Within the first few minutes of Bond’s new adventure, the audience is treated to a spirited car chase and gun battle, which end with a spectacular body count and begin where Casino Royale left off. Quantum of Solace is the 22nd installment of the James Bond franchise and the first direct sequel of the bunch.
Although this particular film is disappointingly short and the plot is relatively simple, Quantum of Solace provides a thrilling ride that is intense, yet oddly poignant at times.
Daniel Craig returns in the role just as coolly efficient and gritty as before, much unlike previous actors who portrayed Agent Bond as the iconic character who flirted every time he could manage, used the latest in odd gadgetry and turned the dry martini into a cliché. Hot on the trail of a newly discovered organization of sinister business corporations, Bond’s investigations take him from the picturesque mountains of Italy to the slums of Haiti. Going along for the ride is Bolivian secret agent Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko), a damsel with a fairly noticeable chip on her shoulder and her share of scars.
Also returning to the cast is the matron-like Judi Dench as “M.” Most of the dryly-comical quips come from her conversations with Bond and other characters alike, and it’s a wonder she doesn’t get more screen time.
Mathieu Amalric is added to the long line of Bond villains in the form of Dominic Greene, an eco-friendly business tycoon who seems to have no qualms about negotiating government coups to secure more business under the table. Though the character is suitably sinister and cruel, a good bit of the storyline seems to revolve around the necessary evils that governments take to obtain oil. There’s not really much else to distinguish Greene from other iconic Bond villains, like Goldfinger or Blofeld, but then again, the new breed seems to do away with some of the more overblown, silly aspects of the older movies.
As far as the good, action-packed bits of the movie go, some of the chase and gunfight scenes seem to degenerate into lightning-fast cutaways and shaky camerawork that appears to be getting more popular these days. Unless you happen to prefer that sort of visual pacing or have an incredibly quick eye, it’s often difficult to know exactly what’s going on during a gunfight sequence. On the other hand, Craig does a fair job of handling himself in these rapidly-moving scenes, looking decidedly cool and collected while racking up the body count. That’s not to say that his role is only relegated to killing off henchmen and verbal sparring with the villain, as Craig has his tender moments, whether it’s quietly lamenting over his deceased lover, or comforting a dying friend in his arms. But then we get right back to Bond as usual, especially when the friend-turned-corpse gets tossed into a dumpster only seconds later.
All in all, Quantum of Solace is a good way to get your blood pumping if you’re looking for fast, hard-hitting thrills and spot-on acting. Many of the key ideas that make up James Bond remain, while some of the sillier aspects are gone and done with. A trilogy is all but certain as the new generation of Bond movies revolves around the shadowy organization. In the meantime, this latest installment in the classic spy franchise is certainly worth a viewing.