Written by General Jabbo
Daniel Craig’s gritty take on James Bond gets a second go-around in Quantum of Solace, the 22nd film in the long-running franchise. It begins minutes after 2006’s excellent Casino Royale ends with Bond in a high-speed car chase. He has Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), who he shot in the leg at the end of the previous film tied up and locked in the trunk with White’s henchmen in pursuit. Bond takes White to M (Judi Dench) at an M16 safe house and attempts to interrogate him. White was responsible for the death of Bond’s former love interest, Vesper Lynd, as well as her boyfriend, Yusef Kabira and, in spite of what he says to M, Bond wants revenge. While this sort of continuity is rare, albeit somewhat refreshing in a Bond film, it definitely requires the viewer to have seen Casino Royale to fully understand what is going on.
As Bond interrogates White, it is discovered that he has sleeper agents within M16, including M’s bodyguard Craig Mitchell (Glenn Foster). A skirmish ensues and White manages to elude Bond again. Bond’s search for White leads him to Port Au Prince, Haiti and Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), the head of Greene Planet, a utility company that builds eco-parks.
While in Haiti, he meets Camille (Olga Kurylenko), who thinks he is a geologist she has been waiting for. Camille is a different kind of Bond girl in that she is more than just a pretty face. She is a dangerous force out for revenge against Bolivian General Medrano (Joaquin Cosio) for committing atrocities against her family. Medrano is working with Greene to stage a coup in Bolivia, with Medrano getting power in return for giving control of the desert to Greene. Camille uses Greene to get to Medrano. The film does a nice job of parallelism between Bond and Camille, two characters bent on revenge no matter the cost. Their fury has them not thinking clearly, with Greene referring to both of them as “damaged goods” at one point. Greene for his part plays the stereotypical power-hungry Bond villain with a cold arrogance.
Along the way, Bond’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, with M16 thinking he is becoming a liability, going as far as to cancel his credit cards and passport. This is where Craig’s Bond loses a lot of the charm of his predecessors. While Bond has always caused a lot of property damage, he has never been this reckless. Also gone is much of the Bond dry wit and bad puns, a staple of the franchise. Hard times call for hard actions, but even in the worst possible situations, previous Bonds would have attempted to make light of their situation. One can hope this will prove to be an exception, rather the rule. Casino Royale proved Craig could be a tough Bond, but still charming.