Quantum of Solace - Cinema Review

'viewers might feel they are being led on a wild goose chase around the more interesting plot which is hiding somewhere behind one of the men with a silly name'

Casino Royale was a bit of a gherkin really – you either loved the smart new direction it took Bond in or you hated it because it still wasn’t like the old Bond of Sean Connery and Roger Moore (an opinion I tended to find in the over 40s). Then there was of course the third group of moaners who didn’t buy in to the poker (there’s not that much of it!) and character development and just wanted action and lots of it.

Following on from that when I took my seat last night to watch Quantum of Solace I will admit to being slightly nervous. I am a big Bond fan. I love the old films, I appreciate the new films, I hate Die Another Day and I loved Casino Royale. But for Quantum I was nervous from the moment that ridiculous title was announced and Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli started talking about getting back to ‘the action’ and more traditional Bond staples; gadgets, girls, guns and Q. I couldn’t help thinking ‘are they really going to do to Craig what they did to Brosnan?’

Which of course, in super-secret spy language, meant, ‘are they going to balls the whole thing up again by putting in too much stupid action, too many ridiculous stunts and a simple plot suitable only for a picture book?’

Thankfully the answer to the above question is most definitely not. There are obviously stunts and action but these are entirely kept to a believable level and always given a nice ‘darker’ side, plane scene excluded. The plot follows a similar tone to Casino and for perhaps the first time ever in a Bond film we have a concurrent story that looks set to continue to flow from film to film in an agreeable way.

Having said that, there are marked problems from the film that I didn’t anticipate at all. Conscious of the fact that this is now a series, director Marc Foster obviously felt the need to crowbar this instalment in between the set up of Casino and the potential revelation of New Bond III. What this means is the amount of information we discover on the shadowy organisation that ‘have people everywhere’ is comparatively little. When you get to the end think back; what have we actually learned that we didn’t already know come the end of Casino?

The feeling that you’re not being told much is substantiated by Foster’s decision to shield the viewer from two key scenes that happen off camera; an obviously notable conversation with Mathieu Amalric’s Dominic Greene and Bond’s interrogation of Vesper’s previous boyfriend. Contrast this with the amount of time spent studying the side-plot of apparently un-related Camille (the stunningly beautiful, perfect Bond-girl, Olga Kurylenko) and you can begin to see why some viewers might feel they are being led on a wild goose chase around the more interesting plot which is hiding somewhere behind one of the men with a silly name (more of which later).

What this leaves you with is an almost unlimited sense of frustration come the final credits which certainly I and roughly half the cinema I was in did not expect to roll at that point.

You’re forced to make the conclusion that you’ve just sat through a quite punishing action film which promised much in terms of its presentation and plot but actually delivered very little in the latter department.

Don’t get me wrong it’s a satisfying watch on the level of say, the first Rambo, but it hardly aspires to the plotted heights of say, Ronin or the more obvious Bourne’s and or course Casino.

There’s one more thing that has started to really grate as well which, in the end, is probably why I can’t bring myself to give it anything more than 6; the names. Mr White, Mr Slate, Mr Greene, I fully expect that if we are to have a cock-up on the scale of Die Another Day the villains will be revealed as the Mysterons, while Captain Scarlet will appear out of nowhere to help Bond save the day.

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