Dead Ends

Quantum of Solace

Craig’s second outing as Bond.  Gemma Arterton (Tamina in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time) briefly appears as Strawberry Fields [homage to the Beatles perhaps] and there’s a brief appearance at the end by Stana Katic (Kate Beckett opposite Nathan Fillion in Castle [loved that show; and there was mention in an early episode of Richard Castle potentially ghostwriting James Bond books, lol], and Simone Renoir in The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice [we’ll be covering those soon]).  This is a direct sequel to Casino Royale, picking up within twenty-four hours of the previous tale ending.  Oddly, it starts silent with a fast car chase, until the sound drops in and you have to rush to turn down the volume.  I almost thought they were going to wreck an Aston Martin within the first five minutes; it loses a door and is certainly scraped up, but still drivable at the end.  Bond naturally dispatches with his pursuers and pulls Mr. White out of his trunk to face interrogation.  M is clearly worried about Bond before they go in to interrogate Mr. White.

But he holds a card up his sleeve, so to speak; his organization has so far stayed off MI6’s radar and they have people everywhere, including M’s own bodyguard to her surprise.  Bond chases him and ends up shooting him (after causing destruction along the way in typical Bond fashion).  When he returns, Mr. White is gone.  M is angry with the turn of events and frustrated to learn that Mr. White was correct; how does an organization like that exist and MI6 doesn’t know about them?  How did one of their people get to be her personal bodyguard for several years and not get flagged?  MI6 does manage to track tagged money used by Le Chiffre to pay off associates.  Bond heads to Haiti to hopefully pick up a new contact.  But a fight breaks out easily in the man’s hotel room and Bond kills him in self defense.  He then takes the man’s briefcase and meets a young woman named Camille.  Inside the briefcase is her picture and gun, so she throws Bond out of the car.  But he pursues her and discovers that her boyfriend, Dominic Greene had arranged for her to be killed.  Well, that didn’t work, so he passes her along to an old enemy to cement a deal he’s working in Bolivia.  Bond goes after the girl again, ending in a high speed boat chase (they still like to beat this Bond up; apparently Daniel Craig was injured three times filming this movie).

Bond asks MI6 about Dominic Greene and M checks with the CIA.  They claim to not know anything; in fact, they’re tracking the man and he’s even getting on a private jet with them.  They make the deal to ignore the upcoming regime change in Bolivia in return for oil.  M orders Bond to follow them, but please avoid killing every possible lead.  Bond winds up at a party, sneaking into a tux and getting a hold of an earpiece.  He overhears a business deal amongst the wealthy and interrupts them.  Several of the key players leave and he snaps photos, then goes after Greene.  It’s still a bit of a mess and M tries to restrict Bond’s movement; Bond responds by staying in Italy and looking up Mathis.  He was found innocent of betrayal from the previous movie and agrees to accompany Bond to Bolivia.  The pretty Miss Fields is waiting for him with orders to return directly to London.  Bond insists in his usual manner on staying.  He quickly charms Miss Fields (and she hates herself for it) and they’re invited to Dominic Greene’s charity gala.  Camille shows up to confront Dominic and Bond gets her out.  Miss Fields helps by tripping Greene’s bodyguard.

The police, who are supposed to be on Bond’s side, stop him.  Greene’s already gotten to them.  Mathis is discovered in the back of the car, beaten.  He’s then mortally shot and Bond consents to stay with the man as he dies.  Mathis’s final words to Bond are to forgive Vesper, who truly loved him, and for Bond to forgive himself.  Bond then takes Camille into the desert to look into Greene’s property.  A fighter plane chases them after they get a plane of their own.  Bond forces it into a cliff, but they have to dodge a helicopter.  They jump out of their plane with one parachute and discover once they land that Greene has dammed the water, creating a drought.  There is no oil.  The pair manages to get back to Bond’s hotel.  He meets with M and finds out that Miss Fields was killed; she’s lying on his bed covered in oil (an homage to Goldfinger).  M has already been told by the higher ups that they are fine with dealing with Greene; there is no evidence of foul play and they need the oil.  Bond is running wild and may have been turned; the Americans have orders to kill him.  She suspends Bond from duty and he seems to go quietly.  Until they’re in the elevator and he escapes.  He assures M that he is good.  M knows he’s on to something and she’ll protect her agent, to hell with the CIA.

We see Greene’s deal, handling the regime change and he confesses that the Quantum organization now controls over sixty percent of the water in Bolivia; the new leader will have to use them for utilities.  If he doesn’t comply, they will simply find a new leader.  Camille moves in on the general, who murdered her family and burned down her house.  They fight and Camille manages to kill the man, but a huge fire has started, thanks to Bond trying to take Greene, trapping her in the room.  Greene and Bond fight as explosions rock around them.  Bond makes the choice to save Camille, rather than killing Greene there.  The worm crawls away.  Camille is terrified by the fire and Bond is willing to shoot them before the fire takes them, but at the last minute, causes another explosion to create an opening out of the room.  He picks up Greene, gets his information, and leaves the man in the middle of the desert.  Camille returns to Bolivia to help in the wake of recent events.  Bond’s next stop is Russia.  He has tracked down Vesper’s boyfriend; who is not in danger and already has another girlfriend [Hello, Stana].  She is Canadian intelligence and Bond advises her to report to her agency that they have a leak; the boyfriend will get captured and she will be blackmailed for information…just like Vesper.  Bond does leave him alive, to M’s surprise.  She’s squared the situation with the U.S.  “Bond, I need you back.”  “I never left.”

This film is very disjointed.  A reason for that may be that it came about during the writers’ strike and the script was finished by Craig and the director.  The villain is bland and at least Bond doesn’t sleep with the main girl this time (though he sleeps with Strawberry Fields and bad things happen).  Admittedly, we do see Bond risk his life to save the girl and he tries to not leave destruction everywhere he goes; it’s just the side effect of him doing his job.  Yet, it’s still not a well like movie.

Up Next: My favorite Bond film, Skyfall

I apologize for the brief absence; between work and a well-deserved vacation, I haven’t been on my computer often.  But I’ve got the next batch of posts already drafted up to the point I tend to take a holiday hiatus.  Plan seems to be to finish off James Bond (and the latest movie release date still seems up in the air…I’d really like to see it!) then round up the Tom Clancy Jack Ryan films.  At that point, it will be hiatus time, but I’ve got the next several months planned out after that (yes, most likely will only be one post a week so I can maintain some other writing and reading projects.  But I love these action films, so I will not abandon them).

Besides, I went on a bit of a Shakespeare stint for a few days off, so you get a bonus post today.  I guess it would fall under the “Random Fandom” label, though it’s not a fandom I tend to fall into.

Speaking of fandoms: the final seven episodes of Supernatural begin airing this week and I am…looking forward in a way to see what will happen.  I may share some thoughts on the end.  The new MacGyver has been renewed for a fifth season, but no word on when it will air because I don’t think they’ve even started filming yet.

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