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Review

‘Quantam of Solace’ leaves out notorious ‘Bond’ action

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November 20, 2008

Some will watch “Quantum of Solace” and proclaim that the James Bond the world grew up with is dead. He of the glib one-liners and infinite martinis (shaken, not stirred) has been replaced by a being resembling a British version of the Terminator. There’s next to nothing funny or tongue-in-cheek about the Bond of “Quantum of Solace” and, as such, the film might leave a few viewers feeling understandably alienated. Those like myself, however, will dig this offbeat step in the action icon’s evolution, especially since the film itself is an engaging ride that trounces some of the original Bond outings by leaps and bounds.

  As the picture begins, Bond (Daniel Craig) is on the hunt for the scoundrels behind his lady love’s betrayal at the end of “Casino Royale.” His quest for vengeance leads to a complex criminal organization, whose members and activities are a mystery even to Bond’s superiors. But they won’t stay a secret for very long, as Bond is hot on the case, quickly connecting the syndicate to an environmental group run by the unsavory Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric). The closer 007 gets to uncovering Greene’s evil scheme, the more ruthless he becomes in his quest. He becomes overwhelmed by a growing rage he must keep in check before Her Majesty’s government decides to bring him in.

  2006’s “Casino Royale” was designed to re-introduce James Bond to moviegoers, and the results couldn’t have been better. Daniel Craig’s Bond was a different sort of beast, a leaner and meaner man of action just getting used to his 00 status. But he still has quite a way to go before settling into his surroundings, and it’s this that people should keep in mind whilst watching “Quantum of Solace.” Long-time series fans may be left feeling a little cold by this approach, as their hero is fueled more by his duty to the mission than by the latest black tie affair. I always liked it when Bond movies got down to brass tacks, putting the superspy’s promiscuity and ghastly wisecracks on the backburner in order to get to the action at hand.

  However, I’ll be the first to admit that the action sequences are a little underwhelming, with an airplane chase as the highlight. Such scenes get the job done in grabbing one’s attention, but this being a Bond film, you’d hope for something a bit more elaborate and ever so goofy than a mere car chase or two. Still, what “Quantum of Solace” lacks in inventive action, it makes up for in the sheer badassery Craig’s performance lends to 007. Olga Kurylenko comes across as a Bond girl who serves as eye candy as much as she does a pivotal role in the plot, and Amalric makes for a subtle but sinister villain, a little untraditional but still effective enough.

  Sure, “Quantum of Solace” is pretty serious as Bond flicks go. But considering where the series has gone when the silliness has been left to its own devices (“Moonraker,” anyone?), using a straight-laced attitude to keep matters grounded isn’t entirely unwarranted. In any case, “Quantum of Solace” is a perfectly serviceable action flick that doesn’t completely forget its roots. Bond isn’t dead, folks; he’s just getting warmed up.

A.J. Hakari is a student at UW-River Falls.