Movie Review: QUANTUM OF SOLACE

2008’s Quantum of Solace was the first sequel in the Bond franchise. That sounds crazy doesn’t it? The 21 official films before it were always stand-alone features. Sure every now and then we would get a recurring character, or a mention of a past mission, but never a direct sequel.

QoS picks up immediately after the brilliant Casino Royale ends. If CR is 007’s true origin spy story, then QoS is James Bond at his most vengeful since Licence To Kill in 1989. Quantum has the shortest running time of any Bond flick in franchise history, but it certainly packs in a whole lot of action in those 108 minutes.

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Bond’s coolest moment? The way he dispatches Slate in the hotel room in Haiti. Craig’s Bond is a lethal killing machine, and his cold gaze elsewhere as Slate slowly bleeds out is a sight to see. A close runner-up is Bond leaving Greene in the desert. 

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? Jumping out of the plane with Camille. It sounds a lot cooler than it looked. Too CGI-ish and it can’t hold a candle to the same stunt (done for real) in 1979’s Moonraker. 

Bond’s best line? GREENE: “Please, my friends call me Dominic.” BOND: “I’m sure they do.”

Best acting performance? Olga Kurylenko as Camille. She might be one of the strongest, most independent Bond girls in the long-running series. Her backstory involving her family, and being desperate for revenge, is one of the best plot lines the movie has going for it.

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? I guess it would have to be the way Bond “seduces” Strawberry Fields. But it only really feels that way when we see her get “Oilfingered”. I know how dirty that sounded. 

Worst line in the movie? Considering this film was plagued by the WGA strike, and director Marc Forster and Daniel Craig had to write some of the dialogue while on location, there aren’t too many bad lines. I guess I don’t like Mathieu Amalric as Green saying “Please don’t talk to me like I’m stupid… It’s unattractive.”

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 27th time? Daniel Craig’s hair is a little longer than it was in Casino Royale. Nothing wrong with that. He looks fine with that hairstyle. But this film opens up minutes after Casino Royale ended. Slight hair continuity issue.

Best action sequence? In a movie filled with terrific action set-pieces, nothing beats that opening car chase. In fact, it might be the best car chase in the franchise.

Who or what is the title song about? The title song “Another Way To Die” is about the dangerous life of a secret agent. This song grows on me each time, but I think the legendary Shirley Bassey’s “No Good About Goodbye” would have fit the tone of this movie better. Hell, they even work the song into the score throughout the film. 

Best looking cinematic moment? Bond and Camille walking in the desert. This is a very art-house looking scene for a Bond movie. 

How could the villain have succeeded? Dominic Greene is a very interesting villain with his extremely down-to-earth style of world domination. Water over oil? Perhaps he needed to keep a lower profile. His quasi-eco warrior persona looked too suspicious.

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? This is a Craig-Bond movie 100%. His performance especially works well if you watch it back-to-back with Casino Royale. 

Does Bond ever think he might die? When he and Camille are trapped in the fire at the end. I also enjoyed the fact that he contemplated killing her, rather than having her die from her greatest fear. Not sure I could see any other Bond do that. Not even Connery or Dalton. 

What would have made the movie better? Less camera shots aiming to be like Jason Bourne/Paul Greengrass. It takes away from all the tremendous action scenes. 

What’s in a name? Bond doesn’t use an alias, but he does pretend to be a teacher who just won the lottery. 

What’s in a title? “Quantum of Solace” is the title of a short story from Ian Fleming, but the plot of the story and of the movie have nothing in common. I kind of like the song title “Another Way To Die” better than “Quantum of Solace”. 

Drinking game: Drink a glass of cheap Italian wine each time the name “Vesper” is mentioned. 

“WTF?!” moment: Greene’s lackey Elvis has a couple of WTF moments. But I will go with his loving look to another Greene lackey when they are at the opera. Was there a “Mr. Wint & Mr. Kidd” type of scene that was cut out? 

Fun fact: The waitress that General Medrano attempts to rape is Oona Chaplin, the granddaughter of screen idol Charlie Chaplin.

Overall ranking: 10th out of 24. 

Review synopsis: The only cinematic crime committed by Quantum of Solace is that it is sandwiched between Bond classics Casino Royale and Skyfall. As time passes, I think QoS could become one of the most underrated Bond films, right up there with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. If this is considered the worst Daniel Craig movie during his Bond tenure, then he’s had one hell of a run. 

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