Quantum of Solace is directed by Marc Forster and is the second film to star Daniel Craig as James Bond. The film also stars Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Gemma Arteron, Jeffrey Wright, and Judi Dench.
When Casino Royale came to an end, our understanding is that the conceited and ruthless man that Daniel Craig was portraying had officially transformed into James Bond, ending the film with his signature, "the name's Bond. James Bond" remark, followed by the official James Bond theme song playing as the end credits began to roll (the James Bond theme does not play at any other moment during Casino Royale). So with this supposed rebirth of Bond, the rebooted series swung its doors wide open to welcome back all of the things that Bond had become infamous for over the previous 46 years, for better or worse.
To follow up nicely on the masterfully put together Casino Royale was going to take a gargantuan effort, and the immediate signal that Quantum of Solace was not up to the challenge is its choice of director: Marc Forster. Forster has stated how he has never been a big fan of the Bond series, only accepting the project because he had seen Casino Royale beforehand. His intention was to focus more on Bond as a character and switch up the themes to target environmentalism instead of terrorism. On top of all that, Forster said that Casino Royale's 144 minute run time was too long, wanting Quantum of Solace to be faster, tighter, resembling something like a bullet.
Faster and tighter is exactly what Quantum of Solace is, but not with the bullet-like impact that Forster was hoping for. Here we have a Bond film that is more preoccupied with being in a rush and getting through things at a near breakneck speed instead of doing whatever it can to maximize its potential as a steady Bond film. Would you believe me if I told you that pre-production for this film started before Casino Royale was even finished filming? I can't tell if that is supposed to mean that Eon Productions was just that excited to make Quantum of Solace that they couldn't resist starting the project even before Casino Royale had started post-production, or that they had such a secret disdain for the project that they did whatever it took to get the film over and done with as soon as possible.
Anyway, the story of Quantum of Solace picks up almost right after where Casino Royale ended. Bond has taken Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) captive, delivering him to M to be interrogated about his organisation, Quantum. Mr. White is able to escape however, when M's bodyguard. Craig Mitchell (Glenn Foster), reveals himself to be a double agent. After Bond chases and kills Mitchell, he discovers that Mitchell has a contact named Mr. Slate (Neil Jackson) located in Haiti. Bond travels to Haiti and finds out that Slate is a hitman who was sent to hunt down and kill Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko), the lover of environmental entrepreneur, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric). Bond eventually learns that Greene is planning to take complete control of one of the world's most vital natural resources, siding with Camille to do whatever it takes to stop Greene.
- Quantum of Solace is in the running for most action-heavy Bond film to date. The film never wants to slow down and take a break, transitioning from action scene to action scene with little exposition-based down time in between. If you're a fan of "cut the chit-chat and get to the guns and fist fights" action films, then Quantum of Solace is right up your alley. It does avoid being a completely mindless action film, because the story has at least some chew-able thought behind it, and Daniel Craig brings the fire again as a more unforgiving Bond, continuing to be scolded by M for killing people throughout the movie, people that MI6 could've questioned for valuable information. What's the specific high point, you ask? It is that the film has no dull moments, the primary good to come out of the film's abundance of action.
- As much action as the film contains, there is some butt-ugly editing going on throughout the main action set pieces. The film opens with a car chase where Bond is fleeing from pursuers, and I swear the median shot length is about three fifths of a second, as the cars are driving down the road and the pursuers are firing their machine guns at Bond. The editing stings your eyes with painful jolts, encouraging you to look away from the screen in horrified disgust. What moron keeps telling action film editors that rapid cutting is the best way to go about editing car chases and fist fights? Rapid cutting today doesn't enhance an action scene, it only detracts. And because of this rapid style of editing, our perception of the action is completely obscured, being no better than if someone just shook two action figures in front of your face for a couple minutes. I can't believe I didn't pay more attention to this the first time I saw Quantum of Solace, because oh do I hate that boiling rage that rushes through me whenever I have to sit through an action scene whose editing looked like it was done by a 5 year child hyped up on sugar.
I do not agree one bit whenever I hear someone say that it isn't right to rave about Casino Royale and not Quantum of Solace just because the two films happen to share a storyline. They are two very different films in regards to execution, with Casino Royale excelling on practically every level, and Quantum of Solace....well, not quite on as many levels. It has enough action to qualify as a serviceable action thriller, but given how horrendous that the editing is at times, I really call the film as such with a grain of salt. It's a film that desires to be fast and relentless at all costs, without much of a care of what goes wrong along the way. In the end, Quantum of Solace comes off as a disappointment, not merely because of its shortcomings as its own film, but because of how it had to follow up and continue the story of one of, if not the best, Bond film to ever be released. Fast and furious isn't always rewarding.
Recommend? If you like Daniel Craig as James Bond, I've give it a watch. Otherwise, it's not really worth your time.
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