Having several days to reflect now on Quantum of Solace, I think that the problem with the film is fundamentally this: it’s a good action movie, but it’s not a good Bond movie. Here’s why:
In a recent interview, Roger Moore said that he was “horrified” by the level of violence in the new James Bond movies, but he understood that it’s what audiences want these days. And this is true, if you tried to pull off the kinds of camptastic action sequences from previous Bond movies, there would be an audience revolt. Check out this scene from The Spy Who Loved Me where Roger Moore’s Bond fights Jaws in Egypt.
Can you honestly say that this would fly today? There’s just no way. Times have changed. Contrast that with the opening chase scene from Casino Royale:
But it is the case that perhaps Bond has been a bit too influenced by Jason Bourne these days. High intensity action sequences are great, but there’s much more to a Bond movie than that. There’s a certain charm and lightheartedness that is now gone from the series, thanks in part to Craig, but also writers have something to do with it as well.
What might have been a tender seduction scene between a female agent and Bond is now replaced with two lines of curt dialogue and a quick cut to the girl lying naked in bed. Where’s the suaveness, the sophistication?
Quantum of Solace is still an intensely enjoyable movie, despite its disregard for Bond tradition. The storyline is a bit hard to follow, but name a Bond film (or hell, a Bourne film) where that isn’t the case. Everything about the film is breathtaking, from the locales to the cars to the women, all that’s lacking is a bit of lubrication to make it all glide together.
It’s unclear how many chapters this new Bond saga will go on, but let’s hope they remember to make James Bond a person again, instead of a rage fueled killing machine. There’s much about this new direction to the franchise I like, but they just have to be careful not to lose too much along the way.
3.5 out of 5 stars