By Shari Phiel
Starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Gemma Arterton, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench
Director: Marc Forster
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 106 min.
3 stars out of 5
It would probably come as a surprise for most people who know me to learn that I am a huge James Bond fan. I’ve seen every film multiple times (including the one with George Lazenby), am in the Connery is the only Bond camp, and eagerly await every new release. Now I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant when the relatively unknown Daniel Craig was announced as the next Bond, but was happily surprised by both his performance and the direction of the series with “Casino Royale.”
All of which makes writing a review of “Quantum of Solace” even more difficult. Let me start by saying “Quantum” isn’t a bad movie. It’s just not a James Bond movie. Perhaps I should I say it’s not the James Bond movie we’ve all come to know and love.
The movie opens where “Casino Royale” left off – a highly unusual step for Bond films which are typically stand alone entries into the series. Bond, once again played with an appealing rough, craggy charm by Daniel Craig, is on the hunt for girlfriend Vesper Lynd’s killers. Starting with a car chase through the mountain roads above Siena, Italy, Bond delivers a suspect for questioning, which naturally goes awry. From there the hunt and the chase is on.
From Italy to London to Haiti to Bolivia, Bond fights his way bare-knuckle through an assortment of assassins, killers, and double agents to get to his target, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) the megalomaniacal leader villain needed in any good Bond movie. While hunting for Lynd’s killer, Bond discovers a super secret group of baddies known as Quantum.
Along the way, Bond picks up some help in the form of Russian-Bolivian geologist Camille, played by Ukranian supermodel Olga Kurylenko. Camille is more than the typical romantic interest for Bond. She’s a tough killer with an agenda of her own. Together they discover Greene is really stealing Bolivia’s underground rivers, sucking the country dry, and set out to stop him.
From “Goldfinger” to “The Spy Who Loved Me,” there are a number of scenes that will leave you with the feeling you’ve seen this all before. Whether you want to consider it an homage to the previous Bond films or just plain repetitious is up you.
And while all the elements are there for a great Bond film, it is perhaps Marc Forster’s direction that fails to deliver. Much of the movie feels more like another entry in the Bourne series or even the Transporter series. Long gone is the smooth, suave Bond who could disarm a group of baddies with the help of some nifty gadgets from Q, save the world and get the girl all without breaking a sweat. Oh, he still does all that, it’s just he’ll be blackened and bloodied by the time it’s all over.
Forster is certainly looking to take this new Bond in a different direction. Only time will tell if audiences want to take the trip with him. While it may not be the James Bond we’re all familiar with, he’s still a fascinating person to know and all in all, still worth the price of admission.