Quantum of Solace (2008)

Director:  Marc Forster
Cast:  Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric
Plot:  Seeking revenge for the death of his love, secret agent James Bond sets out to stop an environmentalist from taking control of a country's water supply.

Genre:  Action / Adventure
Awards:  -
Runtime:  106min
Rating:  PG for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content.

With an acclaimed director in Marc Forster (The Kite Runner, Finding Neverland), and an Oscar-winning writer in Paul Haggis (Crash, Letters from Iwo Jima), Quantum of Solace is even hyped up by critics, many of whom often lambaste the 007 franchise as a money-laundering, low-level escapist entertainment which has only produced a few gems over its nearly fifty-year life on the big screen. 

The direct follow-up to Martin Campbell’s commendable Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace picks up only a few hours after the former’s cliffhanger ending.  Daniel Craig, in his second outing as Bond, appears to be too one-dimensional, too distant and he rarely seem to bite the role firmly.  While he was impressive in Casino Royale, judging from his performance, Craig’s appeal as Bond may just be limited to a one-time wonder. 

Judi Dench reprises her role as M, and Mathieu Almaric as the villain Dominic Greene.  Both of them anchor the film better than Craig despite their considerably lesser screen time.  The Bond girl is played by a sultry Ukrainian hotshot called Olga Kurylenko, whom for a first in recent memory, does not make love with Bond, and only shares a short forgettable kiss towards the end. 

Forster is more at ease directing indie dramas than action-thrillers.  In Quantum of Solace, he opts for a fast-paced, quick-cut, shaky camera style influenced by Paul Greengrass’ 'Bourne' films.  This does not work well for Bond flicks which take pride in neatly establishing and clearly executing its action set-pieces, no matter how outrageous some of them may seem. 

Moreover, there is too much action for a Bond picture, and strangely insufficient character development for a Forster-Haggis collaboration.  The story is a jumbled mess and the dialogue and humor is stale at best. 

Quantum of Solace is sure to set the cash register ringing at a steady rate.  Hell, it will certainly make more dough than Casino Royale.  The charm of watching a traditional Bond flick is absent here and we have to go a long way back to the '90s (Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies) for that seductive effect. 

Casino Royale wasn’t only freshly entertaining; it marked a positive change in direction for the Bond series.  Quantum of Solace unfortunately brings it back to square one.  Along with Spielberg’s fourth 'Indiana Jones', this is one of the biggest screen disappointments of the year. 

GRADE: C- (5.5/10 or 2.5 stars)

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