In the last film of this long-running franchise, Craig introduced a more brutal, intense and realistic Bond to the world. A similar Bond returns with more of a vengeance in Quantum of Solace, though it takes us even farther away from the conventions of the Sean Connery years.
To start, this is the first Bond sequel ever to pick-up shortly after where the previous film ended (really, it’s only been a few hours). Stinging from the apparent betrayal of the one Bond girl we are led to believe he actually loved, Bond is determined to uncover whether Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) actually loved him in return and, more importantly, seek revenge on the ulta-secret international organization known as QUANTUM that blackmailed her.
Bond’s quest for revenge puts him on the path to follow a QUANTUM mastermind named Monsieur Greene who has nefarious plans to profit from the world’s dwindling natural resources (and we’re not just talking about oil for a change). Following after Mr. Greene takes Bond from London to Haiti to Austria to South America to more locations than any other Bond film.
Along the way he meets the beautifully exotic Camille (Olga Kurylenko) seeking revenge against someone in close partnership with Greene who murdered her family. Unlike most Bond films, he helps her kill her man without ever trying to get her into bed. Maybe his heart is still with Vesper?
The action sequences are bigger and more frequent than the previous film with a short-lived interrogation of Mr White (who was captured at the end of Casino Royale) leading early on to an adrenaline-pumping, rooftop crashing action sequence reminiscent of Jackie Chan stunts. The action continues with high speed boat chases, dueling planes in the air, free-falling skydives, and exploding hotels on fire.
The jam-packed action sequences compensate for the chaotic plot and underutilized Bond. Though Daniel Craig appears in almost every scene, his character is entirely driven by grim determination of payback. So much so that he looks angry in every scene, whether enjoying the company of a lady at a party or kicking the crap out of a villain. One of the few familiarities we welcome is the return of Judi Dench as M. Together they share some of the most memorable lines in the film, such as when M tells Bond, “I think you are so blinded by inconsolable rage that you don’t care who you hurt.”
It’s nice to have a more realistic Bond that can feel pain as much as he can serve it, but it would also be nice to see more of the emotion that Craig showed us in Casino Royal. Still, this is a refreshing break from the familiar “shaken not stirred” Bonds of the past. Craig has two more Bond films under his current contract to find that sensitive balance between Bond’s brutality and his heart.