After the critical and commercial success of the invigorating Casino Royale, a new Bond film curiously entitled Quantum of Solace, fails to live up to the high expectations brought on by its superior predecessor.
Indeed, it seems every element of Bond number 22 – from its agonising original song featuring Alicia Keys and Jack White; to its Bourne inspired action sequences – falls short of its promise of entertaining thrills, Bond style.
This is with the exception of Mr. Bond himself, Daniel Craig, who has propped Quantum of Solace onto his broad shoulders with another bravura action acting exhibition, injecting a sly emotional touch and grand physical mettle, into an iconic role which he has made his own.
Indeed, Craig has the potential to out-do symbolic Bond figure Sean Connery in the greatest Bond stakes, if given the right material, something which this film sorely lacks.
Quantum of Solace begins minutes after Casino Royale, with Bond caught in a bone crunching yet disappointingly disorienting car chase, with villainous lackey Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) wounded and tied up in the boot of his car.
Where Bond usually uses his skills for duty to Queen and country, this time out he is a man out for revenge against those responsible for the death of his love, Vesper (played by Eva Green, as portrayed in Casino Royale). As a result, the viewer is treated to a much more brutal 007, who creates a trail of bodies towards his path to righteousness.
Along the way, he joins up with an at first reluctant Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who is in the midst of her own quest for revenge against a Bolivian General (Joaquin Cosio), who murdered her family. Camille does not fit the mould of the classic Bond girl. In fact, it is a term that should be used lightly in reference to her character.
Yet, needing a female body to warm Bond’s sheets, a fellow MI6 Agent (Gemma Amerton) more than happily complies, in record time no less. She will also be used in a cheeky reference to 007 classic, Goldfinger.
All paths led to powerful environmental entrepreneur Dominic Greene, a conspicuous Bond villain that left actor Mathieu Almaric no quirky trademark or deformity to hang his performance on. Rather, for inspiration, Almaric has stated that he used former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and current French President Nicolas Sarkozy as influences. Gee, wonder which side of the political spectrum he belongs to?
Outside of revenge, a major theme in Quantum of Solace is that of trust. MI6 boss M –played by always in top form Judi Dench – looks upon Bond with eyes of suspicion, as his personal life intrudes his duty.
Certainly, the world of espionage is a cold and treacherous one, as heroes and villains converge and frequently change places. Here, screenwriters Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Oscar winner Paul Haggis place focus on the world Government’s murky reliance on big industry to allocate what is left of the Earth’s natural resources.
It is an interesting angle, but unfortunately lost in a confusing plot and Bourne-esque irritating snap editing and shaky cam. The latter in particular is a shame, when considering the hard work put into the films action choreography which would have no doubt benefited from steadier hands, which acclaimed dramatic director Marc Foster –in his action debut – does not possess.
If Foster intended to make an energetic, yet visually confusing, and nauseating Bond film, than he has succeeded.
To truly enjoy Quantum of Solace, it should be treated as a second part to a great big Bond adventure. As a result, a viewing of Casino Royale is needed before hand in order to understand the character’s motivations.
But even then, all the viewer will be left with is a satisfactory film that will leave them shaken, but stirring for more.