Action fans should seek ‘Solace’

 quantum2

“Quantum of Solace” is not so much a new James Bond film as it is an epilogue to “Casino Royale,” which is not meant as a complaint, but merely an observation.

While not marked by the same measured dramatic strides “Royale” made when it so successfully relaunched the franchise with its most thrilling installment in decades, “Solace” nevertheless solidifies Craig’s reign as the most magnetic Bond the series has known (sorry Connery fans).

With “Solace” clocking in at just over 90 minutes, though, he’s not provided with much breathing room to showcase sophistication, or display his humorous side. No, here it’s all about leaping from one action spectacle to the next with nary a nanosecond to catch one’s breath.

Some critics have taken issue with the re-invention for the 2st century, but with Craig signed on for at least two more franchise features, he’ll have ample opportunity to crack wise, lounge with the ladies, and fidget with gadgets.

In “Solace,” he’s all about the revenge business. And it’s booming.

An MI6 traitor almost kills M (once again embodied by a steely Dame Judy Dench), and sends Bond back to the shores of Haiti where an identity mixup lands him in the company of the sultry Camille (Olga Kurylenko), whose caught in a web of revenge all her own.

Bond’s still licking his wounds from the death of “Royale’s” Vesper Lynde” and he’s more than ready to crack skulls, particularly one of Mr. White (played by Jasper Christiensen), the man responsible for Lynde’s death and the head of a powerful sinister cartel known as Quantum that is seeking to do some environmental damage.

Their individual missions intertwine through various nefarious connections and lead Bond to zip through the backdrops in London, Italy, Austria, Bolivia and South America.

But if you are looking for sunset-drenched sex or technical curiosities, you’d best rent a film from Bond’s back catalogue. For director Marc Forester’s flick is as singularly driven as his lead, who relies more on brains and brawn then on exploding pens and rock-launching Lamborghinis. Think more MacGyver and less (Roger) Moore.

In fact, the film’s only fault can be that it rarely allows its audience’s ears, eyes and brain to register the previous pummeling before launching into the next parallel-edited sequence.

By boat, bi-plane, car and foot, “Solace” is a film propelled by its driven, anguished antagonist. It’s action, when it’s able to register, is decidedly raw — those bumps and bruises all look well earned. Forget the Humane Society overseeing the production, the Human Society should be alerted to the amount of brutality its cast seemingly endures.

This leaves little time for character, for fun, for humor and for hanky-panky, which many Bond fans will miss. And had this been a separate chapter and not a legitimate sequel, they’d have ample grounds for their complaints.

But since Bond rarely plays by the rules, there’s no reason the franchise should as well. Sure, I would have enjoyed seeing the relationship between Bond and Camille expand to more than verbal foreplay, or to have spent more time in the secret lair of the chief villain Dominic Greene (played by Matthew Amalric), or even spend a few seconds more with Bond’s ally Felix Leiter (played by Jeffrey Wright), but I am appreciative of the time spend with any of them, regardless.

In an attempt to wratchet up the action to keep pace with the highly successful “Bourne” franchise, Bond has trimmed the trappings of its “Royale” appeal, but it’s still enough to knock the living daylights out of the closest competitor.

 

~ by usesoapfilm on November 9, 2008.

2 Responses to “Action fans should seek ‘Solace’”

  1. I’ve heard this movie suffers from the infamous shakey/quick cut syndrome. If this is true I will be disappointed.

    Tell me it isn’t so Rob. Please tell me it isn’t so!

  2. The good news? No over-caffeinated lingering shots ala Bourne.
    The bad? It’s spliced within an inch of its life.
    But…I consider this a ‘rogue’ installment, mirroring its lead. Not really a new Bond chapter, but more of a bridge. I may be making excuses for it, but I bought into it.

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