Review: Quantum of Solace Delivers

"Easily the most action-packed Bond movie."


I'm kind of a weird Bond fan. I thought George Lazenby was a pretty good Bond. I somehow enjoyed Die Another Day's ludicrous speed and actually think it's the best of the Brosnan movies. Don't worry; I still hated License to Kill (I said weird, not insane). So make your judgments about what I'm about to say: Forget about the mixed word of mouth you initially heard because Quantum of Solace is one of the best Bond movies yet. The producers, along with script contributor Paul Haggis are doing something interesting in the Daniel Craig era -- creating a continuous story. And the story keeps getting bigger.

Yes, Quantum of Solace opens an hour or so after Casino Royale ends. This is not merely a narrative device, I'm assuming it was planned from the get-go. The plot isn't important because while the premise and some of the dynamics are interesting, the movie is more about Daniel Craig being an immortal badass. This message rings loud and clear right away with Solace's two (count 'em, two) opening action sequences. The first is a high-speed, frenetic car chase. The second, well, is kind of hard to describe. You know that part in the coming attractions where he's holding onto the rope, hanging upside down and aims his gun at the camera? Yeah, that's the second sequence I'm talking about. I'm assuming it was painstakingly choreographed with tremendous creativity. I'm assuming this because everything happens so fast I could barely keep up. And though these two opening sequences are the best in the film that is pretty much the theme of this movie. It isn't going to wait for anyone. You just better be prepared for the overload.

To be honest, I'm still not quite sure what the title Quantum of Solace is supposed to mean here. Maybe they just thought it sounded cool (which it really doesn't). But I'm not sure it makes any sense. I definitely couldn't tell you about all the ins-and-outs of the plot either. Doesn't matter. I know the basics: a secret world society, capable of destroying economies has been exposed. Their minions are everywhere; their chief officers are aplenty. And as far as I can remember, this is the first time an evil scheme has not been completely resolved in a Bond film.

See, usually James Bond is up against an evil genius bent on world domination. In the end, Bond spoils the baddie's master plan and the world is once again saved. But in this Bond film, which is definitely not my father's Bond film, only a portion of the problem is truly resolved. Things are a little more complicated in this movie and I'm assuming they are already setting us up for the next entry. This may not work for some people; it might be a little anticlimactic. But for me, this movie ended exactly where it should have.

There's been much talk about the Bourne franchise's influence over this new Bond series and it's well founded. If Casino Royale is The Bourne Identity, Quantum of Solace is certainly The Bourne Supremacy. What makes The Bourne Supremacy stand above the other two films in the series is not only the strong storytelling by director Paul Greengrass or that killer car chase in Russia ... but the revelation that everything Bourne did in that last act, he did to get to a young Russian girl to apologize. Quantum doesn't approach the relative depth of Supremacy, but it does end on a quieter, if not more (when compared to other Bond films) tender note. Bond's final line in the film is, by the way, perfect.

If you can't tell already, I found it all flavors of fun. It's less of a complete movie than Casino Royale. The Bond girl isn't as interesting and the villain is average. Yet it's far from ordinary. Like Royale, this movie plays rough and it likes to get in the ring a lot. Easily the most action-packed Bond movie I've seen, Quantum of Solace delivers. Craig is once again excellent here. But kudos also go to director Marc Foster (Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland) who shows surprising ability in the action genre. He out-Bays Michael Bay with enough quick-editing to give you paper cuts. Still, the energy of the movie never feels forced.

Go see Quantum of Solace. Not that you weren't going to anyway.

Grade: B+