Face it. Bond movies aren’t high art. They’re movie fast food. You know what you’re paying for. It’s huge, loud, and sandwiched in meat. So to speak. Remember the 1980s Big Mac? The hot side stays hot, the cold side stays cold. Well, Quantum was brilliant junk food. The girls were hot-ass skinbombs; the guys were cold-ass. It’s not Fellini, Wells, or even Scorsese: it’s junk food. So pull up to the second window and get some extra fries. Here’s are your grades, class
Quantum of Solace? Kind of sounds like a sleeping aid or a chewable PMS relief pill for secretaries. These titles need to knock you on your office-dwelling ass. Like Blood Storm, The Omega Kill, ThunderPussy, Golden iPhone, or just BOOM.
Car chases: B-
The opening Astin-Martin / Alfa Romeo chase scene was cool. But the blurred millisecond cuts and jarring cinematography made me feel like I had Parkinson’s. Then there was a pointless scene where a dirt bike riding assassin trails a Ford hatchback through the slums at 30 MPH. Teenagers do this stuff after graduation. Here, it didn’t work.
Slimy bad guys: B-
Dominic Greene is an amoral non-profit CEO (Mathieu Amalric) who secretly hordes water while peasants die on thirst. But he doesn’t have the cartoonish villainy of other bond guys. Guys with metal hands and gnashing golden teeth. Who love money, and spend time in the mirror trying to look more evil. Sadly, Greene just wears Panama shirts and gives speeches to yuppies. He’s like your drug dealer back in college. The one who always voted for Nader and gave you nugs.
Hand-to-hand combat: A
They use Krav Maga, judo, and stickboxing (that’s just beating people unconscious with sticks). The choreography was cool. But after 2.5 hours of fist-fighting guys half his age, Bond just looks tired. Bro, get a tazer. You can do Tae-Bo later. Like when you’re replaced.
Acrobatic gun fights on the scaffolding of a renovated Italian fresco: B
Yeah. No one asked for it, but they included a kind of Jackie-Chan inspired prop scene. Lots of falling glass, broken boards, and narrow escapes. I liked it. But it was too Baryshnikov and not enough Dirty Harry. Spies kill. They don’t dance.
Shameless plug for Gordon’s vodka: F+
Mathis asks Bond what he’s having. The chubby bartender then looks into the camera and recites the ingredients to a glorified martini. It was stupider than when Bond drove a blue Ford Taurus to stay inconspicuous at a millionaire’s Caribbean resort. Yeah. Way to go, MI-6. Deep cover.
Sex appeal: incomplete
A little light on the T&A. I’m just saying. Squeaky voiced guys in junior high need to learn about anatomy somewhere. Bond movies are the socially responsible way to show them how to deal with women later: high powered, sex addicted, world-traveled, masochistic nymphet assassin women. With Electra complexes. Hey kids. Figure it out early. However…
Titillating midriffs and suggestive feminine looks: A
They budgeted for both bombshells and sexpots. Yes, Olga Kurylenko’s hard body is the bomb. That means the Russians have the bomb. Which means that now it’s okay. Because we want the bomb dropped on us. Many, many times. Another hot little number is Gemma Aterton was a tart little slice of England, bringing both knee high hooker boots and 2 inch eyelashes to a diplomatic meeting. She’s classy like Palin.
They even give the ladies some eye candy with Daniel Craig. The man is chiseled like Adonis. (Though somewhat aged; his face looks like a melted Ken Doll that some 2nd graders microwaved).
The lithe, sumptuous young women splayed nude in bed, dripping with the crude oil that terrorists drowned them in: A-
That shot in was worth the price of admission.
Class Bond one-liners after making a guy’s head explode: F
There were no witty quips, a total letdown. What happened to the campy Bond who’d say “Just cool it” after pouring liquid nitroglycerin down a guy’s pants? Bring that Bond back.
CIA-bashing: D+ / A-, depending on your nationality
They hammer it home like Noam Chomsky. M (Judi Dench) harps on our greed, warmongering, blood lust, historical ignorance, and colonization of everything we touch. Dude. That’s heavy. You totally took the edge off my movie-joint and Goobers. Just mellow.
Deeper Meaning: A-
Quantum got a little philosophical on us, as Bond ponders revenge, love, and his own mortality. The revenge thing drags towards the end. If we wanted Hamlet, we’d ge Paul Haggis to write him (badly, of course).
Lesson for next time
Quit trying to make it mean something. Simple formulas yield great results. Chocolate and peanut butter. Beer and Skittles. Couch and NFL. Here, it’s chicks and explosions. This isn’t rocket science.
Review by Phillip Buster