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Quantum of Solace
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by Mel Valentin

"Call him James Bourne, er, Jason Bond, wait no, call him James..."
3 stars

"Quantum of Solace," the 22nd film in the James Bond franchise, but only the first sequel in the recently “rebooted” Bond universe, is also the first film in the franchise written and directed as a direct continuation of "Casino Royale." Even more action-focused than "Casino Royale," but more than thirty minutes shorter, "Quantum of Solace" depends on moviegoers recalling the events from "Casino Royale" to willingly follow the dramatic and emotional thread of a broken-hearted Bond seeking bloody, brutal revenge for the death of his lover, Vesper Lynd (Eve Green, seen here only in a brief flashback). That gambit, however, doesn’t quite pay off. While the action scenes are skillfully executed (if repetitive), they also hide a thin, Bourne-lite storyline involving the usual assortment of anonymous henchmen, duplicitous spymasters, and a super-secret organization bent on controlling the world’s natural resources.

Like every other Bond film, pre- or post-reboot, Quantum of Solace opens with an action set piece: a high-speed car chase involving Bond (Daniel Craig) and several unidentified men on torturously winding roads in Italy. After the narrowest of escapes, a bruised, beaten, unkempt Bond meets his M16 controller, M (Judi Dench), in an underground bunker. Bond didn’t come alone, though. He managed to kidnap Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), the man responsible for putting Bond and Vesper’s lives in jeopardy. A tied-up Mr. White refuses to divulge the identity of his employers. Before M and Bond can convince him to talk, Mr. White’s employers break him out. Concerned about this new organization’s reach, M assigns Bond to investigate this new organization. After a brief pit stop in London, Bond returns to Italy, where Bond convinces an old associate, Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini), to help in tracking and identifying the mystery organization.

Following a promising lead, Bond ends up in Haiti, where he meets Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko), a half-Russian, half-Bolivian woman and her associate and lover, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), the head of Green Planet, an eco-friendly corporation that might be a front for the mystery organization’s activities. Bond soon learns that Greene’s plans include helping an exiled Bolivian dictator, General Medrano (Joaquín Cosio), regain power in exchange for large tracts of seemingly barren desert. The next step, of course, is Bolivia, where Bond runs into Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), the CIA agent he befriended in Monte Carlo. What Bond doesn’t know, however, is that Leiter and his immediate supervisor, Gregg Beam (David Harbour), disagree on their support (or lack thereof) for General Medrano’s return to power. Bond takes time out from pursuing Greene to romance Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton), a Brit who works at the British consulate in Bolivia.

For their collaboration on the screenplay, Paul Haggis (In the Valley of Elah, Casino Royale, Flags of Our Fathers, Million Dollar Baby, Crash), Neal Purvis, and Robert Wade (Casino Royale, Die Another Day, The World is Not Enough), lean heavily covers the familiar elements found in earlier entries of the pre- and post-reboot Bond franchise: car chases, gunplay, fistfights, boat chases (no ski chases, though), Bond “girls” (often in pairs, with one suffering an untimely end), exotic locations, and larger-than-life villains with world domination on their minds. As in the pre- and post-reboot entries, action set pieces involve are big, loud, and explosive (often literally). Haggis and his co-writers give Bond a clear motivation, revenge, a motivation used only once before in the Bond franchise in License to Kill, and borrow heavily from the wrong-man/double-chase formula Alfred Hitchcock introduced in 1935 with The Thirty-Nine Steps and perfected twenty-four years later in North by Northwest.

What’s missing from Quantum of Solace is just as obvious: the clever one-liners, the sly sexual innuendo, the friction between Bond and one or more female characters, a villain with world domination on his mind, and the high-tech gadgets introduced by “Q,” the nameless weapons expert who gave Bond his new gear and carefully explained what each gadget did (more for us than for Bond, of course). Then again, the Bond in Quantum of Solace isn’t the pre-reboot Bond, except superficially. The “new” James Bond is brutal and cruel; a dispassionate, efficient killing machine. Gone are the clever (and not-so-clever) one-liners uttered the moment before or after he dispatches a villain or his henchmen. Like Jason Bourne, Bond is a man of few words, living (if ‘living” is an apt word here) by a self-destructive, ultimately unproductive motto: shoot or maim first and ask questions later (or never, as happens more often than not).

Marc Forster (The Kite Runner, Stranger Than Fiction, Stay, Finding Neverland, Monster's Ball), a director better known for small-scale character studies, seemed like an odd, idiosyncratic choice to direct Quantum of Solace. Forster made up for his inexperience in directing action scenes by hiring the stunt choreographer and editor who worked on the Bourne franchise (and it shows). The action scenes are shot with a maximum of camera angles and quick cuts. Thankfully, Forster didn’t carry over the Bourne franchise’s shaky cam style (well, he does, but only to hit certain action beats, as opposed to an overall stylistic choice). While the rapid-fire editing will leave anyone with attention deficit disorder scratching their head in puzzlement, everyone else will have less trouble in following the action scenes.

"Quantum of Solace" suffers from a shallow storyline, frenetic pacing that takes Bond all over the world for no apparent reason, a weak, underwritten villain, and the set-up of "Quantum of Solace" as the middle chapter in a trilogy (or more). Structurally that makes "Quantum of Solace" similar to the Bourne franchise, with Bourne tracking down various moles or corrupt, duplicitous officials within the CIA and rogue black ops or kill squads. Dominic Green is just a mid-level bureaucrat for the “Quantum” organization. Presumably, “Quantum’s” higher ups will be revealed in the next chapter. Although the film’s producers lifted the title from an Ian Fleming story, "Quantum of Solace" the film bears little resemblance to Fleming’s short story. Apparently, “quantum of solace” refers to the residual feeling of goodwill necessary to remain in a romantic relationship (that’s from the press release, not from dialogue in the film).

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=17375&reviewer=402
originally posted: 11/14/08 01:54:35
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User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell ok bond flick 3 stars
3/08/17 Louise (the actual one) Dreadful, badly-directed mess with a lame villain and even lamer theme song. Bad. 2 stars
3/24/13 KingNeutron Not very memorable, and the opening song is just awful 3 stars
10/19/10 Saif A. Khan Trust me...this film gets better each time you watch it. I think it is more of a companion 4 stars
9/22/10 Dr.Lao A Bond movie with none of the things one goes to see a Bond film for. 1 stars
7/13/10 matt its grown on me. good action, good performances, just a little short and a weak-ish plot 4 stars
1/04/10 James Smith poor direction ruined action scenes. Not Bond either! 2 stars
4/24/09 David Bad. Bad. Bad. But it's predecessor was fine and the best Bond in years. 1 stars
4/12/09 hawkeye impossible to make sense of..dissapointing 2 stars
4/11/09 Baloney Minor hiccups in action sequencing and pacing don't ruin an otherwise good spy flick. 4 stars
4/01/09 action movie fan good action weak plot and characters-daniel craig is a ppor excuse for bond 3 stars
3/28/09 Michael M. Boring, incomprehensible, and pointless movie. 1 stars
3/28/09 Monday Morning The Bond franchise needs to be put down. And Daniel Craig is loathsome. 2 stars
3/26/09 CTT Not bad; features Haggis' patented anti-American BS 4 stars
3/21/09 Tiimothy After the brilliant Casino Royale, this movie was a real let down. 2 stars
2/27/09 Steve Absolutely blew me away. One of the best Bonds. 5 stars
2/27/09 Sam Golden Disappointing beyond belief. First Bond movie that made me want to leave the cinema early 1 stars
2/19/09 craig this movie was missing one crucial ingredient: INVENTIVENESS. 2 stars
2/06/09 Jess Little plot, all action. Needn't have been Bond at all. Waste of my time! 1 stars
1/26/09 pin Good action, well acted, better than reviewed. 4 stars
1/24/09 matt badly paced and directed. a mediocre action movie than happens to star Bond. 3 stars
1/19/09 Jack Boring & Stupid. These nitwits even ripped-off Goldfinger. What does that tell U? 1 stars
1/15/09 Aesop Stop looking for Brosnan/Dalton/Moore/Connery. This Bond kicks @$$. 5 stars
1/13/09 Jessie I was sorely disappointed. Tried to like it, but failed. everything needed work 1 stars
12/24/08 Justin A real piece of crap. Just a completely stupid waste of time. Why Bond why? 1 stars
12/17/08 Marc N Horrible Bond movie, Daniel Craig looks like a thug not J Bond! 1 stars
12/13/08 WB5MXO Worst Bond movie ever. Choppy,hard to follow and the close up action scenes were very jerky 2 stars
12/12/08 Annie G So incredibly disappointing after CR, I actually felt a little sick. 2 stars
12/11/08 Jack Ryan Total Crap. The fun is gone from Bond. You couldn't pay me to watch it again! 1 stars
12/08/08 s close up of M applying & removing cold creme- WTF 1 stars
12/08/08 James Blonde This movie was ok but, im so sick of shaky/jerky camera action!!! 4 stars
12/06/08 Ian this movie restores purpose and place to the Bond character. cool as hell. 5 stars
12/06/08 Jared Robb Although this wasn't a charming JB movie, it was exciting. Which isn't always good. 3 stars
12/05/08 Steven Gilpin This movie was unbelievably cool. 5 stars
12/04/08 jim Such a disappointment. Did James crack one smile in the entire movie? 2 stars
12/04/08 Jerry Orchard the worst Bodn film ever. Danile Craig please go home, James Bond please come back! 1 stars
12/01/08 Jiz Stealing water from third-world countries? What happened to the GOOD villains? 1 stars
11/29/08 Koitus Ugh... Story was hard to follow; choppy editing for action scenes, too... 1 stars
11/27/08 littlered too "shoot'em up for me" 2 stars
11/23/08 "Big Brother" The DIRECTOR ruined this movie, turned what could've been just passable into plain mediocre 2 stars
11/21/08 aliceinwonderland There is only one word for this movie: BORING 1 stars
11/19/08 Anthony Feor Quantum of Solace, directed by Michael Bay. Did anyone know what was going on? 2 stars
11/19/08 David Hey Louise, don't use big words you do not understand 5 stars
11/18/08 Bnorm I enjoyed this movie I don't really understand this amount of negative reviews 4 stars
11/18/08 mark gibson I really enjoyed it, yeh it messes with the formula but so what! 5 stars
11/18/08 Richard Remington Roger Moore is the only true James Bond,the other ones are all a bunch of clowns! 1 stars
11/17/08 Louise Badly directed, incoherent plot, lame villain - very disappointing! 2 stars
11/16/08 David G A visualy imaginative, thrilling follow up to Casino Royale 4 stars
11/16/08 mr.mike Worth seeing despite a good deal of problems. 4 stars
11/15/08 Chode Pretty lame. 2 stars
11/14/08 Ed Blackwood How to get sea sick in a theater seat 2 stars
11/14/08 Darkstar Lots of action, not as good as Casino Royal. 4 stars
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  14-Nov-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-Mar-2009


  DVD: 24-Mar-2009

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