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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Quantum of Solace

Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content.
Runtime: 1 hr 47 mins
Genre: Action/Adventure
Theatrical Release:Nov 14, 2008 Wide
Box Office: $168,368,427
Review :
The first inclination is to ask whether “Quantum of Solace” is as good, better or worse than Casino Royale? One thing is for certain, they are two entirely different films. Both have a comparable amount of action, but Quantum of Solace isn’t as interested in over developing its story thus removing nearly 45 minutes of Royale’s running time, a move I applaud and welcome. As good as Casino Royale was the first time around, it does not hold up as well on repeated viewings due to a story that is far more bloated than it need be. Quantum has no such problem as action set pieces are the story and they are quite fun to watch.

Quantum of Solace bounces from Austria to South America and everywhere in between with a certain flair. Bond is on a vendetta to get revenge against those that killed Vesper (Eva Green) at the end of Casino Royale, which quickly reveals the existence of a massive secret organization MI6 knows far less about than they or even the villains had expected. What could be the answer to such a problem? For Bond it means killing anyone and everyone in his way in a film best described as a James Bond film in a Jason Bourne world.

The Bourne films brought a certain level, and certain kind, of action and Quantum of Solace seems to have taken Bourne’s success as something of a challenge. Where the majority of Jason Bourne’s battles were fought hand-t0-hand or involving one big chase sequence, in Quantum Bond gets those things out of the way in the first scene and then moves on to boat chases, plane chases and exploding set pieces along the rest of the way. Many may see this as sacrificing story for action, but let’s face it, even Casino Royale was rather light on story, it just managed to make it seem bigger than it actually was. Bond has never been about story as much as it has been about action, and with action this good and this tightly edited together you don’t need much story to have a good time.

Just as in Casino Royale, and every other Bond movie for that matter, there are bad people doing bad things and Bond is out to stop them as well as out to settle his own score. As the villainous business man Dominic Greene, Mathieu Amalric is actually rather weak, but Bond is hardly facing off against one man in this flick. Greene is just another baddie in a long line of many. This flick is about stacking up obstacles for Bond to get rid of and it becomes a test to see how he can do it bigger and better each time around.

Quantum of Solace is the adult version of a summer time blockbuster. The action sequences have a gritty edge to them and Daniel Craig as James Bond has very little interest in small talk or any talk for that matter. At the end of Casino Royale M (Judi Dench) asks Bond, “You don’t trust anyone do you James?” He replies, “No.” She adds, “Then you’ve learned your lesson.” With this film it seems he not only doesn’t trust anyone, he doesn’t care about anyone either.

Bond still manages to get out a few choice one liners, but for the most part he is a man on a mission and it seems the goal to set him up as a hard edged womanizer with very little heart to speak of was instantly taken care of with the death of Vesper. There are no playful moments and no frolicking in the sand. Bond’s only sexual escapade in this flick is an off-screen one night stand that was handled with little care, mirroring what we are to assume Bond thinks of the woman he was spending his time with.

After 22 films there is very little left to be known about James Bond and the 144-minute Casino Royale made sure to tell us anything we needed to know about Craig’s Bond and then some as the two films play rather well together with Quantum picking up its story almost exactly where Casino left off.

Daniel Craig returns as 007 in this electrifying follow-up to the critically acclaimed CASINO ROYALE. The film opens with two gripping, back-to-back chases, as James Bond (Daniel Craig) tries to... Daniel Craig returns as 007 in this electrifying follow-up to the critically acclaimed CASINO ROYALE. The film opens with two gripping, back-to-back chases, as James Bond (Daniel Craig) tries to heed the orders of M (Judi Dench) and, at the same time, track down the people who blackmailed his love, Vesper. Bond is still struggling with Vesper's death, displaying a new, ferocious violence in his work, and a recklessness that M would very much like to get under control. When Bond discovers a massive, secret organization called Quantum, he believes it might have been a part of the scheme that killed Vesper. He follows the clues to Haiti, where he meets Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a mysterious, driven woman, whose motives seem unclear. Camille leads Bond to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Almalric), a cold-blooded businessman who appears to be working within Quantum. Greene wants control of a valuable piece of land in Latin America, and is part of a massive plan to overthrow the government. Bond knifes, shoots, and kick-boxes his way to the center of the sinister scheme, and discovers that the plot reaches even higher than he imagined, forcing him to abandon M's orders and step out on his own. Director Marc Forster (STRANGER THAN FICTION) has crafted some truly memorable fight scenes, setting them in the most elegant of locales. Everything is beautifully shot, from Bond racing across the rooftops of Italy, to his showdown at an Austrian opera house. As for Craig, he is once again all cold precision and steely blue eyes. His 007 is positively riveting. He struts determinedly into every scene, ready to display his near superhuman fight moves, or bed a bombshell with merely a glance. Yet, just as in CASINO ROYALE, Craig never lets us forget Bond's humanity. He may fight like a ninja and smirk like Steve McQueen, but beneath his impeccable Tom Ford wardrobe, Bond is still but an ordinary man, wearily battling his own inner demons.

Starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Jesper Christensen, Joaquin Cosio
Director: Marc Forster
Screenwriter: Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade
Producer: Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli
Composer: David Arnold
Studio: MGM



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