Rewatching the James Bond films chronologically. Everyone pretty much agrees that Casino Royale and Skyfall are awesome, but what about 2008’s Quantum of Solace, sandwiched between the two? Now is a good a time as any to revisit this one.
Blond blurb: We begin mere minutes after the end of Casino Royale, as Bond escapes with the captured Mr. White. White says people in his organization are everywhere, and to prove that, M’s bodyguard tries to kill her. This puts Bond on the trail of this mystery organization, called “Quantum,” that has somehow infiltrated MI6.
Bond background: Bond keeps killing off baddies that M would rather have been brought in for questioning. When M has had enough, he (of course) goes rogue. During one of the movie’s few calmer moments, Bond gets wicked drunk while mourning Vesper, and this becomes a surprisingly emotional moment from him.
Bond baddies: Quantum is led (or is it?) by Dominic Greene, whose only real character trait is his short fuse. He acts all slick, but explodes with anger over any little thing. The setup is that Quantum is after an oil supply in Bolivia, only to have it revealed that they’re really after the water supply, which could be even more damaging in the long run.
Bond babes: Bond is still hurting from Vesper Lynd’s death in Casino Royale, so the romances in this one are in the “kinda-sorta” category. First there’s feisty redhead Strawberry Fields (heh) who gets killed real good. The main squeeze is Camille, who’s after Greene for revenge.
Bond best brains: Bond has a camera with instant facial recognition software, and an earpiece that can hack into the baddies’ private conversations.
Bond bash-ups: The whole movie is basically one big action scene, rocking from one fight or chase right to the next. Story points are brushed over quickly just so we can get to more action. There’s the opening car chase, a fight in some old building as it falls apart, a motorcycle/boat chase, an airplane fight followed by a freefall jump, and, as usual, gunfights and explosions galore in the villain’s HQ during the finale.
Every Bond movie has a “This is the one with” and for Quantum of Solace, it’s the opera scene. Bond confronts the villains at an opera, fighting henchmen to the opera music. It’s a slick, stylish sequence that impresses me every time I see it.
Bond bygones: Bond finds Strawberry Fields dead after she’s drowned in oil, in a deliberate callback to the woman killed by being dipped in gold in Goldfinger.
Bond baggage: All this talk about oil, red herring or no, certainly speaks to current events.
Bond babble: This one’s really more of a Casino Royale expansion pack than it is a stand-alone movie. It demands that you see Casino Royale first, and then hop aboard the roller coaster. A lot of the action scenes are sweet, but the movie offers very little else. I enjoyed it, but I would have enjoyed some more story to go along with all the punches and gunshots.
Next week: You can’t go home again… or can you?
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