‘Quantum of Solace (2008)’- Throwback Review

What’s the Story: Following the death of Vesper Lynd, James Bond (Daniel Craig) makes his next mission personal. The hunt for those who blackmailed his lover leads him to ruthless businessman Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), a key player in the organization which coerced Vesper. Bond learns that Greene is plotting to gain total control of a vital natural resource, and he must navigate a minefield of danger and treachery to foil the plan.

After Casino Royale proved to be a massive hit in turning Ian Fleming’s famous spy franchise around for the better, it wasn’t the least bit surprising the next installment was announced shortly after with Quantum of Solace, the 22nd entry. To follow up one of the biggest surprises in Hollywood is a hard job to accomplish when fans had this idea of thinking this could be bigger and better. But, believe it or not, this was the very first Bond movie I saw in theaters and saw it with my dad on its opening weekend during my fall break. Admittedly, I thought it looked exciting enough just from the trailers. Walking out of the theater for the first time is hard to remember, but my reaction was probably, “It was alright, I guess.” Then re-watching in-full a decade later, I never realized how bland this indeed was.

Quantum of Solace is one of the most disappointing blockbusters within the series, and almost everybody can agree with that. Because let’s be honest, nobody in the world will ever say this is their favorite, and you’ll be shaking your head in disapproval if it’s true. I didn’t know this until years after I saw it, but right from the start and hearing what went on while filming is clear enough. They wrote the script during the Writer’s Strike, and it wasn’t completed for the $200 million budget film, with Craig and director Marc Forester having to complete sections since they couldn’t hire writers at the time. And you can tell it doesn’t hit as hard as its predecessor. When you watch Casino Royale and this back-to-back, it’s night and day when you come to realize it doesn’t have the same energy found before. When it’s the shortest Bond film to date at only 106 minutes, and it becomes tiresome to sit through, that shouldn’t be the case, my friend.

As I was watching this, there’s never a real connection to the script since you think this is a direct continuation of where he last left off, and it was just like it was colder to make things darker and interesting on this go around. They should’ve quickly taken their time and not rush it out, something to have an actual memorable plot, or at least a Bond film that doesn’t feel like it was wasting its potential.

Daniel Craig is superb as James Bond as he continues to provide an excellent performance to make still this something to keep your attention. He’s easily the best part when he’s handling the action and anything else when progressing the story along on this somewhat path of revenge for the woman he loved. I didn’t mind Olga Kurylenko too much as Camille Montes, a Bolivian agent who’s also out for revenge. And she’s one of the few Bond girls who doesn’t sleep with the hero, so that’s a change of pace. But when it comes to the villain in Mathieu Amalric’s Dominic Greene, he has got to be the weakest and unthreatening bad guy the franchise has seen. I can take the fact he doesn’t have an appearance of a traditional villain with a scar, but as great as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Munich actor is, he doesn’t turn up as memorable to make him care about from his first scene to his last. 

Marc Forester took over for Martin Campbell in directing, which does seem out of the left-field when he’s done pretty good flicks like Monster’s BallFinding Neverland, to eventually World War Z five years later. But, honestly, he wasn’t the right person to do Bond when there wasn’t a unique vision to get from here. He even said he doesn’t consider himself a fan of the films and wouldn’t have accepted the job if he hadn’t been impressed with Casino Royale. Still, though, that unfamiliar attachment to the source material couldn’t translate when having something important to you in the action or dialogue-filled moments.

Speaking of the action, oh how it was unfulfilling to watch them. The action sequences right from the opening car chase were poorly directed and edited without feeling a sense of tension between them. There’s a lot, and you become numb after a while. Quantum of Solace is the only time where it resembles too much like a Bourne movie since the first three established themselves for the genre, almost failing to capitalize here. That’s a significant step down from before, where it isn’t easy trying to tell what’s happening. The style doesn’t work, unfortunately, besides a couple of moments here and there.

Bond Theme Corner: 

With this installment, the theme song was “Another Way to Die” by Jack White and Alicia Keys, the first duet to perform a Bond theme. As much as I love these two artists, White especially, this never sounded like a good Bond song. On its own, it’s okay. However, as a James Bond theme, I never thought it would fit with the movie. Probably one of the weakest to come out the more I think about it, along with a dull opening credits sequence that didn’t grab me recently.

Quantum of Solace (2008) - IMDb

Anytime Quantum of Solace is brought up; it’s always the one that doesn’t need to be mentioned since there isn’t enough to care for. Since its release, it got mixed reviews from fans and critics. Even the late Roger Moore stated, “there was a bit too much flash cutting [and] it was just like a commercial of the action.” He’s not wrong. Nothing in this feels important to remember, and there’s a chance you won’t find must thrills here. You know it’s not good when the thing I remembered from my experience was being captivated by the trailers for Star Trek and Watchmen, respectively. Just like how Bond told M not to worry about him, you don’t have to worry about sitting through this unsatisfying installment. 

Final Thoughts: Quantum of Solace is probably the most unimportant Bond film to come by. Craig does what he can with his performance, but with the lack of great action and a storyline too forgettable, this is a disappointing sequel in all aspects.

Grade: C-

Quantum of Solace Movie Poster

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