Movie Review: Quantum of Solace

By Eric Hughes

November 14, 2008

Her dream date with James Bond left much to be desired.

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I may as well begin this by answering the number one question that's bound to be on your mind at this very moment. Is Quantum of Solace better than Casino Royale? No. It is not.

Quantum of Solace, which pegs itself as the first true sequel in the franchise's roughly 45-year history (and selfishly the first film in the James Bond series that I was actually anxious to see), is at times so much unlike its 2006 predecessor so as to lead me to believe that I was watching an entirely different film franchise. Granted, the subtleties, the coolness, the dark drama, if you will, that made Casino Royale so bad ass is fortunately back a second time, albeit in shorter supply. In its place? Loads and loads (and loads) of bloated action.

I mean, look at what we're working with. The action-thriller opens on a breakneck car chase, then proceeds to a cat-and-mouse foot race that mimics a nearby horserace. Soon enough, Bond finds himself in the middle of a plane chase, then freefalls from said plane, lands on solid rock without much help from a parachute and not only survives (of course), but without a scratch to boot. Oh, and this wouldn't be an action movie without shit being blown up. Don't fret. There's plenty of that as well.


But it's that very plane sequence that worried me some. There were bits like this that appeared to be just too implausible. Now I've got no problem in being a good little audience member by suspending reality for a while in the movie theater. Yet what Quantum of Solace ultimately calls for is a bit much. And then some. It's as if the franchise felt the need, for whatever reason, to revert its story back (in parts, mind you) to the Pierce Brosnan era, instead of delving deeper into the ominous, more realistic Bond that Daniel Craig brought to life the last time around. A lot of the substance developed two years ago is no longer here. Instead, we've got action for the sake of action.

In Quantum of Solace, Bond goes about avenging Vesper Lynd's death by going after the terrorist organization that he holds responsible for her unfortunate demise. While Bond busies himself in kicking ass and taking names (and seriously killing a slew of evil henchmen in the process), a member of the organization posing as an environmentalist, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), intends to help General Medrano (Joaquín Cosio) stage a coup d'état in Bolivia in exchange for a supposed barren piece of desert real estate.

Like its predecessor, the acting is once again top notch. Craig puts in another great performance as that mysterious, brutal Bond character that we were introduced to in Casino Royale. And Judi Dench? Heck, she's Judi Dench. The actress is just as you'd expect her to be (read: brillant), given that she's embodied the character of M in the last six Bond movies (beginning with 1995's GoldenEye, which also featured Brosnan's first appearance as Bond).

Taking a second look at what I've had to say about Quantum of Solace, I recognize that my review is a bit harsher than I had originally intended. Don't get me wrong. The film in fact is quite good. For me the latest James Bond flick is just one of those instances where a movie failed to live up to its audience's sky-high expectations (in this case, me). I certainly liked Quantum of Solace, but by no means loved it.



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