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Quantum of Solace (AF)


Stars: Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Arterton, Jeffrey Wright, Jesper Christensen, Tim Pigott-Smith, Rory Kinnear

Director: Marc Forster

Bond began his big screen career (does anyone remember Barry Nelson’s 007 in a 1954 TV version of Casino Royale?) with Sean Connery playing him as a thug in a tuxedo in Dr No, followed by wooden one-time-only George Lazenby, smooth tailor’s dummy Roger Moore, intense but unfortunately uncharismatic Timothy Dalton and suave and satisfying Pierce Brosnan before being ‘reinvented’ as yet another thug in a dinner jacket by glowering, pumped-up Craig for Casino Royale.

Only the title, Bond and M remain true to Fleming in this all-action offering, one of whose claims to fame is that it is the shortest film in the series. Otherwise it takes off in directions unlikely to have been considered by Fleming, taking three writers (Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade) to come up with the vengeance-driven storyline, which has 007 seeking violent revenge for the death of his betrayed lover Vesper (remember Casino Royale?) and finding time during the near non-stop Bond-driven orgy of mano a mano fisticuffs, car chases, exciting aerial pursuit and assorted mayhem, teaming up with exotic Kurylenko to save Bolivia from villain Almaric, exposing his buffed-up physique by briefly romancing British agent Arterton in a display of back-licking, and feuding with M, played again by Dench who, with Almaric, gives the only real display of genuine acting in the film.

Humour is notably absent, ‘Q’ and his comic strip gadgets are gone too (which, given John Cleese’s abominable portrayal, earns the film several extra stars)

But action, not acting, is what Quantum of Solace is all about and Craig, his team of stuntmen and director Forster provide lashings of adrenaline-surging action, beginning with a thrilling car chase and rarely letting up until the cracking climax.

Is the plot logical? Hardly! Intellectually demanding? You’re joking! Is it easy to follow? Probably not, unless you’ve boned up on Casino Royale beforehand. Does that matter? No! Quantum of Solace is about visceral excitement and on that immensely entertaining level it delivers in spades. So go for the buzz and you’ll be perfectly catered for.

Alan Frank

UK 2008. UK Distributor: Sony. Colour by deluxe.
106 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 26 Oct 2008