Quantum of Solace
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and some sexual content, 106 minutes
Wes's Grade: B
Plenty of action, efficiency make "Quantum" a solid 007 entry
"Quantum of Solace" is the latest James Bond/007 feature, and for those keeping record, the 25th overall film in the series, and also is released in 2008, the 100th birthday of 007's literary creator Ian Fleming. "Quantum" isn't the best Bond and isn't as good as 2006's riveting "Casino Royale," but it's action-packed and efficiently made, enough to make it a solid entry in the series, even though its story is a bit muddled and overplotted at times. Daniel Craig returns in his second outing as Bond and certainly channels the agent's dark side, but it's a nice turn nonetheless.
"Solace" is more of a sequel of sorts to "Casino Royale," picking up where that film left off, and Bond seeking revenge for the death of his love Vesper, even though she had betrayed him and stole his casino winnings. As he and "M" (Judi Dench, in her sixth outing) seek to uncover the truth behind her death, he is led to a mysterious criminal organization known as Quantum, led by a fake but powerful environmentalist named Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) who wants to control the water supplies the world over, including Haiti and Bolivia. One of Greene's assistants is the beautiful Camille (Olga Kurylenko), actually a Bolivian intelligence agent who's infiltrated Greene's organization seeking revenge of her own. As he seeks to uncover the truth behind Vesper's betrayal, he must stay a step ahead of everyone from the CIA to M herself before Greene gets his way of controlling the world's water supply.
Marc Forster ("Finding Neverland") takes the helm of "Solace" along with "Casino Royale" writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, along with Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis. They pack the film with loads of nifty, breathtaking action sequences, including the opening car chase, the first for the opening of a Bond film. In between, though, the plot becomes a little muddled and difficult to follow, changing locales numerous times. There's enough action sequences and the handsome Craig as Bond to watch to keep you engaged, but don't bother trying too hard to make sense of the plot itself.
By the way, the new rock tune featured in the film, "Another Way to Die," from White Stripes singer Jack White and R&B singer, Alicia Keys, isn't near as memorable as other Bond tunes (my personal favorite is still Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die"). Craig, for what it's worth, continues to do a decent job as Bond, though it seems to be the most physical and gadgetless seen in recent memory; he nicely channels Bond's dark side, but it would be nice to see him break a smile every now and then to lighten it up a bit. Dench is always a treat, though Amalric makes for too bland a villian.
Of the Bond girls, Kurulenko, just seen in the recent "Max Payne," is pretty, though Gemma Arterton is much more fun as special agent Strawberry Fields (her demise in the film is a direct nod to the classic Bond film "Goldfinger").
"Solace" will please most Bond fans and it's worth a look, but for a real trip down memory lane, it may be worth it check out some classic Bonds such as "Dr. No," "Goldfinger" and "Live and Let Die."