In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably admit that I’m a Bond girl.
Not an actual Bond girl, of course — hey, I can dream — but a girl raised on the original Bond films. I can name all the movies in chronological order, I know Halle Berry doesn’t hold a candle to Ursula Andress in a bikini, and if you argue that anyone was a better Bond than Sean Connery, I will fight you to the death.
That said, the new Bond movie “Quantum of Solace” is a letdown.
Allow me to clarify: “Quantum of Solace,” in and of itself, is a great movie. A filler movie, perhaps, between “Casino Royale” and whatever comes next, but a great movie by any other standard. The girls are beautiful, the action shots are thrilling, and the heroes and villains are complex – which is exactly the problem.
“Quantum of Solace” does not bring James Bond into the 21st century so much as it reflects the influences of other recent action films. The chase scenes bear the undeniable influence of the “Bourne” trilogy, while glimpses of Bond’s vengeful side echo the hero/villain inversion of “The Dark Knight.” The result is a well-crafted movie, but one we’ve already seen. Bond movies used to set the standard for action films; in imitating recent blockbusters, “Quantum” seems behind the curve.
More importantly, Daniel Craig’s Bond is frequently, well, un-Bond-like. MI6 fails to provide him with any new gadgets or cars, both of which are definitional for a Bond flick. When asked in one scene what he’s drinking, Craig peers at his famous martini and slurs to the bartender, “I dunno, what am I drinking?” Most distressingly, Bond doesn’t get the girl. He does have a one-night tryst with a ginger British agent, but the real Bond girl — much-hyped Ukrainian hottie Olga Kurylenko — gives him a quick peck at the end of the film before disappearing into the desert. Since when does James Bond drink past his limit or fail to seal the deal?
Whether it’s the gadgets, the charisma or the sheer class, there’s something missing from “Quantum.” Somewhere, Sir Sean is sipping on a martini and shaking his head.