Quantum of Solace (2008)

Rating: C-

Dir: Mark Forster
Star: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench

A definite step-back from Casino Royale, this seems more concerned with racking up the international air-miles, whizzing around from Italy to Haiti to Austria to Bolivia, in a manner that may have been impressive in the 60’s, but now just induces cinematic jet-lag. By the time it comes to the end, with a concrete hotel going up like it was made of dry brushwood, you’ll have given up hope of seeing anything iconic, or even much more than forgettable. The story has Bond (Craig) seeking vengeance on those who killed Vesper Lynd, and follows immediately on from Royale. He finds the group concerned, Quantum, is so shadowy even M (Dench) knows nothing about it, until her own bodyguard proves to be working for them.

He finds a major player in Dominic Greene (Amalric), who runs an environmentalist group working in Bolivia, but is actually seeking to corner the country’s water supply and profit as a result. Bond teams up with Greene’s girlfriend (Kurylenko), who has her own agenda of revenge, and sets out to take down the villain – who is operating with the help of the CIA, including old buddy Felix Leiter. I kinda miss the days when Bond films were fun. There’s nothing wrong with the odd serious entry in the series, such as The Living Daylights, but too much angst makes James a dull boy. The moments you remember feel like rehashes from previous 007 movies, e.g. the parkour-style foot-chase or the death of a Bond Girl, covered heat to foot in a precious resource.

The film has very little new or imaginative to offer the viewer, perhaps a result of hiring art-house director Stouffer, whose past credits are things lie Monster’s Ball, and include nothing to suggest he can deliver the large-scale action necessary for this. This stands out particularly during the chases and fights, where the editing appears to have been done by a hyperactive three-year old child with a chainsaw. The other problem is that Greene is an entirely non-threatening villain: one of the worst in the 007 canon, and that includes such stinkers as media mogul Elliot Carver from Tomorrow Never Dies. He does look like Roman Polanski, so I imagine any pre-teen girls in the audience will be terrified. I was not shaken, and hardly stirred.