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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.32%
Worth A Look: 10.53%
Pretty Bad: 22.11%
Total Crap30.53%

7 reviews, 53 user ratings

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Quantum of Solace
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by Erik Childress

"Only A Quantum Of Casino Royale"
3 stars

A James Bond picture tends to live or die on its action and its pacing. In-between the varying set pieces, each fan or critic could be handed their own checklist on what to look for and whatís working for them. Howís the villain? Does the Bond girl stack-up? Howís the secondary gal and when will she be killed? Do I like the theme song? Is the nefarious plot worthy of our attention? Oooh, action scene. Iíll get back to those other questions. Thatís what a Bond film is Ė a series of distractions packaged within one great big distraction. Somewhere along the way with Pierce Brosnan though, Bond suffered through the likes of uninspired scripts, B-list action directors (Lee Tamahori, Roger Spottiswoode) or ones with basically no action experience (Michael Apted) and Denise Richards. When the franchise was rebooted two years ago with Daniel Craig and Casino Royale, we were immediately dazzled with the action (more brutal and exciting than ever), the baddies were more real world and Bond himself perfected the no-nonsense mold that most fans instantly dismissed during Timothy Daltonís brief stint. We could only hope that Quantum of Solace fulfills the promise of literally picking up where the last film left off. The good news is that it does. The bad news is that it has a new director overseeing it all Ė and its one of those with basically no action experience.

At the end of Casino Royale, James Bond (Daniel Craig) had seemingly tracked down the top of the organizationís food chain responsible for the death of the woman he had fallen in love with. Quantum opens right off the top with Bond outrunning some of their men as he seeks to deliver their boss for questioning with M (Judi Dench). It becomes clear that Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) is only a speck in a vast network of global conspirators that has even infiltrated their ranks. Bondís search takes him to Haiti where he meets Bond Girl #1, Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who intercepts him at another exchange gone wrong. Her intentions are less than honorable where Bond is involved, but her real target is to be delivered by her boyfriend, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Almaric), a sleazy environmental philonthropist who is in cahoots with the Bolivian general who killed Camilleís parents.

So we have two protagonists with revenge on their mind and a growing conspiracy for control of our most precious natural resource. Blood and water may mix for Moses, but for our latest savior it proves to be a tricky proposition. The screenplay credited to Paul Haggis, Neil Purvis and Robert Wade (who all adapted Casino Royale) wants the conspiracy to go deep behind-the-headlines of governments throughout the world manipulating the lower classes for their own richer profits. Worked into the simplicity of Bond stalking down an obvious target are Greeneís connections to Mr. Whiteís reservoir dogs as well as our own CIA who have their own interests in his schemes to the chagrin of conscientious agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) who was willing and able to loan our tax dollars last time out to Bond to fund a poker game. The metaphorical one thatís going on in Quantum of Solace gets minimal screen time compared to the filmís other concentrations and its inability to go all in leaves the game unfinished even with some intriguing and worthy cards on the table.

You will read much about (if you havenít already) about Quantum of Solace being the shortest in the 40+ year history of the Bond series (after Royale clocked as the longest.) At 105 minutes, once you chunk out the closing and extended opening credits weíre looking at about 95 minutes worth of screen time to stuff. And I mean stuff, since one thing even detractors of the film canít say is that it isnít action-packed. In the first 38 minutes alone, viewers can look forward to a car chase, a foot chase (that becomes a mano-a-mano), another mano-a-mano in an apartment (followed by a motorcycle trick that rivals The Dark Knightís wall maneuver this year) AND a boat chase. And thatís with the five minute credit sequence featuring a Bond song (by Alicia Keys and Jack White) so awful you may be willing to give Madonnaís Die Another Day another listen.

Action is not in short supply here. The problem, though, lies in the film beginning to lose its identity in favor of everyoneís new darling, the Bourne franchise. With co-editor Richard Pearson on hand who edited Greengrassí second Bourne feature as well as United 93, director Marc Forster and his second unit have figured they can do the extreme close-up and get away with it as long as its breakneck and ferocious. Where Greengrass somehow managed to perfect a style of action we condemned through countless attempts by hacks, Forster is now trying to keep up as if thatís the style that worked in Casino Royale. Martin Campbell had the fortune of parkour to kickstart things again but also knew he didnít have to keep the camera firmly on Craigís scour to sell an audience that it was him and not just another stuntman in the middle of the action. The opening car chase has lots of bumps and bangs but is overedited in extreme close-ups for us to truly get our adrenaline running as is the boat chase and the poorly designed air chase later on. The early foot chase remains the filmís best sequence with the finale being a bit of over-the-top pyrotechnics that will satisfy viewers even if it feels a bit anti-climactic. If you need solid proof that Forster (whose last two features were the equally botched Stranger Than Fiction and The Kite Runner) wasnít the right choice for Bond, particularly after fans were on a new high, observe the artsy opera shootout which could have been a standout in the Bond universe and instead is underplanned and overshot that is more a Forster showoff piece that only shows off his limits as a filmmaker.

Die hard Bond fans and traditionalists may find room to bemoan the lack of staples associated with their beloved action hero. Beyond there being more skin in the opening credits then there is throughout the rest of the film, the most prominence (after the action, of course) is given to how Bondís feelings are affecting his job. This isnít much of a bother to me as I thought the scenes between Craig and Eva Green in Royale was better than any of the faux sexual tension provided by Brosnan, Moore or even Connery. But their relationship was an extension of Bondís mission and didnít trump its details. In Quantum of Solace its action first, then either M or Giancarlo Gianniniís Mathis reminding Bond how much Vesper loved him and then, oh yeah, some little global conspiracy about coups and water supplies. It will be curious to see how Casino Royale enthusiasts react to Quantum of Solace. Their action palette will certainly be quenched but they may be thirsty again immediately after.

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originally posted: 11/14/08 16:00:00
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User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell ok bond flick 3 stars
3/09/17 Louise (the actual one) Dreadful, badly-directed mess with a lame villain and even lamer theme song. Bad. 2 stars
3/25/13 KingNeutron Not very memorable, and the opening song is just awful 3 stars
10/20/10 Saif A. Khan Trust me...this film gets better each time you watch it. I think it is more of a companion 4 stars
9/23/10 Dr.Lao A Bond movie with none of the things one goes to see a Bond film for. 1 stars
7/14/10 matt its grown on me. good action, good performances, just a little short and a weak-ish plot 4 stars
1/05/10 James Smith poor direction ruined action scenes. Not Bond either! 2 stars
4/25/09 David Bad. Bad. Bad. But it's predecessor was fine and the best Bond in years. 1 stars
4/13/09 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
4/02/09 action movie fan good action weak plot and characters-daniel craig is a ppor excuse for bond 3 stars
3/29/09 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
3/27/09 CTT Not bad; features Haggis' patented anti-American BS 4 stars
3/22/09 Tiimothy After the brilliant Casino Royale, this movie was a real let down. 2 stars
2/28/09 Steve Absolutely blew me away. One of the best Bonds. 5 stars
2/28/09 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
2/07/09 Jess Little plot, all action. Needn't have been Bond at all. Waste of my time! 1 stars
1/27/09 pin Good action, well acted, better than reviewed. 4 stars
1/25/09 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
1/16/09 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
12/25/08 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
12/14/08 WB5MXO Worst Bond movie ever. Choppy,hard to follow and the close up action scenes were very jerky 2 stars
12/13/08 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
12/09/08 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
12/07/08 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
12/06/08 Steven Gilpin This movie was unbelievably cool. 5 stars
12/05/08 jim Such a disappointment. Did James crack one smile in the entire movie? 2 stars
12/05/08 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
11/30/08 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
11/24/08 "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
11/20/08 Anthony Feor Quantum of Solace, directed by Michael Bay. Did anyone know what was going on? 2 stars
11/20/08 David Hey Louise, don't use big words you do not understand 5 stars
11/19/08 Bnorm I enjoyed this movie I don't really understand this amount of negative reviews 4 stars
11/19/08 mark gibson I really enjoyed it, yeh it messes with the formula but so what! 5 stars
11/19/08 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
11/17/08 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
11/16/08 Chode Pretty lame. 2 stars
11/15/08 Ed Blackwood How to get sea sick in a theater seat 2 stars
11/15/08 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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