Quantum Of Solace 1/2

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Quantum of Solace is not just another Bond film. It really is a sequel to Casino Royale - which introduced Daniel Craig's raw, untested James Bond to the world.

This film picks up from where Casino Royale trailed off. But it is nothing like its predecessor.

Still hurting from the betrayal and death of his love Vesper (Eva Green), James Bond is on the hunt, seeking revenge and he is unrelenting, throwing people off buildings, dumping his friend's body in a garbage bin, killing anyone he touches.

M (Judi Dench) the head of MI6 is not pleased and she retracts Bond's license to kill.

Meanwhile the most cartoonish and peculiar villain in the Bond series, Dominic Greene is on the loose. Connecting him with James Bond is Camille (Olga Kurylenko) who is also seeking revenge on a Latin American general.

In between is the politics between MI6 and CIA, the global issue of oil and corruption at the highest level. It's definitely interesting. But the film doesn't play this to its advantage. There are hardly any ploys the film uses to tighten the film.

Au contraire, Quatum of Solace is actually a much weaker film than its prequel.

Director Marc Forster goes for the usual action scenes - car chases, airplane and sea boats fights, James Bond hanging upside chasing a villain in a labyrinth-like maze.

It's glittering stuff and on the big screen, it's breathtaking. But unlike the last time, where action sequences were relatively fewer and spread evenly throughout the film, here it is the exact opposite.

The film opens with a car chase and it is a teaser into the film which, in the end, can be simply defined as an action film. And that is anything but good especially after the brilliance of Casino Royale.

Quantum of Solace fails to live up to the hype that surrounded the film prior to its opening. The one-liners and effective dialogues are all but replaced. The action is too much. The film never slows down even though it should.

There are no memorable and powerful scenes without someone being bludgeoned to death.

Indeed Marc Forster shoots action scenes exquisitely, keeping it tight but by the end, it seems as if he is taking his cues from the Bourne films.

And predictably enough, with so much action, halfway through the film, it all starts becoming boring.
Remember Wachowski Brothers and their masterpiece called The Matrix? It changed the whole spectrum of action films and took it to another level.

Last year the third film in the Bourne franchise, Bourne Ultimatum, where action sequences went to a whole new level, was absolutely brilliant. With all these movies out, Quantum of Solace needed a more realistic tough which never happened.

If you were hoping for a tour de force of cinema, Quantum of Solace isn't one. It falls into all the clichéd traps: over-the-top action, a storyline that baffles one to no end and James Bond on the hunt around the world. To add fuel to fire, the villain never comes into full play. So he is involved with a dictator and is looking for oil or water. Who cares?

The real problem is the loose writing. Why is Dominic Greene such a dangerous villain? He isn't terrifying at all. M has more shades to her than Dominic. It's quite bizarre.

James Bond with his grim, pessimistic and disillusioned worldview is the only saving grace of this film. Daniel Craig's Bond lives a tough life. He isn't anything like the Bond of Sean Connery or even Pierce Brosnan.

He is miserable. He doesn't sleep. He is merciless and yet the truthfulness of this Bond is intriguing. His faith is shaken and in some ways, he is vulnerable and emotionally raw in ways one didn't witness in Casino Royale.

James Bond has never been this isolated - Americans and even the Brits don't come to his defense - and he plays it to such effect that it is astonishing and it definitely hits a nerve. No James Bond has ever done that. The best scenes are when James Bond explores emotions, which we didn't know James Bond had until Daniel Craig stepped in.

The other high point are the sequences between M - who has this inner cool steel demeanour to her - and James Bond. Both of them are wary of each other. She doesn't trust him because of his recklessness and he hates being controlled by her.

But even these two don't save the film. In the end, the only respite is the actor that is Daniel Craig. He plays James Bond like a man, not a machine and that really is a good thing. Watch it, not for the action, but the actor that is Daniel Craig. He is to British cinema what Amy Winehouse is to British music - a maverick.

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