Quantum of Solace

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Silence is Golden, But is Solace?

Starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko

By Robert Patrick

Many of you probably don’t know, but I was waiting all year for a motorcycle to fly onto a fishing boat. Now, with the newest James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, fulfilling this wild pipe-dream of mine, I can sit back and sigh. Marc Forrester, the director and apparent heir to the neo-Bond franchise, gives us the most explosive 007 feature ever produced. If you’re familiar with the last installment of the super agent series, you are aware that the ever-stoic Daniel Craig has recreated Bond as, more or less, a sociopath without the ability for any traditional Ian Fleming sophistication.

In the newest installment, Bond (Daniel Craig) is seeking revenge on those who killed someone important to him. In the process, he meets a woman named Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who also wants revenge, albeit on a different party, and assists him along the way. Together, with the help of what seems like antigravity footwork and unparalleled marksmanship, they trot across the globe, attempting to bury their demons and kill those who wronged them.

In great Bond fashion, we hang onto the coattails of the agent as he travels across the world, visiting such places as Haiti, Italy, and Russia. Of course, in between running down the guys who knocked off his love in the last movie, Bond gets caught up in a nasty web of global deceit. Best of all, this enables him to smack around so many people that he even uses a boating anchor to kill someone half-way through the movie. Quantum of Solace, in fact, has so much violence within its short 104 minute running time, that it almost requires no story at all. Bond slings people off rafters, smashes through windows, and even shoots an Uzi out of his car window with perfect accuracy – nope, no dialogue needed in this film.

For all of Bond’s newly instated emotional qualities, his unbelievable super strength more than makes up for his feeble humanistic side. When you can jump from an eight-story building without shattering your ankles, you have it pretty good. Not only impervious to heights, Bond is able to live through knife wounds and glass shards, quickly regenerating like the spawn of Wolverine. But when you have the reflexes of a mountain cat and the wardrobe of Clark Gable, anything is possible. If what I mentioned isn’t theatrical enough, Bond even punches someone out while attending an opera in the movie.

Enough about Bond’s endless cargo of stamina, we have better things to elaborate upon, such as his nemesis’s plot to overtax people for water. It’s not exactly blowing up the planet, I know, but screenwriter Paul Haggis didn’t have time to really flesh out the plot of the movie after he wrote all of the fight sequences. As much as I’m being terrible to Quantum of Solace – and believe me, I’m truthful about each sentence – the film is entertaining as it needs to be. When you’re going to see a movie about the most notorious spy in the literary world, you deserve to be gratified by explosions and women – in the opening credits, a woman’s legs even rise out of a bed of sand for all of you perverts that care.

The biggest problem with the latest Bond feature, aside from it being ludicrously implausible, is the characterization of Bond himself. He is, for some reason or another, not really suave or witty. The clever little gadgets so rudimentary to 007 are curiously absent, the personality stripped, and the trademark smile gone. Craig’s portrayal seems appropriate for the Jason Bourne line of films, not the Bond ones.

The ending of Quantum of Solace, with all of our protagonists getting vengeance in the most literally incendiary climax ever, is a nice little payoff for the fans of the franchise. This will probably be the most notably good of all action films released this year, save for the fantastic Rocknrolla, which is still cooler than any of Bond’s martini glasses.

3/5

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Author: Rob Patrick

A member of the San Diego Film Critics Society, Rob created Cinema Spartan after he stepped down as the editor of a weekly. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. He has also introduced films with the Pacific Arts Movement. He co-owns two dire wolves, Buckley and Ruffin. At any given time, he can tell you superfluous hockey statistics. He is the chancellor of Tapatio, an advocate of iced tea, and an owner of at least 70 pairs of Vans.

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