You could call it the Kill Bill of Bond movies, but the combination of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace doesn’t work as well as the two Tarantino films. Despite being significantly shorter with more action, Quantum’s story drags the film down into a pile of confusion, even more so if Royale wasn’t on your viewing list.
Quantum wastes no time in getting started, opening with a frantic car chase. Someone pulled the editing trigger too quickly though, making the scene feel disjointed or even hard to follow. The same goes for many of the action scenes, including one that could have been a classic involving a spinning pulley. There’s no time to build drama or become part of the action when the camera keeps cutting away.
With the backstory in place, it’s obvious that Quantum wants to one-up its predecessor with the action scenes as character development has been taken care of. This one does have its share of fairly intense moments, including a thrilling plane battle and spectacular finale. Still, there was something about Royale that felt more like Bond and less like the Transporter.
Bond is almost too perfect, and the sense of danger and thrills isn’t there. When Bond was hanging off a truck speeding through an airport in Royale, it was intense. When he’s speeding down a cliff in Quantum, he barely even flinches. He’s too smooth, even for Bond.
This isn’t helped by the story, which relies on Royale for Bond’s motivations. Even with the prior film in mind, the focus on action over story development makes every dialogue sequence less involved than the last. Daniel Craig is a great Bond, but when all he’s given are minor lines to tell Judi Dench that he’s going after someone else, he’s not the character he once was.
French actor Mathieu Amalric plays villain Dominic Greene with a fine performance, but lacks flair or any memorable qualities. His plan doesn’t deliver many surprises as it’s telegraphed to the audience before Bond learns of the plot. Like everything, it feels pushed aside for another action sequence.
Quantum of Solace isn’t a terrible movie, but one based on expectations it fails to deliver on. Production values ensure larger scale action and globetrotting story, but neither comes together to salvage the film as a whole. It’s fun, yet seemingly too much of a good thing.
Almost any issues with the transfer are surely a source issue. This is a razor-sharp AVC encode, one bursting with detail, color, and deep black levels. The contrast can run hot, though not to the point where it becomes an issue. Flesh tones are accurate, and the grain structure is left intact. Two long shots at the opera appear excessively noisy. Shadow delineation is superb, possibly some of the best on the format to date.
Audio comes in the flavor of DTS-HD, and in a film loaded with this much action, it performs admirably. There are brief moments where the bass seems weak (as a car tumbles down a cliff in the opening sequence), but these are minor nitpicks against this phenomenal piece of sound design. Surrounds are constantly engaged, whether it’s gunfire or from crowded plazas. Debris from explosions naturally fills the room. The stereo channels are nicely mixed to follow the on-screen action, dialogue never needs adjustment, and the soundtrack nicely bleeds into all channels.
Since a cheap double-dip happened with Casino Royale, there’s little question this terrible set of extras is setting up the double-dip again. Bond on Location is the only piece with any meat to it, running just short of 25 minutes. It handles the usual making-of material with behind-the-scenes footage and various thankful interviews.
A collection of crew interviews details numerous people who worked on the set, though sadly these are all dry and bland. A music video and weak collection of four featurettes (focusing on the director, the boat chase, location shooting, and the first day on the set) run just over 10 minutes, and are all that’s left to look at. It’s as disappointing as the movie itself.