Here’s Ryan of Ten Stars or Less with a review of today’s Bond movie Quantum of Solace (2008)
Thanks again Ryan!
run time: 106 mins
considered: Action, Adventure, Thriller
director: Marc Foster
starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright, David Harbour, Jesper Christensen, Anatole Taubman, Rory Kenner, Tim Pigott-Smith, Joaquin Cosio, Fernando Guillen Cuervo, Jesus Ochoa
movie summary: When Quantum of Solace opens we are in the middle of a fast paced car chase in the mountains. James Bond (Daniel Craig) finds himself in a shot up car that is missing a driver side door. He’s trying to outrun a few cars that have shooters firing automatic weapons at him. Inside his trunk is a guy named Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), the man responsible for the lost of his beloved girlfriend. When they finally reach safety, M (Judi Dench) and the other MI6 agents begin to interrogate Mr. White when several agents turn on Bond and M firing up the place allowing for Mr. White to sneak away. After another chase across the streets and into abandoned buildings, Bond kills the rogue agent thus preventing any further interrogation on why he turned.
Back at headquarters M and her assistant are trying to piece together what organization Mr. White is a part of before Bond gets a tip on who Vesper’s (Eva Green) boyfriend was. Thanks to some marked bills, MI6 is able to trace some money back to an international criminal named Dominic Green (Mathieu Amalric), who is currently busy trying to set up a dictatorship in a South American country. His company, Green Enterprises, travels around the world looking for land to buy and preserve natural resources for profit . While Bond tails Green to a private airport, M calls the CIA to find out that special Agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) is already on the plane and he’s working to take him down. Bond gets his own flight to Austria where he interrupts a meeting with Green, Mr. White, and the rest of the contributors of the company. Green puts out a hit for Bond but M has dispatched another agent, Strawberry Fields (Gemma Arterton), to secure him at a local hotel. Things begin to unravel for Bond, Agent Fields, and Green when a lovely lady named Camille (Olga Kurylenko) shows up to kill Green.
Camille met Bond a few days ago when he first came in contact with Green, and was rescued through a wild boat chase that resulted in much destruction and a high body count. Camille is furious and wants Green dead because of his shady dealing with General Medrano (Joaquin Cosio). He’s responsible for killing her family and torturing her as a teenager. After Agent Fields is murdered, Bond realizes his cover is blown so grabs Camille and they head to the Mediterranean to meet up with Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) again. MI6 has cut off all life lines to Bond so it’s just the two of them to find Green and the General before it’s too late.
When Green’s guy catch up to Mathis, Bond, and Camille in Europe, Mathis is gunned down to send a message to back off. Bond manages to hijack an old fighter plane and the two fly off to find Green. While in the air, their plane is attacked by two fighter helicopters who are on a mission to shoot it down. Thanks to some crafty flying skills and Camille’s help, the old fighter plans survives just long enough to take down the bad guys and allow them plenty of time to land somewhat safely in a canyon. The pair manage to collect themselves and steal a vehicle to head into the desert to find the meeting place for Green and the General. General Medrano is about to become the ruler of the country as long as he signs over all land and resources to Green and his company. The meeting ends successfully but Camille and Bond are headed into the compound, armed and on a mission to bring both people down.
my thoughts: There may be a few of you out there who question my taste in movies and you have every right too. I love Quantum of Solace and with Skyfall this is my favourite James Bond movie. There are a lot of moving parts in the story with a long list of characters involved, but that all fades into the background thanks to the non-stop action. Casino Royale was Daniel Craig’s first time playing James Bond and with a fantastic opening sequence, the movie lacked the action packed guns a blazing story we would expect out of a 007 movie. In an attempt to make up for that in the second movie of the Craig part of the franchise, Quantum of Solace features so many death-defying chases, gun fights, and explosions that will leave on the edge of your seat wanting more out of his character.
James Bond has never been played by a young 20-year-old, Daniel Craig was 40 when Quantum was released which puts him in the average range of the character. I feel out of all the famous people to have taken on this iconic role, he is by far the most athletic. He’s able to pull off stunts and sequences that any action hero would envy, on top of doing with style and grace. Craig doesn’t have the same kind of humour he had in the first film because all the joy was sucked out of him when his girlfriend Vesper died. This time around he is out for revenge and doesn’t play nice with others who get in his way. The body count rises a lot from the first movie because the subplot to this whole movie is trust. One second you can trust everyone you work with then find out you can’t trust anyone. Bond is put through the ringer in this flick, which allows Craig to showcase a wide variety of moods and personalities in his skill set.
He makes a great pairing with Olga Kurylenko’s character Camille, because both want the same things and that makes them near unstoppable as a team. The James Bond character is always surrounded by lovely ladies for both personal and professional reasons which made Kurylenko’s casting perfect. She is a beautiful Russian woman who used her role in Quantum as a stepping stone towards a solid career in the movie industry. One would think at first glance that she looks like she’d be afraid to break a nail but this girl is willing to get dirty and messy if it means she can put a bullet in the head of her target.
Mathieu Amalric is a great Bond villain for how shady and cocky he can be. Loaded with millions upon millions of dollars and armed with the capabilities to harness a country’s natural resources, Greene thinks he’s untouchable. That is, until James Bond gets on his case. Always looking for more land, money, and opportunities Greene will continue to do whatever he wants and never think for a second that the people he’s getting into business with may bring down his whole empire. His inability to see the big picture will cost him, like most villains, but the manner at which Bond will hunt him and then leave him for dead is by far very unconventional for anyone who spends weeks seeking revenge.
The story itself fades away from the angle about revenge, before turning into another special agent tracks bad guys movie, only to end up right back at the beginning again. Bond wanted answers about Vesper but running into Greene changed his path and actually forced him to do his secret agent job. Upset with how life has gone in a matter of weeks, Bond had to recover from the previous film to get right back on the horse and go. It could have been cool to watch him slaughter a whole bunch of people to get the answers he wanted, but watching him take down a corrupt international thief was just as entertaining. I haven’t seen a lot of other bond movies but believe this is a rare occasion that Bond film ties into another, even though it is not officially a sequel.
my final thoughts: Bond fans everywhere will love this action packed 1:46 joy ride through beautiful landscapes and countries. Daniel Craig doesn’t disappoint in his second go as James Bond, while upping the stakes in several long chase sequences that will have many people amazed that he is that creative in avoiding death. Quantum of Solace is a must watch for anyone who loves adventure movies with a thrilling subplot to keep us entertained in between gun fights.
my star rating: 9 out 10
imdb: 6.7 out 10
rottentomatoes: 64% out 100%
rogerebert: 2 out 4