James Bond: Quantum of Solace - Movie Review


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James Bond: Quantum of Solace

There was a time when James Bond was smooth, charming, and thoroughly ridiculous. I'm not entirely sure why women were drawn to him in the same manner my roommates are drawn to any open food source, but they were, and they are, and they both make me angry. James Bond: Quantum of Solace is the second departure from this original image. Gone are the days of jet-packs, plans of world domination, bad guys whose powers and weaknesses seem borderline supernatural, and terribly wonderful names that hardly even qualify as double entendre's once we pass the point of "Octopussy." Instead now we have Daniel Craig who faces the oncoming onslaught of explosions and untalented gunslingers with a steely expression.

James Bond still makes for a fun time at the movies. There are many explosions and a decent number of bare-fisted acrobatic fights. These moments however only serve as punctuation between expository sequences, and to be honest it was just wordy enough for me not to care or try to understand. All I needed to know was this: there's a sinister multi-millionare who doesn't like James Bond. James Bond is British, and therefore likable to every goodhearted person. Therefore the millionaire must be evil. The problem with James is that once people start to like him they get shot at, blown up, or drowned.

It's around this point that James Bond begins to fail to prove his thesis. This franchise is based upon two things, explosions and sex. At times maybe both. What James excels at is not merely shooting, but essentially using women. He's not around to protect and to serve, it's to protect and get serviced. (see what I did there?) Now we're supposed to believe that one woman is driving him for the sake of revenge. I like that, but I don't buy it based upon the franchise history, the character himself, and the overall plot structure. It functions for motivation, yet sputters in development.

James Bond: Quantum of Solace can be summarized in one sentence. The film is entirely composed of lengthy introductions and sudden departures. It's an airport where we wait until the action takes off and makes it's landing. We're nothing more than commuters while James functions as our transportation. The gritty hard-nosed style is what it is, but it's not James Bond. It's not charming, or suave. It's not quite fun until it shakes it's sense of realism, and even then the editing work is so frantic we're the ones convulsively shaking on the ground.

But in one respect James Bond hasn't changed. He's always worth a rental.

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