'Quantum of Solace' feels a bit lightweight
Bond is back, and he's ... well, maybe a little bored.
"Casino Royale" came along just as the James Bond franchise was sinking into a lazy rehash of all that had gone before. It jump-started 007 with its seamless mix of action and emotion, and now "Quantum of Solace" keeps it humming along - in a familiar, but forgettable, gear.
The car metaphor is appropriate: "Quantum of Solace" starts out with a thrilling chase through the winding, mountain roads of northern Italy that's one of the film's few highlights. But this is a very slight Bond movie, and it feels especially so compared to "Casino Royale," easily one of the best of the long-running series.
And it's unusual in that it's a sequel - that's never happened before. Director Marc Forster's film picks up right where "Casino Royale" left off - literally, an hour or so afterward - with Daniel Craig's Bond trying to avenge the death of the only woman he ever loved, Vesper Lynd. (The smart and sultry Eva Green, the rare Bond girl who was truly the super-spy's equal, is sorely missed here.)
He's also trying to pin down the mastermind behind a plot to control the water supply of Bolivia, and maybe, someday, the world! Mathieu Amalric, star of "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," plays the role of Dominic Greene with a calm, cold-eyed creepiness.
"Quantum of Solace" suffers from an awful title but marks yet another intriguing entry in Forster's eclectic filmography, but he might not have been prepared for the enormity of a 007 actioner.
Along the many elaborate adventures Forster lays out for him, Bond hooks up with the leggy, mysterious and dangerous Camille (Ukrainian model Olga Kurylenko), who is on her own revenge mission. Then again, you have to be leggy, mysterious and dangerous to be a Bond babe.
Craig is, of course, sexy and masculine and formidable as always. But despite his innate intensity, Craig seems a bit... bored, maybe? Or underutilized? The physicality that practically burst through the screen in "Casino Royale," seems somewhat subdued here.
* "Quantum of Solace" is rated PR-13 for violence and sex. Unfortunately, it has yet to open in Storm Lake, but is showing in Spencer. Our rating: Three stars out of five.