Quantum of Solace

Directed By: Marc Forster

Starring: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Gemma Arterton, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, and Giancarlo Giannini

Casino Royale set a new high standard for the modern James Bond.  Because of this, the expectations for Quantum of Solace, the 22nd 007 flick, were through the roof.  Moviegoers expected lightning to strike twice in the same place.  Unfortunately, this was not meant to be.  With Martin Campbell no longer at the helm, Marc Forster stepped up to the plate and struck out.

Quantum of Solace picks up exactly where Casino Royale left off.  With Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) in captivity, James Bond (Daniel Craig) takes him to M (Judi Dench) for questioning.  During the interrogation, White mockingly reveals that there's a powerful criminal organization known as the Quantum about which MI6 knows nothing.  The most important thing he notes is that this organization has people everywhere, and he means this literally as Craig Mitchell (Glenn Foster), one of M's trusted agents, shoots her and frees White.  In the chaos that ensues, White escapes and Bond kills the rogue agent.

In the aftermath, MI6 has discovered clues that connect Mr. White and LeChiffre to a man by the name of Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric).  M sends Bond down to Haiti where Dominic is doing business to learn more about this secret criminal organization and to detain possible leads for questioning.  However, Bond is a born killer and can't help himself.  Along the way, he meets the lovely Camille Montes (Olga Kurylenko), a woman who can give him the real story on Greene and what he's doing in Haiti.

Quantum of Solace is definitely no Casino Royale.  Sure, the film features Daniel Craig delivering a strong performance in his second outing as 007.  Sure, there are plenty of grand, elaborate action sequences where Craig gets to be the badass he was born to be.  The problem with Quantum of Solace is that it fails to do what made Casino Royale great.  Marc Forster does not do any rich storytelling or create a world full of interesting characters.  Because of this, this 22nd James Bond film fails to live up to the hype.

The plot for Quantum of Solace is considerably smaller in scale than its predecessor.  First, there aren’t a whole lot of surprises in this one as the plot is fairly predictable.  If you’re expecting a thrilling plot full of twists and turns, you won’t get it here.  There’s no tension or suspense whatsoever.  Also, the film is much darker than any other Bond film as it treats some of the heavier topics much more seriously than even Casino Royale did.  This comes at the cost of humor because Quantum of Solace lacks the trademark charms of a typical Bond flick.  Finally, the film lacks any theatricality.  Because of this, the story doesn’t feel as grand.  The big gunfights aren’t as meaningful.  The new gritty direction for the Bond franchise is no longer that palatable.  All in all, these are the makings of a mediocre Bond flick.

Beyond 007 himself, there are very few interesting characters in the film.  Despite the fact that Mathieu Amalric gives a decent performance, his character Dominic Greene is no LeChiffre.  He doesn’t weep blood.  He doesn’t organize high stakes poker games.  He doesn’t create elaborate death traps.  He’s just an evil guy trying to make a quick buck through deceit and treachery.  To me, that amounts to a common criminal on the big screen.  As the main antagonist of a James Bond film, he should be someone much more intriguing.  Olga Kurylenko’s Camille Montes has an underwhelming storyline to say the least.  Her issues with General Medrano (Joaquín Cosío) are irrelevant to the overarching plot and add no value whatsoever to the film.  To make matters worse, she doesn’t have a lot of chemistry with Craig on screen.  Finally, we have Gemma Arterton’s MI6 employee Strawberry Fields.  All I have to say on Fields is that she’s a pretty bland character that lacks any real personality.

Quantum of Solace failed to live up to the expectations and the hype.  Great action sequences and a great performance from Daniel Craig are not enough to make a great Bond movie.  Marc Forster needs a rich story and some interesting, captivating characters, and he simply has neither.  I’m not saying that you can’t enjoy this Bond flick.  It’s definitely entertaining.  I’m just saying that you won’t enjoy it as much as Martin Campbell’s Casino RoyaleQuantum of Solace gets a 0.06% rating.  Have a few glasses of Chardonnay with this one.