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Quantum of Solace

2008 James Bond movie, sequel to Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig

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Bond Shakes Up the Action and Stirs Up the Thrills!

  • Mar 28, 2009

Ian Fleming's James Bond 007, the iconic movie super-agent has had many incarnations. In the character's 22nd feature film, is also the first direct sequel to a previous Bond film. "QUANTUM OF SOLACE" has Marc Forster (Monster's Ball) taking over the director's chair from Martin Campbell (who had directed two other Bond films) and received mixed reactions from critics. After the phenomenal "Casino Royale", expectations were extremely high and audiences were expecting the same quality as with Daniel Craig's first outing as James Bond. Well, being a sequel, the film follows the same formulas and further develops the groundwork laid out by its predecessor. It would be a real great idea to pick up "Casino Royale" before you see this film or you may get a little lost.

Taking off from the plot of "Casino Royale", James Bond (Daniel Craig) is on the hunt for the people who ruined his chances at love. Now, if he manages to hook up with beautiful women, catch the bad guys and foil an international plan of eco-blackmail then even better. Even the British secret service is unaware of the dealings of this secret "Quantum" organization. A greedy so-proclaimed philanthropist, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) is right at the center of it all. His supposed "green" organization is racking up barren tracts of land that may or may not be oil rich areas with the aid of shady authority figures and corrupt governments.

Daniel Craig reprises his role as the rough, edgy and very tough James Bond. His is not the Bond that we grew up with; suave, smooth-talking, full of finesse made popular by his predecessors to the role. Don't get me wrong, Craig's Bond is very charismatic enough, but his is the type that gets really dirty and has a gritty feel--he lacks the unbelievable high-tech gadgetry which is arguably part of the character's signature repertoire. This Bond is a no-nonsense kind, almost has a take no prisoners mentality driven by the hunger for vengeance due to the loss of his potential love. I rather liked this touch, seeing as we are privy to a Bond almost out of control and seemingly close to the breaking point--more human with emotional attachments much like George Lazenby‘s Bond. Now don't think that the film is a simple revenge flick, the film actually has some intricate plot elements. After all, a hero is only as good as his nemesis right? Dominic Greene's machinations may not be as ambitious as other villains of the franchise, but his schemes do hit a little close to what is happening today. It has that obtuse grand corporate scheme blended in a conspiracy of modern fear that we can relate to--dressed up as something nice is something quite wicked.

With its fast-paced elaborate scheme hatched up by the villain, Bond finds himself in a very uncomfortable position--almost playing a rogue agent with only M (Judi Dench) as the one ally he can trust. All these results in what else? Fast-paced action sequences that are done with near-excellent precision. The action has that somewhat of a "Jason Bourne" feel and it wouldn't be surprising since they were choreographed by Dan Bradley who did the "Bourne" franchise. The opening act gives you a hint of exactly what you are in for, the car chase in the opening act was exciting, quick and intense. The fights are nicely staged but somehow lacked the in your face brutality and attitude of the ones from "Casino Royale". Nonetheless, it is all very exciting as Bond performs elaborate stunts and over-the-top coolness which has been the trademark of the franchise. I do however, feel that "Quantum of Solace's" action sequences shows Bond as a sort of a super-agent, that he almost feels truly invincible. This change of tone does hurt the film a little as I was really impressed with the emotional attachments portrayed in "Casino Royale", an "invincible" James Bond does seem a little out of place when judged in the groundwork established by the previous film.

I know what you are wondering does this James Bond have a troupe of sexy beautiful women? Well, Craig's Bond has two this time around, Camille a young agent with a past who also lusts for vengeance (played by sexy Olga Kurylenko) and a member of the British consulate named Strawberry Fields (Gemma Atherton). Camille is a character quite parallel to Bond; I liked Kurylenko's portrayal of a sassy, sexy agent and aids the film‘s emotional weight. Gemma Atherton makes quite an impression even with her limited screen time--she has a potential iconic scene similar to "Goldfinger"; only this time it isn't gold but oil. Along with Craig's great performance is Judi Dench's "M". She has that sort of a "motherly" yet very direct figure that can keep Bond in check.

Is "Quantum of Solace" as good as "Casino Royale"? Well, it isn't--but I can safely say that it is a significant entry in this intended "James Bond trilogy". The film is entertainingly action-packed once it manages to hit its stride. It also scores some points on emotion as it manages to flesh out Bond's emotional journey and takes its time to settle down. Marc Forster's experience in dramatic films do come in handy, although some parts of the film felt a little heavy-handed. Plus, the film's main premise isn't really that complex and rather a little too predictable. Still, despite its flaws, the film is a worthwhile effort and does give a strong hint in the closing scene that the best is yet to come--which left me pleased.

Recommended! [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Video/Audio: 2.40 anamorphic widescreen that looks very nice up-converted to 1080p. Great vibrant colors and strong black levels. The 5.1 Dolby digital track is powerful and clear.

Extras: Music video, trailers, On location featurette, interviews with director, Behind the scenes/Olga Kurylenko boat sequence making of feature.

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May 11, 2011
Excellent review WP.
July 10, 2010
I really wanted to like this thing being the big Bond fan that I am AND that it came out on my birthday. The movie fells like it moves a mile a minute and theres too much that is culled from BAD Bond movies that I can't stand it.
July 10, 2010
I totally understand. I know you are a solid Bond fan (more than me) and you probably would have a better viewpoint on this film than I do:) Honestly, it took me 2-3 viewings to like this one. Thanks for the comment!
March 28, 2009
Nice review, Woo. I'm a big fan of Marc Forster, but it's hard to believe that he's switching lanes to action films now. I've never been much of a Bond fan and I can't get into Daniel Craig's take on the character. For me this series is just biting the far superior "Bourne" series. So, this Bond will be limited to a trilogy? Didn't know that and I'm kind of glad to hear it. Sometimes it's necessary to just let a character rest for a while before bringing them back. In my opinion Bond has been suffering from over-exposure for decades now.
March 28, 2009
Yeh. I know what you mean. Craig's bond had to grow on me. It had a new gritty take on the character; you won't hear Bond's signature music until the end credits. I do agree, the action felt very reminiscent of the Bourne series this time around--well, it was choreographed by the same guy. So far, that's what I heard. This Bond is meant for a trilogy--sort of a "Bourne rilogy" again. How'd you feel about the "Bourne franchise"?
March 28, 2009
I loved it. Matt Damon's finest work. I'm still hoping that there might be a fourth and fifth film. Afterall the novels have been continued since Robert Ludlum's death, so there are other stories to mine.
March 28, 2009
Me too. I'm pretty sure they'll bring Bourne back. I was so relieved that the role was originally meant for Affleck but he declined and did a John Woo flick instead with Uma Thurman.
March 28, 2009
Yeah, "Paycheck", a not-so-good adaptation of a Philip K. Dick story. It's funny, both Stephen King and Philip K. Dick have this weird fate of having terrible films made out of their best literary work and then the few good films are usually very bad from an adaptation perspective. Kind of ironic.
March 28, 2009
I think that's a way for fate to intervene...
More Quantum of Solace reviews
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I'm still not sure if I like this more rugged Bond, but this movie kept my attention with the action and plot twists.
review by . December 21, 2009
I've never been a Bond fan - which is kind of sacrilegious to say as a Brit named James - but the plots are starting to circle the toilet bowl. As a piece of history, Bond films seem to be a time capsule of how the British empire sees itself, preventing world domination in the 1960s and 1970s, sorting out the Russians in the 1980s (because the stupid Americans were too vulgar to figure it out), disappearing for 10 years with no explanation, and now back with confused self-confidence and working …
Quick Tip by . May 13, 2010
posted in Bond, James Bond
Great action, but horrible villain. His evil plan was a moderate increase in water prices??
review by . March 27, 2009
Any more James Bond movies like this  and the franchise is dead.  Here's what went wrong for me:   Everyone in it is hard. No softies. It's like a conversation where everyone is screaming. You need contrast to make a good movie. Judy Dench is a fine actress but, like everyone else in this movie, she's made of steel.  What  ever  happened to James Bond's witticisms, puns, and other verbal play?    I watched 20 minutes of this and turned to making …
review by . December 29, 2009
Not as good as the first but still an amazing entry in the long running series....
This direct sequel to the smash hit, critically acclaimed Casino Royale is more brutal and action packed than the first and it relies on explosives action sequences and out of control chases to sometimes fill in the gaps of the adequately made plot and story. But is this second installment in the reboot franchise bad? No way!! Is it a great sequel? Not really, but it is a good one at that.            Quantum of Solace was somewhat of a let down in the character …
review by . August 13, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Don't give a license to kill to a man on a vengeance quest. A wounded Bond, stripped of his cool detachment, is a very dangerous agent. Bond fell in love in Casino Royale - the kinetic and intense reboot of the series - and his lover betrayed him and then died violently while he watched helplessly. He needs revenge and closure. There's no quantum of solace for a mourning and betrayed Bond.     The task of this film, it seems, is to bring Daniel Craig's headstrong and impetuous …
review by . March 28, 2009
Bond on the run...it sounds like a mid-sixties spy spoof, yet this is the new darker Bond being chased by the good guys as he tries to even the score left unsettled in Casino Royale [Blu-ray].     The secret of the Bond films has always been found in the Bond girls and the chase. Here the girls take a break while James goes rogue and even M can't bring him in from the cold. But the chase, through parts of the world never seen in the series, offers spectacular action and awe-inspiring …
review by . June 13, 2009
I'm pretty shaken I know that.
I am a huge Bond fan.      This movie, a follow up to the amazing Casino Royale was to open on my birthday, and I was all set and raring to go up north and catch this movie on the Ultrascreen for a great Bond time.      To say my birthday was a happy affair would be an undertatement.      There have been bad Bond movies.  Moonraker for it's sillyness, Octopussy for it's overly complex storyline, The World is Not Enough for …
review by . August 16, 2009
I just wanted to watch an action movie. I didn't want anything serious. No puzzles to solve, no angst-ridden protagonists attempting to find reason in the Universe.     "Quantum of Solace" filled the bill perectly.     It is all action. Non-stop action.     Whatever attempt there is to tell a story never intrudes on the action.     James Bond, played to perfection by Daniel Craig, is strong, always coiled, headstrong …
review by . July 28, 2009
posted in Bond, James Bond
I'm pretty shaken, I know that
I am a huge Bond fan.      This movie, a follow up to the amazing Casino Royale was to open on my birthday, and I was all set and raring to go up north and catch this movie on the Ultrascreen for a great Bond time.      To say my birthday was a happy affair would be an undertatement.      There have been bad Bond movies.  Moonraker for it's sillyness, Octopussy for it's overly complex storyline, The World is Not Enough for …
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Daniel Craig hasn't lost a step sinceCasino Royale--this James Bond remains dangerous, a man who could earn that license to kill in brutal hand-to-hand combat… but still look sharp in a tailored suit. AndQuantum of Solanceitself carries on from the previous film like no other 007 movie, with Bond nursing his anger from theCasino Royalestoryline and vowing blood revenge on those responsible. For the new plot, we have villain Mathieu Amalric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), intent on controlling the water rights in impoverished Third World nations and happy to overthrow a dictator or two to get his way. Olga Kurylenko is very much in the "Bond girl" tradition, but in the Ursula Andress way, not the Denise Richards way. And Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, and Giancarlo Giannini are welcome holdovers. If director Marc Forster and the longtime Bond production team seem a little too eager to embrace the continuity-shredding style of theBournepictures (especially in a nearly incomprehensible opening car chase), they nevertheless quiet down and get into a dark, concentrated groove soon enough. And the theme song, "Another Way to Die," penned by Jack White and performed by him and Alicia Keys, is actually good (at times Keys seems to be channeling Shirley Bassey--nice). Of course it all comes down to Craig. And he kills.--Robert Horton
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Director: Marc Foster
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: November 14th 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis
DVD Release Date: March 24, 2009
Runtime: 106 Minutes
Studio: MGM/UA
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