Remove all proper nouns from the equation and Quantum of Solace isn't a B+ action flick. It's brisk and shiny, partially smart and frequently flashy; it's got loads of chases, escapes, fights, and explosions, as well as a game cast and a leading man who really sells the physical stuff. The plot is nothing more than your standard "angry spy on a mission" hoo-hah, but it works well enough to support the sport and the spectacle ... so why is it that Marc Forster's Quantum of Solace also feels like a missed opportunity, kind of an also-ran, and sort of a day late and a dollar short? Oh that's right. Because this is supposed to be a James Bond movie.
The 22nd James Bond movie, to be precise, and if you haven't checked into the series since the days of Moore or Dalton -- and you happened to start here instead of with Casino Royale -- you'd be absolutely stunned to see how stripped-down the character has become. Call it a combined effort between three screenwriters, numerous producers, and a stern-looking lead -- but this particular version of 007 has become pretty one-note in rather short order: The guy's a lug. A bad-ass, quietly noble, and effortlessly believable movie hero ... but where's the charm? The ambiguity? The escapist fun in trotting along with a confidently capable super-spy? I know Bond isn't the deepest character in the annals of fiction, but in his latest flick he's been fitted into an acrobatic grump with a basic grudge. This time out the angered agent sets out to track down the killer of his beloved Vesper, only to realize that, yep, another egomaniacal super-tycoon has secret plans that are both greedy and evil.