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VINE VOICEon January 28, 2009
Some reviewers and fans of the Bond films have complained that this film is a lesser effort in the series and pales in comparison to "Casino Royale". They have missed something important in their assessment of the film. When Dominic Green says to Bond that he and Camille Montez have something in common, that they are both "Damaged goods" he has clearly put before the audience the crux of the film that is "Quantum of Solace".
The film picks up only minutes after the end of "Casino Royale" and we are presented with a very damaged and changed James Bond. As revealed in the first film by Vesper Lynd's assessment of him upon their first meeting on the train, James Bond is a man who came up from humble beginnings and was given a privileged education but never allowed to forget his low origins. This has made him a very guarded loner with a chip on his shoulder, a perfect candidate for recruitment by MI6. In his words to her later on in the film, Vesper has "stripped me of my armor." But by the end of that film he is a man scarred by the death of his love, the armor is back on never to be penetrated again. He is now becoming the Bond of legend and a man bent on revenge.
So in "Quantum" there is no reason for the old fashioned quips or much humor in this man. Yet if you pay attention the character of James Bond as played by the incomparable Daniel Craig he lets us see that there are cracks in the armor. Something of a human heart still exists in him. This is played out in the scene after the plane crash where Camille asks him about his past. Craig shows it in his eyes in the most marvelous example of his layered and subtle acting style. Craig builds and molds a deeper, darker more complex Bond than we have ever seen before, a character more true to the books than in previous incarnations of Bond.
The action in the film is superlative and stylish. The opening car chase is indeed a nail biter only surpassed by the Sienna chase moments later. This too is then topped by the DC-3 aerial battle towards the end of the film. The stunts are breathtaking and propel the film at top notch speed. But perhaps the most stunning and original sequence is the gun fight in the restaurant at the Opera house. This is played without sound effect as the score of "Tosca" commands the ear and heightens the emotion of the scene. This is inspired and brilliant film making taking in account all aspects of editing, cinematography, score, and acting. And since I mentioned music I cannot leave out the incredible delicious score by David Arnold who has infused his Bond scores with the much need taste of John Barry. He captures the glorious Barry sound and builds brilliantly upon it.
All the principle players give superlative performances. Judi Dench command attention as she always has as "M". Giancarlo Giannini redeems himself and is truly touching as Mathis. Mathieu Amalic is appropriately slithery and devious as the villain Green. As Agent Fields, Miss Gemma Arterton brings a light and fun light to the film. Finally in the role of Camille Olga Kurylenko holds her own opposite Daniel Craig. This is no mean feat and she is wonderful, athletic and touching in the film.
In the end Bond does find a quantum of solace and ends the film in a telling way. A small gesture that lets us know he is now moving on but not without a tinge of sadness. This beautiful sad ending is a refreshing and moving way to end a Bond film.
"Quantum of Solace" is a fast paced film that demands attention to the small details and respect for superlative performances by all involved from the director Marc Forster to the entire cast and crew.
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on March 19, 2009
With the successful reboot of the James Bond franchise with Casino Royale (Three-Disc Collector's Edition), fans speculated what the next adventure would be and who would be the director. With the new look and attitude expertly established by Martin Campbell, the producers made the decision to have Marc Forster helm the next one, Quantum of Solace. At first, he seems like a rather odd candidate to direct as he's known mainly for edgy independent films like Monster's Ball and the sentimental biopic Finding Neverland (Widescreen Edition). However, his choice makes more sense once you realize that his films are predominantly character-driven and Casino Royale had much more of an emphasis on character than most other Bond films.

Forster does a surprisingly excellent job creating a lean, no frills revenge story under the guise of a Bond film. He is more than capable of handling the action sequences, of which there are many, and invests us in Bond's personal quest for vengeance all the while fulfilling the usual expectations of a Bond film: beautiful women, death-defying stunts, exotic locales, and world-dominating villains.

The first disc features a music video for "Another Way to Die" with Alicia Keys and Jack White in a slick video done very much in the style of the opening credits sequence. As far as Bond songs go, it's actually quite good and a definite improvement over Chris Cornell's song for Casino Royale.

Also included are teaser and theatrical trailers.

While there are several featurettes on the second disc they are very substantial in length.

The second disc starts off with "Bond on Location," which takes a look at the challenge of finding original locations all over the world for the film that fit the specific visual look that Forster wanted to achieve. This included set design, how the extras looked and so on.

"Start of Shooting" examines the daunting task of following up the phenomenonal success of Casino Royale. Craig had to do much more extensive training for this film, including things like stunt-driving.

"On Location" sees Forster viewing the film's various locations as characters unto themselves. They shot in some pretty remote areas.

"Olga Kurylenko and the Boat Chase" takes a look at the new Bond girl and how they viewed her character as Bond's equal. The actress did a lot of physical training so that she could do many of her own stunts.

"Director Marc Forster" talks about what he brings to the film. The cast speaks admiringly of him.

"The music" examines composer David Arnold's work on the film and how he tried to reflect its themes in the music. Alicia Keys and Jack White talk briefly about working together and we see footage of them shooting the music video for their song.
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VINE VOICEon February 17, 2009
"Quantum of Solace," the latest James Bond film and the second featuring Daniel Craig has its flaws, but is still a pretty spectacular film. The series is in full retooling mode, hardly recognizable when compared to the films of Sean Connery and Roger Moore. While closer to the darker sides of Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan's Bonds, it does have more in common with the popular Jason Bourne series starring Matt Damon, which is not a bad thing.

This Bond pickes up right after the end of Casino Royale, as Bond takes a prisoner for interrogation to M, again played by Dame Judy Dench. The interrogation and subsequent events uncovers a global conspiracy named Quantum, with members of prominence and power, including an admired environmentalist who is obviously up to no good. The rest of the film plays out as Bond races to find out and foil the villain's scheme, partnered with a revenge-minded woman, played by Olga Kurylenko.

The negatives - This film is much shorter than most Bond films, which isn't good or bad by itself, but the film plays in parts like it had a bit too much cut out, most notably the scenes between Bond and Strawberry Fields, a female agent played by Gemma Arterton. Like many women, she tries to resist Bond's charms to no avail, but as events unfold, it is obvious that Fields and Bond had quite a bit of time together, which is not reflected in the final cut. The villain, played by Mathieu Almaric, does not convey much in the way of danger or menace. He doesn't need to be the kind of kitschy, cartoonish villain that the old Bond films are famous for, but he should at least raise the audiences hackles, but he does not. Finally, the tension between Bond and M is understandable, but every film shouldn't have Bond being stripped of his license and having him act any more of a free agent than he already does. It would be more realistic to show the continued development of their relationship with disagreements and dialogue rather than rely on a plot device that has been used numerous times in the Bond series.

The positives, which far outweigh the negatives - Daniel Craig continues to prove that his Bond is like no other. His Bond is nuanced, troubled, and truly, truly dangerous. This Bond seems like someone who has a license to kill and is more apt to use it than any other Bond save Dalton's Bond. His acting talent gives Bond the gravitas and good humor that provides a balanced character. The action scenes have been updated and are breathtaking, and the potential for future films seem limitedless.

Quantum of Solace bodes well for the future of the series since even though it is flawed, it is at the same time a very remarkable film.
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on October 23, 2012
Where do I start?

1. Shortest Bond film ever. At 106 minutes, it is the second Bond movie to be less than 2 hours long, and is 13 minutes shorter than 1997's "Tomorrow Never Dies" which was short of 2 hours by only 1 minute. Given how painful QoS was to watch, this is almost a point in its favor.

2. Confusing plot. Three men wrote the script, and then a fourth was brought in. A classic case of "too many chefs spoil the plot." ;-) Bond moves from encounter to encounter without much sign as to why. I do not like movies that spell things out for me, as I usually figure them out myself just fine, but there is nothing to figure out here.

3. Shaky cam and fast cuts. The scenes. Move fast. And the. Camera cuts. Quickly from. One point. To another. (You get
the point.) On top of the fast edits, the action scenes use hand-held cameras that are shaking a little *too* much to be natural. Marc Forster clearly had some kind of "vision" for this movie that makes it literally painful to watch. I have even tried to watch it from far back, and it's still hard to tell what's going on, especially in one scene (slight spoiler) where he ends up in a hand-to-hand fight with someone his build, height, and hair color/style! The camera is jumping around so much and shaking when it isn't that you can't tell who is who! (Spoiler end.) Frankly, it looks at points as if the cameras were being operated by folks with Parkinson's who were also unfortunate enough to be epileptic and were suffering a grand mal seizure during filming. (Absolutely total respect to those with Parkinson's and/or epilepsy!)

4. Insulting plot. This goes hand-in-hand with #2, but the point here is, in this movie that moves along with no point, it takes many, many nasty jabs at America and the CIA. Only one CIA agent apparently has any integrity (guess who?) and the rest are all evil, evil, evil. Yep, let's make the USA bad guys! That seems to be vogue these days, sad to say... I know Bond is British, but the producers *do* know who is the primary audience for these movies, don't they?...

In short, this movie lets down Bond fans on many, many levels. But it does pick up almost to the minute from where Casino Royale leaves off, and we can presume that Skyfall will continue from where this movie leaves off. Hopefully, that movie will be better!
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on February 23, 2009
The movie starts off well enough with a nice car chase sequence that employs quick-cut scenes to convey adrenaline-pumping action, but it can be difficult to follow and I have to agree with critics' description of this approach as hypercut editing. In fact, a few people left the theater after the movie starts off with its two signature action sequences utilizing this approach. This unfortunately just underlines the problem with the film's pacing. Marc Forster is well-regarded for his previous work on "Finding Neverland" and "Monster's Ball", but it is obvious that this is his first venture into action-film-making. While I think it is a great idea for the production team to employ "Bourne" veterans to stage the action sequences, the movie was overly reliant on their approach and the aforementioned hypercut editing should have been a complement to the movie's style rather than its primary tool.

I defended Bond's state of mind and soulless demeanor as a vehicle in his early character development that would take him to the familiar suave, debonair spy he eventually becomes, but the portrayal of his motivated actions were inconsistent and rang hollow. As referenced in the title of this review, this was a greatly missed opportunity to memorably add to and definitively establish his early beginnings in James Bond canon. It is all the more disappointing when you consider the serial core cast--Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, and Jeffrey Wright--was at the top of its game and that there were some intriguing story elements that could have been delved into more or at least handled better to have the audience empathize more with James Bond's inner demons. This might be attributed to a rushed script that was turned in before the writers strike in order to meet production deadlines.

Being a sequel to the storyline from the indelible "Casino Royale", there was a perfect set up to finish Bond's emotional journey but instead it seems like the movie was more interested in hastily ending that part of his life so that it can move onto his next. "Quantum of Solace" even tries to emulate its predecessor with an ending to signify the birth of the Bond the world knows and loves. However, it is executed unconvincingly not only in that particular scene, but also in the buildup throughout the whole movie. It would have been better off for "Royale" to serve as a standalone end story rather than have "Solace" expand on it in such a paint-by-numbers fashion.

As much as "Casino Royale" took a quantum (pun intended) leap in re-invigorating the Bond franchise with a classic telling of Bond lore, "Quantum of Solace" stumbled with a couple of mis-steps back with an unfulfilling product that won't necessarily hurt the franchise but does indicate a possible return to the uninspired, formulaic approach to making James Bond movies.

It's funny how a previous reviewer mentions paying attention to detail in order fully appreciate this movie because I feel this movie would be better enjoyed if the audience would gloss over the details. In fact, if you compare the end scene of "Casino Royale" with opening scenes of "Quantum of Solace", you'll notice the suit Daniel Craig was wearing is different as Bond donned a Brioni suit in CR but a Tom Ford suit was shown in QoS.

I'm still glad I saw the movie but it comes off as superfluous and if I had to give it a grade, it'd get a C+ with the plus only added due to being somewhat related to the previous Bond outing, which I obviously have a high affinity for.
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on July 28, 2009
I just want to start off to say that this is a review of the film, not a technical review of the DVD itself.

We have entered the age of prequels and reboots. It seems like every franchise or recognizable name has been rebooted. James Bond, Batman, Hulk, heck, even Jason Voorhees has been rebooted. Some reboots are necessary while others just seem like they wanted to cash in on a recognizable name.

When I heard they were going to reboot James Bond, I was cautiously optimistic. Cautious because they could reboot it and make it worse, optimistic because the franchise really was in need of it. James Bond has always been kind of campy and goofy, but when they started to have invisible cars and media tycoons as the main villain, you know the line has to be drawn somewhere. In my opinion, prior to Casino Royale,GoldenEye was the last good James Bond movie.

Fortunately for us, Casino Royale turned out to be fantastic. Martin Campbell directed an action movie that was full of plot but was not boring, and full of action but was not ridiculous. When James Bond fought someone in the movie, it wasn't a karate chop to the chest and down goes the bad guy, you have him clobbering someone with a closed fist, throwing him through walls, slamming is face into the wall, getting his face slammed into a wall, and this goes on with such brutality that you swear the scene was not planned but was a real fight between Daniel Craig and whatever poor soul pissed him off. Then you have extremely smart dialog that you would expect from some Oscar bait movie, including the obligatory scene where M verbally neuters Bond (my favorite). You have characters that you either find intriguing or you find yourself attached to. Lastly, James Bond solves the mystery and defeats the villain through his own wits and perseverance, not through gadgets that were conveniently given to Bond right before a situation arises where he would need it. All of this together made for probably the best Bond movie I have seen.

So after Casino Royale, I couldn't wait for the next James Bond under this new universe. Yes, more crazy chases, more Bond brutally beating people into a pulp, more intense character interactions... Unfortunately, what we get instead, is Quantum of Solace...

Sure we get chases, but that's about all we get. It starts off with probably the best scene in the entire movie, and it's a chase scene with him and his Aston Martin. But the movie is literally one chase that leads to another chase, that leads to another chase, that eventually leads into a chase that leads to the final villain... You think I'm joking? The "plot" is composed of random scenes of people giving flat performances and very dull dialog that ultimately links one chase scene to the other. What about the fight scenes? Don't get me started on the "fight" scenes. The fight scenes are filmed in that quick-cutting ultra zoomed in fashion and the fights themselves are those fast watch the main character move some limbs and magically the enemy is down and out on the floor style fights made so popular by the Bourne movies. So what you get is some really quick cutting shaky cam of some limbs moving (you can't even tell whose limbs they are to be honest) and what started with two people coming at each other ends with Bond standing and the other guy on the ground. But really, you have no clue what just happened... In short, the "fights" sucked.

I think part of the reason for this is the director. They picked Marc Forster, and if you look at his resume, he doesn't have any action movies under his belt. Prior to the film coming out, I expressed this as a concern, and people flamed me to no end because of that. They said I was shallow, that if I wanted to see nothing but action I should watch Commando, etc. etc. etc. But they don't understand the point of my concern. My concern was that a GOOD action movie director knows how to balance action with a deep plot. While a lot of non-action movie directors do one of two things. They either deliver great character development and plot but sub-par action, or they overcompensate for their lack of action experience with lots and lots of action to the point where it is ridiculous and the plot and characters get left behind. Of course there are many exceptions, such as Jon Favreau and Iron Man, but in this case with Marc Forster, we got stuck with the latter scenario: Way too much ridiculous action and not enough plot.

Unfortunately for the next one, they can't have Martin Campbell back on board because he'll be busy with The Green Lantern. I just hope that they get someone who's experienced in making movies with deep plots and healthy doses of action.

I'm sure a lot of people thought this movie was great and enjoyed all of the action, but for me it just doesn't compare to Casino Royale. Not by a long shot.
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on July 8, 2009
XXXXX

This film is a sequel to the 2006 film "Casino Royale." It is not based on a book by the late Ian Fleming.

The title of this movie comes from a 1960 short story in Fleming's "For Your Eyes Only" but contains no elements of that short story.

It is the 22ND "official" (meaning EON productions) Bond movie with Daniel Craig being the sixth actor to play British MI6 agent James Bond (code number: 007). This is Craig's second outing as Bond, his first being Bond in "Casino Royale."

As with Casino Royale, the action and special effects in this movie are fantastic and very realistic. This movie is also serious (which I like) and reminded me of the first five excellent, serious Sean Connery Bond movies and the excellent one with George Lazenby as Bond.

Unfortunately, nothing in this movie suggests we are watching a Bond movie (except when the end credits roll the James Bond theme is played briefly). It is just a well-crafted action movie.

I did not care for the opening credit sequence and song. There is no opening gun-barrel walk (but one appears, of all places, at the beginning of the closing credits).

Daniel Craig appears to be quite fit for his role as James Bond. But there is more to Bond than just being fit! There is none of the Bond savoir-fare or the Bond witticisms that have come to define Bond--James Bond.

The villain in this movie does not seem to be very villainous. As well, the Bond girl seems to have weak acting ability. Dame Judi Dench as "M" has an expanded role in this movie. She gives a good, convincing performance.

Personally, I don't understand why the Bond music is not more liberally used. Nothing defines James Bond more than this distinctive music.

It is also difficult to follow this movie (in terms of action and plot) at times. I had to stop and rewind it several times. (Viewers didn't have this luxury in theatres.)

This movie was filmed in location in Italy, Mexico, Panama, Chile, Austria, and England.

Finally, the DVD itself (released in 2009) is perfect in picture and audio quality. It has three disappointing extras.

In conclusion, for those who are not James Bond fans, and looking to see a good action movie, this is the movie to see. However, true Bond fans may ask themselves the following:

"Is this a James Bond movie or is this an action movie that happens to have somebody in it named James Bond?"

** 1/2

(2008; 1 hr, 45 min; wide screen; 28 scenes)

<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>

XXXXX
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I'll admit that I went into Quantum of Solace more or less dreading a repeat of the Licence To Kill debacle. All the danger signs were there - a rushed script because of a writers' strike, threats of Bond going rogue again plus the problem that great Bond films are usually followed by naff ones. The short running time wasn't encouraging, nor the bigger budget and promise of more action.

Well, this isn't one of the great Bond films, and Casino Royale set the bar far too high for it to compete. But it's certainly not a disappointment if you go in aware of that, and more gratifyingly, the similarities to Licence To Kill are superficial. Where Casino Royale was like making love all night long, this is more of a gratifyingly frenzied *beep* of a film. The running time isn't a problem because, like From Russia With Love, this is a pared down machine with no fat to trim away, throwing out all the overused touchstones to get down to business. From a plot point of view there's maybe a little too much one corpse leading to the next plot point in the first third, but the film wisely ditches that approach early.

Dan Bradley's action scenes are thankfully not as ineptly over-edited and incoherent as in Paul Greengrass' films, but aren't as impressive as Gary Powell's work on Casino Royale. There are moments of familiarity - a motorbike sequence borrows from the unimpressively shot harbour scene in Jackie Chan's The Protector, but without the lethargic pacing, while an aeriel dogfight owes a lot to a famously rejected stunt originally intended for the opening of GoldenEye - and the opening car chase through heavy traffic could have benefited from not trying quite so hard. But within them there are moments of stylisation that few other Bonds have attempted and failed at but which are far more successful here, most notably an impressive opera sequence that could have done with a few more shots to clarify the odd mechanical detail (something other parts of the film could benefit from). It's also surprisingly vicious - for perhaps the first time in a Bond film, innocent bystanders are deliberately killed. That said, the rationale for the explosions at the end is more than a little dubious.

The film isn't as humorless as some have complained: there's a lot of dry humor where appropriate and a delightfully playful game of cat-and-mouse with Bond and M in a hotel, but none of the outright slapstick comedy that dragged the series down before. Nor is Forster's direction or the editing as awkward as some found it: there's a pleasingly epic scale to the film allied with a non-nonsense straight-down-to-business attitude that works well for this particular story.

The most curious complaint is that it's just action with no character development, when nothing could be further from the truth. While there is more action, the characterisation is integrated into both plot and action. Bond is once again on an emotional journey - forgiveness, believe it or not, is ultimately the quantum of solace of the title - though this time the heart and soul of the film is Giancarlo Giannini's Rene Mathis, the kind of man Bond might be capable of becoming and one he learns something about himself from. One of their scenes is easily one of the very finest moments in the entire history of the series.

Craig still owns the role impressively and Jeffrey Wright starts to come in to his own as Felix Leiter this time round. Mathieu Amalric is one of the better villains of the past twenty years. He won't be among the greats, but he convinces and the scheme is genuinely ingenious in its simplicity. Olga Kurylenko manages to shake off the ineptness of her former performances to be a more than adequate but not especially memorable female lead, though Gemma Arterton lets the side down badly in a part that has unwelcome elements of Serena Gordon in GoldenEye and Rowan Atkinson in Never Say Never Again. Thankfully it's a small role so her weak and stilted straight-out-of-stage-school acting can't do too much damage.

Intriguingly, the film exists in a more convincing world of global politics than we've seen before in a Bond film: SPECTRE would have loved to be around in an era when governments eagerly step into bed with crime syndicates if it suits their ends and where corporations are able to play governments and intelligence agencies against each other. Here Bond works for a British government that tortures suspects on foreign soil and blindly goes along with foreign interests and crime syndicates alike in its desperation to snatch the scraps from the superpowers' tables. Initially, Bond is just as ruthless and morally flawed as his masters, the bullish arrogance gradually being smoothed away by emotional experience as he learns the importance of forgiveness to find the quantum of solace of the title that he needs to go on.

Yes, there are weaknesses - M's office is overdesigned, a few scenes could have played better, the song is crap and the gunbarrel sequence is a big and unnecessary mistake - but it's not the crushing disappointment some are claiming. It may not be a great Bond movie, but it most definitely is a Bond movie, and a damn good night out at the pictures. And one that left me seriously thinking that even if the series never recaptures the high of Casino Royale,we may just be entering a genuine second golden age of Bond movies.

Although a decent but unspectacular array of extras have been announced for the two-disc DVD, don't be too surprised if there's a double-dip 3-disc set in a year or so's time as with the recent Casino Royale collector's edition.
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on March 30, 2009
To me, Quantum of Solace was a complete and utter letdown ! I saw and liked its direct predecessor Casino Royale, so my expectations were high. But I found some parts of QoS to be almost unwatchable. Did the editor go mad or was he doped up when he cut this movie? The action sequences comprise of extremely short, blurry images that pass with machinegun-speed. They produce an almost stroboscopic effect that literally hurts your eyes and numbs your mind and leaves you unsure of what's happened. At home, you can rewind the DVD player to watch it again. In the movie theater, you're hopefully lost. The result is a physically exhausting film experience after a mere five minutes of play. I almost switched the DVD-player off there and then. I know that the pace of (action) movies has picked up considerably since the nineties, and in general that is a good thing. But the pace of the action sequences of QoS is ridiculous and an insult to moviegoers. My young adult children (18 and 16) complained about this too, so thankfully I am not alone in this respect. Just lately, I began to fear that I have trouble coping with the increasing pace of today's movies because I have turned middle-age. Clearly this is not the case, then ! The action and violence in QoS is gritty and realistic, almost clinical. And I love Daniel Craig as the new JB. Five stars for him. But QoS the movie seems to have no discernible plot and what little plot there is is enigmatic (not in the positive sense), vague, illogical and lacks coherence. This quickly becomes annoying to the extreme. You never have an idea what's going to happen next and --most important--why. I am very happy with "the new JB" as portrayed by Daniel Craig, but QoS is definitely not the way forward with the JB-franchise.
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on April 3, 2009
Quantum of Solace is a frustrating Bond film, which switches between very entertaining to fairly pedestrian at frightening speed. At best, it may be described as uneven. Coming off the backs of one of the best Bond films ever and a wonderful piece of cinema in its own right, namely Casino Royale, the producers and director of QoS make a strange choice to halt the revolution early and instead, produce a fairly standard, sometimes even pedestrian outing for Bond. In that sense, QoS has none of the revolutionary flair, the deft characterization, and the bold styling of its predecessor. And don't let anyone tell you it's being judged harshly because it's being compared to Casino Royale either. Put simply, the film never elevates itself above the level of standard blockbuster actioner. It's major failure is that it doesn't continue the path toward reinvention that the previous installment did, and rather falls back on some well worn cliché's, which is surprising, considering that Marc Forster is the last director I would expect "the usual" from.

Nearly everything in QoS grates where you crave escape. From it's truncated opening, supposedly taking place one hour after Casino ends, to the horrible song played over the credit sequence, to the maddeningly slim running time, the movie announces itself as almost intended to dissatisfy. In the pre-credits sequence, there's a visceral but much too short car chase somewhat hampered by the hyper-stylized editing, popular with directors who lack confidence. (Although it's implied this happens fairly shortly after the end of CR, Bond is apparently wearing a different suit to the one we see him in at the end of that film.)

Bond himself is a bit of a wreck in the movie. The loss he suffers previously is taking a toll on him. He's drinking more heavily and prone to do more serious damage than his superiors might like. He's angry and upset and self-destructive and, because of Daniel Craig's excellent performance, somewhat sympathetic at times. But these little touches get lost in the "by-the-numbers" feel of the action sequences, all of which happen too quickly and trail off at the end rather than build to a satisfying climax. It's as if the producers, writers and director together, sat down before the film was written, counted out how many set pieces they intended the film to have, story-boarded and location-scouted them, and then sat down to write the movie. The film is also mean - Bond's treatment of Mathis is shocking and doesn't have the effect the filmmakers may have thought it would. In fact it undermines all their earlier efforts to make Bond sympathetic. The most irritating aspect of the film is the heavy reliance on that annoying and much overused plot-point involving Bond going rogue/losing his licence/being sanctioned by superiors/called back by MI6 or whatever. It's tired and re-tread here to very annoying effect.

By far the movie's biggest weaknesses are the fairly weak plot at it's center, the unfortunately weaker villain involved, and the generally weak third act. The confrontation in the desert is especially deserving of derision as it is so typically summer blockbuster fair/cliché' that it is unforgivable. Third acts of Bond films are usually their Achilles heal, but you can usually tell the bad ones easy - they involve everything blowing up for no discernable reason.

For all this criticism though, QoS should be watched. It's a Bond film, Daniel Craig makes another superb turn, all the other performances are fantastic and there are parts of it that are genuinely thrilling, even if you've seen most of it before. And it's not that the film is very bad, though it is flawed. It's just that the movie's only "ok," and nothing more.
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