Most James Bond films are not all that great. I know, I know, that will be the first and the last sentence many a Bond fanboy will ever read of this review, but let’s be honest here.
You take a megalomaniac villain with world domination on the brain, add a couple of hot girls with variable intelligence levels and throw in a dash of the kind of cinematic cheese that only a phrase like “shaken, not stirred” can conjure up. There. You’ve got a Bond film.
That’s why 2006’s Casino Royale was such a success. The formula was finally turned on its head. When Bond replied, “Do I look like I give a damn?” to the shaken or stirred question, we knew we had a totally different Bond on our hands, and not just because he was blond. Daniel Craig was an inspired casting choice as James Bond, and despite some purists’ objections, a series reboot was exactly what this franchise needed.
Unfortunately, Quantum of Solace stumbles into the territory of generic action sequence land early, and it never really makes it out. Time will tell, but Solace will almost certainly be regarded as one of the weaker films in the Bond canon.
The film starts almost immediately after the events of Casino Royale. Bond is distraught over the death of Vesper, the woman he loved, but he’s not the type to get overly emotional about it. Instead, audiences are treated to nearly two hours of James Bond strictly in revenge mode, and while that robs the character of any nuance, it’s not the biggest problem of the film.
It’s clear from the opening scenes that wall-to-wall action is what’s in store for the rest of the movie. Unfortunately, director Marc Forster (Stranger than Fiction, The Kite Runner) has never directed an action film in his life, and it shows.
The first 15 minutes are a flurry of headache-inducing quick edits that make Paul Greengrass’s work look restrained, and while Forster slows the pace down a little as the film progresses, he rarely settles down to deliver a coherent action sequence.