Director: Marc Forster
Running time: 106 minutes
In Casino Royale, we saw a gritty, Hard-Boiled style with a certain dash of vulnerability version of James Bond — a welcome re-boot for the fledgling franchise stricken with monotony and generic feel. The franchise has gone stale after twenty reincarnations of the Ian Fleming-authored books, a common disease plaguing a movie franchise. Ideas run out. Characters are fleshed out entirely in each successive movie that came out to the point that inventiveness is near-impossible to attain.
A new direction for the franchise was needed and fans got it in Casino Royale, a massive critical and commercial success that featured grit, toughness and bravado — a certain Bond-character elements that had been missing for the past decade. It certainly helped that Daniel Craig, however un-Bond-like (I’m one of the doubters back then) he looks like carried the Bond character like a veteran.
Quantum of Solace, the sequel to Casino Royale, features the second outing of Daniel Craig as Agent 007. It’s the first James Bond movie that requires viewing of the previous Bond film to grasp the movie’s storyline.
I will settle the score once and for all this early — QOS is not at par with CR. It features Bourne Ultimatum-inspired mano y mano fighting, shaky camera movements that thwart the should-be impact of the fight/chase scenes and a disjointed storytelling brought about by poor editing or sequencing. But one thing’s for sure, QOS maintained the momentum CR brought on this once-fallen franchise. It reserved the grit, edge and charisma that brought Agent 007 back to life.
While not certainly better than CR, QOS can stand on its own against other Bond movies before CR. The mantra of the Bond movies nowadays seems to be “Less sex. Less gadgets. More action.” And man, its working big time in my book.
Daniel Craig carries Bond with a combination of precision and ruggedness that mesh beautifully to create a dynamic character, retaining the charisma and awe-inspiring aura that we come to expect from the iconic character. Olga Kurylenko, plagued by detractors tagging her as possibly “the worst Bond girl ever,” is in my opinion what a Bond girl should be. Certainly hot, with her girdled complexion, a certain emission of resiliency and independence and her own mission to boot. Not just an eye-candy or a creature included for the alpha male fans, but a motivated woman who just crossed paths with Bond. Very different from the cannon fodder, caricature Bond girls of the past (Vesper not included).
The movie’s theme revolves around greed and monopoly — where deprivation of the society from a basic need takes a backseat to the motive of profit generation. A droplet of water being shared by thousands in a God-forsaken country, exposed to scorching heat of the sun making thirst unquenchable. There’s a supply but someone wants to make it his own, not beyond his control and authority; holding the fate of many innocent lives. All in the name of money, some can do such things — a common theme in film today. But Bond is not about breaking grounds, re-inventing a genre, doing the never-been-than-before — Bond movies are for those looking for escapism, unadulterated fun without being too deep to confuse nor trivial to mock the intelligence. Somewhere in between is more like it. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I came to see Bond for a chest-pounding action flick; not for a philosophical watershed or social commentary. And in my opinion, it delivered.
The Final Word
In this installment of Bond, we learned that jerky camera movements, confusing storyline, mediocre villain and poor editing can actually produce a good movie. While these elements diminish the overall experience, the film still retains the spirit and energy of a good action flick.