Let’s face it, the Bond franchise had fallen to a pretty low place before _Casino Royale_ — it had become a series of nearly-unwatchable flicks that drew an audience only because of the woman in the bikini or the gadgets on the car. So I was more than a little worried that _Quantum of Solace_ would turn back towards the bad old days. Fortunately, it didn’t; _Quantum of Solace_ is a tight, gritty action flick that highlights Daniel Craig’s sociopathic take on Bond. Sadly, it also has big action montages that make no sense. Most of all, if you like a good movie, and you live in LA, it’s worth going to see _Quantum of Solace_ at the Century City mall just to check out their new parking lot system.
Bond was always about the hot women and the controlled, debonair class, and _Quantum of Solace_ has all of that. Strawberry Fields is a great throw-away Bond girl, and Craig’s Bond manages everything on the screen — except for the Tom Ford tux he briefly wears, which, sadly, manages him. Despite that, after seeing this movie, I may be prepared to try out white jeans.
Bond was also always about the gadgetry, and, sadly, that’s absent here. While John Cleese as Q may have been taking it too far, the occasional goodie would be appropriate even in a post-Bourne Bond. The opening chase scene frankly begged for a gadget on Bond’s beleagured car, and the ending escape would have been much sweeter, and much less of a deus ex machina, with a gadget to get our hero and heroine out of their uncomfortable corner.
Bond was also about being big, and that’s the only place where this movie falls down. The two biggest scenes — at a horse race in Siena, Italy, and at a performance of La Tosca in Norway — just don’t make sense. First of all, did you know that Siena had a “famous horse race”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palio_di_Siena? Neither did I. Second, the Siena scene has cuts so rapid that it’s impossible to get any sense of space (only the lucky will follow the action at all). The action during the Tosca performance is interspersed with shots of the performance, with the parallels between the fight and the opera being highlighted. That is, if you’re familiar with “Tosca”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tosca, which it’s fair to say very few people will be; the rest will just be confused.
Despite all these, _Quantum of Solace_ holds up well. It’s distinctive, and could never be confused for anything but a Bond movie. The locations are gorgeous, the action is exciting, the women are dangerous and alluring.
And, if you go to Century City Plaza, you’ll now find that every parking space has a light over it that turns red if it’s full or green if it’s empty, so you can tell from some distance away where you can find parking. Now that alone makes the movie worth seeing.
fn1. Or maybe I just have a thing for brainy redheads.
fn2. Although what does it say about Haiti and Bolivia that the scenes in these countries were actually filmed in Panama and Chile, respectively?
fn3. Especially if you liked the Parkour scene from _Casino Royale_.
fn4. Where “you” does not include my friend’s boyfriend, who is red-green colorblind.