Saturday, November 15, 2008

Review - Quantum of Solace

James Bond, the 007 agent sets out on a very personal and dangerous mission in hopes to uncover the the truth behind Vespar's death. Along his globe-trotting mission, Bond is led to Dominic Greene, a ruthless business man who is a major force in the very secret organization Quantum. Bond finds himself persuing old allies while making some new friends, ultimately trying to stay one step ahead of the CIA and the British government. Ultimately, James Bond will stop at nothing to uncover the mastermind plan of the secret group who blackmailed Vespar.

In the first ever direct sequel to a Bond film, Marc Foster relies heavily on action and brutality instead of story and character development. All previous Bond films have never followed eachother with interlocking stories, but here in Quantum of Solace, Foster continues with the story and betrayal from the widely popular Casino Royale. What is so odd is that Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale feel like night and day. Casino Royale played heavily on the character development of Bond and his emerging 007 status, while Quantum of Solace spends a majority of its time in brutal action and Bond killing off leads one by one. The eloquent dialogue of Casino Royale is unfortunately gone and instead replaced with rampant gun fire and massive explosives.

Throughout Quantum of Solace Daniel Craig as James Bond is utterly grim and spends far too much time sulking in the death of Vespar from Casino Royale. Furthermore Craig's constant brooding throughout the film takes away from the infamous character that we have loved in all his forms. I found Bond's vendetta to be distracting from the Bond personna and ultimately gave me another reason why Craig doesn't necessarily seem like James Bond. If you can get past the blonde hair, blue eyes and lack of knowledge to what Bond is drinking. Dealing with a deeply dark and constantly grimmacing Bond unfortunately, takes away from the story to the point of dissatisfaction.

Quantum of Solace, although it does stray away from character development, it absolutely delivers in elaborate action sequences that keep the viewer on the edge of their seat throughout the non-stop 106 minute hostile ride. Every action piece throughout the latest 007 film is brillaint. The action comes a heavy and hard throughout, with Bond losing all of his elusiveness and instead becoming extremely confrontational. Daniel Craig as Bond does not hold back any punches as Bond either. Craig personifies the absolute brutal nature of James Bond the way no other actor has done in any of the previous 21 installments.

Mathieu Amalric plays Dominic Greene in the newst Bond film, who is the least vicious of any 007 villains. Amalric who has piercing eyes, delivers a oustanding performance, but his character is more so just another member in a much larger and extremely powerful secret organization. You wont find any secret ray guns or bleeding eyes from Amalric's character, but he still effortlessly portrays that of a overly confident and violent businessman with a sinister plot.

Olga Kurylenko joins Daniel Craig in his brooding as Camile. Camile has been crossed and scarred by both Greene and General Medrano (Joaquín Cosio) and like Bond, wants retribution. Kurylenko delivers a typical performance of a bond girl and does not stand out as one of the better girls. Kurylenko's strongest and most passionate moment comes when her and Bond reveal the reasons for their contempt. Outside of that small scene, Kurylenko is merely eye candy, as have most Bond girls been over the years.

Quantum of Solace was an unrelenting action-packed Bond film that delivered with force, but lacked in character and story development. After Casino Royale, the viewer would have expected a similair story, especially with the same writers and it also being a direct sequel following the same storyline from Casino Royale, to instead quickly shift to a far more brutal and in your face action filled film. Too many times I found myself saying, this feels more like a Jason Bourne storyline, rather than James Bond. Having Bond with a deadly vendetta changed the entire scope of the film and Bond's usual persona. The charm and wit of Bond are exchanged for a insensitive energy mixed with a unsparing attitude that make for a much darker Bond. The result is dismal and bleak. Let's hope Craig's next Bond film will return to the likes of Casino Royale's rich plot and character development.