Quantum of Solace Marc Foster

Quantum of Solace Marc Foster
Given the speed and volume with which James Bond typically consumes martinis, it’s no surprise he’d occasionally wake up with a hangover. But the lingering effects felt in the 22nd entry in the British spy franchise are unusual — it’s the after-effects of love that impact the super-spy in Quantum of Solace.

Picking up mere moments after the conclusion of Casino Royale — the philosophical reboot that marked the arrival of Daniel Craig, the sixth actor to take on the role — Solace and Bond both labour in the shadow of the death of Vesper Lynde (Eva Green) at the previous film’s conclusion. Now driven by vengeance, Bond seeks out those responsible for her death while once again getting embroiled in a web of international terrorists (the Quantum) bent on controlling the world’s most valuable resources.

Quantum of Solace (nope, still don’t know what it means) continues the trends begun in Royale — tougher and more humourless — and the whole film stands in the shadow of another modern super-spy: Jason Bourne. The result is a fine action picture filled with the expected huge action set pieces (on the hilly roads of Tuscany, on boats, even in cargo planes) but lacks some of the essential elements that have defined Bond for four decades.

While toning down the more ridiculous elements that suffused the series circa the Pierce Brosnan days is admirable, Bond here doesn’t seem to have any fun at all. Only one beautiful woman gets seduced (briefly, and off-screen), and while the film clicks along at a heady, brisk pace, Craig gets almost no opportunity to crack wise, wield his powers of seduction or whip out a laser watch or souped-up auto.

The end result feels like Bourne, Jason Bourne — except with more convoluted plotting and less kinetic urgency. I’m all for a modern take on MI6’s most famous spy but is there really no opportunity at all for a little babes-in-bikinis downtime? (Sony)