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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 brianorndorf

"007 meets his match in Marc Forster"
1 stars

The James Bond franchise isn’t known for its employment of top-tier action directors, but the series has made it this far with an agreeable roster of journeymen filmmakers. What I fail to understand is the hiring of Marc Forster to helm the 22nd installment, “Quantum of Solace.” Did I miss the kinetic mayhem of “Monster’s Ball?” The sexual electricity of “Finding Neverland?” The searing emotional complexity of “Stranger Than Fiction?” It floors me that Forster was even allowed to say the name James Bond in public, much less call the shots on this, one of the superspy’s lousiest outings. Yeah, yeah, I know: he’s good with actors. Well, good with actors with a terrible eye for action in a Bond film is a cocktail to be shaken, stirred, and immediately spit out.

After the suicide of his beloved, traitorous lover Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), James Bond (Daniel Craig) is on the hunt to find the organization who forced her hand. Under strict orders from M (Judi Dench) to keep his investigation free from a sizable body count, Bond can’t help his brutish ways, setting off around the globe to pursue Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”), a member of the terrorist organization Quantum. Teaming up with like-minded assassin Camille (Olga Kurylenko, “Max Payne”), the duo chase Greene to South America, where the concerns of oil production lead Bond to revelations of more insidious power plays at hand.

2006’s “Casino Royale” was the official reboot for Bond, stripping away the sugary gloss of the Brosnan efforts to bring the character back to the Connery golden years. It clicked beautifully, with director Martin Campbell shaping a gritty, slippery, emotionally resonate Bond film that reminded audiences all over the globe that there’s still some excitement to be had with this nearly 50-year-old film series. It was a startling commercial and artistic success, and rightfully deserved its immediate status as one of the best Bonds to date.

“Solace” takes everything that was so painstakingly built by “Royale” and burns it to the ground, and the blame falls solely on Forster, who really has no business making a film of this size. “Solace” is a challenge he can’t crack, and his desperation to survive the picture reverberates through every deadly scene and half-baked bit of conflict. The whole film eludes Forster’s skill level, a sensation that pinches the hardest during the action sequences.

“Royale” didn’t reinvent the wheel, but it gave the camera some fresh fine details of combat, the Parkour touches being especially welcome. “Solace” doesn’t have much in the way of thunderbolt action choreography. Instead, it has edits. Loads of them. To watch “Solace” genuflect to the god of blur makes my heart ache, reducing every violent gesture into a million little pieces of information, using chaos to somehow pass for ruthless authority. “Solace” has enough problems trying to trump the Jason Bourne films for fight choreography inspiration, it doesn’t need purposeful visual perplexity to gum up the works further. A perfect example of Forster’s malarkey is found at the film’s opening, in which Bond, dressed in black driving a black car, is chased by evil henchmen dressed in black driving black cars. Any audience member who can make sense of the monochromatic mayhem underneath all the breakneck cutting deserves a medal and a signed Daniel Craig photo.

Whatever swell ideas that swim to the surface during the remainder of the film are promptly snuffed out as well. Bond infiltrating a top secret Quantum meeting during an extravagant outdoor opera (the Bregenz Festival in Austria)? Inventive and sufficiently Hitchcockian. Forster abusing a stray aria to aurally backdrop Bond’s escape plan? Resembles a perfume commercial. For every one of Forster strapping visual inspirations, the film presents 10 awful ones in return, of course, cut to smithereens. A cutesy, heavily underlined “Goldfinger” callback is enough to give up on the movie altogether. So much for uncompromising reinvention.

With Forster brought on board specifically to corral the actors, it’s hard to find fault with the steely concentration going on during the film. Craig remains a flavorful Bond, it’s only that he doesn’t have much to amuse himself with during “Solace.” With Greene’s not-all-that-diabolical scheme (he’s a corporate stooge with an bizarro Al Gore imagination) eating away most of the short running time (100 minutes), Bond is left on the sidelines, only sent into the fray to bed banal Bond girls (unappealing actresses Kurylenko and Gemma Arterton fail to arouse, especially after Eva Green matched Craig so spotlessly in “Royale”), hydrate stale dramatic loose ends, and bear the brunt of Dench’s shrill performance, which removes the elegant MI6 confidence of the M character to turn her into Bond’s constantly harping Bubby.

There’s no antagonistic tension between Bond and Greene, no criminal voltage for the actors to embrace and the audience to dine on. The screenplay makes little effort to strike up any sort of combustible chemistry between the characters, preferring to invest fully in Greene’s ecological deceptions and tedious global politics. Today’s Bond film might not itch to offer a larger-than-life, hands-on-hips villain, but there should be something sinister, anything, to zero in on and treasure. Amalric is a marvelous actor and communicates Greene’s wormy ineffectiveness with twitchy polish, yet as a Bond villain, the character is a featherweight distraction. I don’t care how topical Greene and his energy-siphoning ways are. Once the climax arrives and there’s little reason left for Bond to obliterate the bad guy, there’s obviously something seriously defective within the screenplay. “Solace” treats delicious comeuppance as a burden.

Forster doesn’t know what film he’s supposed to make with “Solace” so he bungles the entire shebang in a quest to smudge his fingerprints everywhere. Positioned directly as a sequel to “Royale,” the stars were lined up here to continue the greatness that was reignited; to construct a different direction for the series that wouldn’t offer glacier surfing or Denise Richards; and to present a bruiser Bond who enjoys the sound of cracking skulls over the clinking of cocktail glasses. Instead, “Quantum of Solace” turns 007 into a bore. Even worse, he’s a bore with once killer moves that are impossible to appreciate viewed through Forster’s distorted touch.

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originally posted: 11/15/08 00:47:48
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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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