Quantum of Solace. Hardly.
There’s very little comfort in the sequel to 2006’s excellent Casino Royale.
It picks up the story a few days after the death of James Bond’s ladylove Vesper Lynd. He’s looking to settle scores.
Quantum is a renegade organization setting up some sort of financial siphoning scheme to control the world. Or something like that. The whole concept is rather convoluted, and it’s hard to keep track of who is doing who and why.
And it really doesn’t matter anyway. This is James Bond, not rocket science. Quantum’s guy, Dominic Greene, plays pivot in a plot to control Bolivia. Bond’s unlikely ally in the skirmish to stop him and unravel the mystery of Quantum is Camille, a young woman seeking revenge for the death of her family.
Quantum of Solace is more like quantum of mechanics. Instead of sticking with the brainier direction started in the Bond “beginning” Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace is a paint-by-numbers thrill-fest with a cooler-than-cool Bond defying death in the most mechanical of action movie ways.
This isn’t to say Quantum Solace is terrible. For a hunt-em-down-and-kill-em flick it is quite entertaining.
Director Marc Forster (Stranger than Fiction) has a budget big enough to be inventive. Bond goes unscathed as he careens down a twisty mountain road in an intense, but costly, car chase as 007 crashes through a skylight and fights a bad guy to the death while hanging upside down on a rope.
The rest of the story has him dodging the predictable hail of bullets and bombs.
This isn’t your daddy’s James Bond. A humorless Daniel Craig has transformed the character into a super-serious, super-spy. Gone is the shaken, not-stirred, martini-swilling, smart-assed letch that beds babes by the bunch.
He and his cast mates march robotically through the story. Former supermodel Olga Kurylenko doubles as the film’s eye candy and is more impressive for looking similar to Eva Green -- who played Lynd -- than for her acting. Mathiew Amalric, so superb in last year’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, is wasted as the nefarious Greene.
Judy Dench’s M and Jeffrey Wright’s CIA pal Felix Leiter are Quantum of Solace’s link to Bond’s traditional roots.
Also missing are the wizardry gadgets that helped define Bond and the many great actors who’ve played him through the decades. Bond -- alas -- now has more in common with Jason Bourne.
And -- like Robert Ludlum’s Bourne -- Bond seems to have lost his identity. Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and violence. It opens Nov. 14 at the Columbia Mall 8 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.