a cat or iron teeth. Something. Anything would help.

But in the end, we have Daniel Craig as Bond, the best Bond in my opinion. And we have his growing relationship with M. We also have the best action scenes in the business. And that's enough for this Bond fan.

Thumb's up.

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At 11:41 PM, Blogger Patti said...

haven't seen this one yet, but in the last go-round mr. craig did not convert me from the staunch sean connery loyalist i have always been. ya can't be bond if you don't look comfortable in your tux...

At 10:31 AM, Blogger Melinda said...

I've heard that this film isn't as good as the first Daniel Craig Bond, but it's on my list at NetFlix simply because I love Bond films and Daniel Craig is great as Bond, period. Thanks for this review!


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