Lights, Camera, Action!

One of the frequent (and nonsensical) complaints about the film is in regard to its opening car chase being hard to follow because of choppy editing and similar paint jobs. Speaking as someone who pays attention to the movies I’m watching, I can only say that there’s not a moment of the chase that leaves me confused as to who I’m watching, the spatial relationship of the cars in question, or the geography of the area. Director Marc Forster drops viewers immediately into the fray, and he also makes it clear his approach to action leans more earthy and impactful than some might like. We can almost feel the metal grinding and colliding, and there’s a near threat of choking on the debris of car parts and dirt thrown into the air. Breathe it in, haters.

The car chase gives way to a pretty terrific foot chase and fight that again sees Bond and his opponent trading blows that damage the landscape around them. The two rough each other up before landing in a church under reconstruction. Scaffolding provides a thrilling set-piece teasing Jackie Chan-like mechanics, and their attempts to acquire a loose gun see the pair forced to engage in a fight that values vertical spaces even more than the horizontal. Another fistfight erupts in a Haiti hotel room, but it trades elaborate design and longevity for pure and short-lived brutality.

For fans of larger scale action beats the film delivers a boat chase and plane fight that each bring varying degrees of thrills. I’m more partial to the water action as there’s a more tangible feel to the boats speeding across the surface and occasionally through each other, but there’s fun to be had in the air as Bond tries and fails to out-maneuver a smaller, armed plane and a more-skilled pilot.

Mathieu Amalric’s bug-eyed Dominic Greene is an under-appreciated villain in the Bond universe for several reasons including his very grounded “evil” plan involving corrupt governments and a devious effort to control water supplies, but pound for pound he’s also a legitimate threat in a fight against Bond. He shouldn’t be, obviously, but rather than make him an inexplicably good fighter simply to make him a threat against Bond he’s instead allowed to just be unpredictable and scrappy. Amalric transforms into a rabid weasel for the end fight, and while Bond has faced larger, more talented foes Greene is every bit as dangerous as he flails and swings while screaming like the scared little madman he is. The fire and collapsing infrastructure around them is just icing on the cake that is these two brawling.

But Seriously, Quantum of Solace is Aces

Could some of the negativity toward the film actually be due to its more pro-women stance than fans maybe prefer? The cynic in me says probably yes, but if so, those people are shmucks who can’t be reasoned with. I still have faith in the rest of you, though, and hope you’ll consider a re-watch. It’s a fun, quick watch – unless you pair it with Casino Royale, in which case it’s a fun, not-so-quick watch – with a tart and snappy Judi Dench, a little more of Jeffrey Wright’s Felix Leiter, some thrilling action beats, a grounded and gritty villain, and one of the best, most interesting and engaging Bond girls. The movie’s title may be nonsense (much like the general dislike of the film itself), but it’s never too late to embrace it and form a correct opinion on the second best of Daniel Craig’s Bond films.

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