Almost exactly a year ago, I reviewed Casino Royale, the first of three James Bond films to star Daniel Craig, the latest actor to play Agent 007.
I loved that film, which moved 180 degrees away from the silliness that had characterized the last ten or twelve Bond movies. I thought Ian Fleming would be pleased with the Craig portrayal, which showed Bond as the ruthless hitman Fleming had envisioned.
Now, twelve months later, along comes Quantum of Solace, a movie inspired by a Fleming short story although the story’s title is all that is used.
This is the 25th James Bond movie, and all I found myself thinking was how the filmmakers had been influenced (read here: completely intimidated) by the Bourne franchise. Quantum is obviously trying to live up to Bourne. It uses those same frenetic action scenes in which you can hardly tell what is going on.
The film is intended to be a sequel of Casino Royale, and it begins immediately after the end of the first film with a heart-stopping car race. The action scenes are distracting, but not enough to cover the fact that there is no plot to speak of.
Craig is the best thing in the film. He manages to convey Bond’s grief and rage over Vesper’s death (at the conclusion of Casino Royale). He is even more brutal than in the first film.
The problem for me was that this movie lacked the heart, the intelligence and the humor of Casino Royale. I have no doubt teenage boys will enjoy it. However, Quantum had nothing to offer me. Where the former Bond films irritated me with their silliness, this movie irritated me with its pointlessness.
The latest Bond Girl is Olga Kurylenko, whom I found wooden and uninteresting. Far more intriguing to me was Gemma Arterton, who reminded me of a young Geena Davis and who was saddled with the improbable name of Strawberry Fields.
Thankfully, it was short--the shortest Bond film ever. Where I saw Casino Royale more than once, I walked out of the theatre without a glance back at Quantum of Solace.