Still having a bad day, but additionally dealing with vengeance denial issues, Daniel Craig’s glum but no less homicidally gifted 007 is braced for new and equally alarming death-defying ventures in Quantum Of Solace. A barely pausing instant sequel to Casino Royale, and the first Bond followup of its kind in the series, Quantum’s leap beyond airborne perches into psychological territory is on the other hand oddly no more introspective than usual, in potentially shedding light on the laconic, suave man of mystery.
Still in Italy and hot in pursuit of the villains responsible for the blackmailing and suicide of his old flame Vesper, Bond realizes that he’s got quite a phantom enemy on his hands, the multinational corporate menace, Quantum. The super-human hitman tracks down a suspect head honcho Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) in Bolivia, while deflecting overbearing surrogate mom boss, M (Judi Dench). Amalric, who was last seen as a total paralytic astonishingly struggling to hold on to existence with solely the blink of an eye, here holds malevolent sway over nearly the entire world. With an eco-friendly lip service foundation front as cover, Greene functions as a formidable efficiency expert destabilizing governments for profit, making the world safe for terrorists, and privatizing Bolivia’s water supply. While providing erotic digressions sexing up the sinister machinations as Bond struggles to corner elusive confederations of robber barons, are retribution mate Olga Kurylenko and government functionary hottie, Gemma Arterton.
More a victim of the special effects masterminds bruising and battering the dapper assassin around in ever new and imaginative ways, than prey of his onscreen enemies, Daniel Craig wears the 007 mantle with roughed up finesse and rarely disappoints. It’s the narrative that seems to lag behind, perhaps a case of mismatching the measured pacing of storytelling specialists – director Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Finding Neverland), Casino Royale scribe and Quantum sequelizer Neal Purvise, and co-screenwriter Paul Haggis (Crash) – with a sheer, no nonsense hyper-muscular action thriller.
Quantum Of Solace and its dare devilishly conceived feats, as is typical of this gravity-defying fantasy genre, rarely make any sense, but never cease to unplug that collective audience adrenaline flow for the duration. And Daniel Craig excels in chilling ruthlessness but elegance, as he pursues without the least hesitation, revenge as a dish best served with a cold Martini.
2 1/2 stars