QUANTUM OF SOLACE: More Bourne Than Bond
QUANTUM OF SOLACE (007 thriller)
Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Arterton, Mathieu Amalric, Olga Kurylenko and Paul Haggis
Director: Marc Forster
Time: 105 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: Just as we had expected, James Bond is going the way or Jason Bourne - with its tough unrelenting action and stunts, and less of its wit, humour and the 007 Brit tradition. 'Quantum of Solace' is the first of the 22 Bond movies where the plot continues from the last instalment, giving it a rare sense of purpose and grounding the franchise in modern-day reality.
This instalment discards the usual Bond one-liners, the travelogue sequences, and the Q and Moneypenny gags. It is also the shortest film yet, clocking in at only 105 minutes.
THE SKINNY: 'Quantum Of Solace' hits the ground running as it takes off right from the end of 'Casino Royale', the last Bond movie starring Daniel Craig. After the death of his girlfriend, Vesper Lynd, Bond mixes duty with revenge as he hunts down the shadowy group that blackmailed Lynd into betraying him. A link to a Haiti bank account leads Agent 007 to Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) chief villain and ruthless tycoon.
Greene plans to destabilise a South American regime, install a dictator, General Medrano (Joaquin Cosio), and take control of the biggest source of fresh water in the world. This sounds more like a plot from 'Get Smart' or 'Austin Powers' than from Ian Fleming's books but then who are we to complain?
HITS & MISSES: Director Marc Forster seems very eager to get from one action sequence to the next, taking no time for espionage antics. Admittedly, I miss the fabulous Bond gadgets and eye candy girls that coloured the previous instalments. Still, Gemma Arterton’s sexy Agent Field and Olga Kurylenko’s slender-but-tough beauty, Camille, are no slouches either. They definitely work for their salary. Craig, unlike Matt Damon's Bourne, is too deadpan and business-like to get us to cheer for him although that's the intended character-development in 'Q of S'.
"When you can’t tell your friends from your enemies it’s time to go,” MI6 boss M (Judi Dench) admonishes. Yes, part of the old Bond seems to have been gone for good as the line between friends and enemies blurs. Bond fans may need time to get used to this, though.
THE LOWDOWN: A functional sequel to 'Casino Royale' but not very Bondlike.