"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Quantum of Solace - Just an Action Flick

Where Casino Royale was bright, shiny and breathtaking, Quantum of Solace is cold, steely, and flat. Don't get me wrong — the explosions, gun play, and dry quips are all present and accounted for. But where there might've been a compelling narrative there's just a string of action sequences and chase scenes, interrupted by the occasional heart-to- cold, mistrusting spy heart. It's not bad, it's just that it seems like there's no real pulse beating behind Bond's deadly calm veneer.

Daniel Craig reprises his role as superspy James Bond, who is still consumed by anger at having been betrayed by Vesper Lynd, the woman he loved. Still, he wishes to take revenge on the company that blackmailed Vesper and in his search, he and M (Judi Dench) uncover the plans of Dominic Greene, the shady leader of an environmentalist company, to take control of Bolivia's water supply from the equally shady General Medrano. In the midst of all this, Bond meets Camille, who has her own vengeful plan in mind for General Medrano. Camille and Bond then become partners in crime (literally) in their efforts to take down Dominic and Medrano.

One of the things I like best about this movie is that the "Bond Girl" (Camille) isn't just there to sexily wield a gun and sleep with Bond. In fact, she has her own past and her own agenda — and it never includes sleeping with Bond. It’s rather refreshing, really, and hers is the story that intrigued me the most, by far. While it’s fun to see Bond kick some butt and continuously lock and load, it might have been fun to have had some more mystery in this story of our "international man of mystery," so to speak. There is, however, plenty of the "international": we leap and soar and zoom from country to country (each with its own font, a quirky touch), with little breathing room in between each location's requisite fight scene.

In general, it would have been cool to have had some more scheming and more outwitting the opposition, and maybe less of a blindly rage-filled Bond just blowing away everyone and everything in his path. While that might have been the intention — to show how much Vesper’s death has messed with our hero and left him colder and crueler — it’s not altogether satisfying to watch for two hours. It is still a treat to see Daniel Craig onscreen, and the intense action scenes are sure to please many moviegoers, but expecting more than that may leave one disappointed.

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