Quantum of Solace

November 10 2008 at 10:07 pm (Cinema reviews)

007poster1It was always going to be tough to follow the much needed reboot of Casino Royale. However, that’s no excuse for poor quality. After all, this year’s The Dark Knight proved that that difficult second film in a recharged franchise needn’t suffer from the curse of the sequel.

 

Quantum of Solace begins where Casino Royale left off, although it’s not clear exactly how much time has elapsed since Bond captured Mr White. Still understandably livid at the death of his girlfriend, Bond now makes it his mission to track down and destroy the organisation he holds responsible, which is apparently called Quantum although if there were any references to this name in the film, they were well hidden. Bond teams up with Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who has her own vengeful motives, to take down the villainous Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) who wants to hold the precious water supply in Bolivia to ransom.

 

The first Bond film to actually be a sequel rather than a stand alone film, it’s inevitable that Quantum of Solace will be compared to its superior predecessor. Whereas Casino Royale worked as a rebirth of a familiar character, this is woefully formulaic. In the hands of such a talented and unique director as Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland, Stranger Than Fiction), this could have been so much more.

 

It starts off exciting enough – the standard intro sequence is a blistering car chase through traffic-choked Italian mountain roads. Following a striking sandy credit sequence and a Bond theme that’s much better than everyone says, comes an interrogation and then we’re off again on a rooftop chase sequence that’s so breakneck and yet so derivative that the film might as well be called The Bond Ultimatum.

 

So you get a chase, then a bit of talking, then another chase followed by more talking; it carries on like this for a while. After about the third chase, you realise that no amount of exotic locations and kinetic fight sequences is going to alleviate your boredom. Although the shortest of all the Bond films, it feels longer than its 106 minutes.

 

Daniel Craig continues to be the best Bond since Connery, but this material is thin. All he gets to do is smoulder, run around and fight. There are few scenes in which he shows real depth, but that is a failing of the flabby script and not the actor. Amalric convinces as a cartoonishly reptilian Euro-baddie and Kurylenko is a feisty yet fragile Bond girl, but neither character is truly memorable.

 

Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Quantum of Solace hasn’t delivered in the same way that Casino Royale did. Remember how disappointing Tomorrow Never Dies looked after GoldenEye? Not as brutal, tight or varied as Casino Royale, this still remains a fairly decent film if not a great entry into the 007 canon.

 

Rating: 3/5

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