Quantum of Solace
The 22nd movie outing for Ian Fleming’s James Bond—and the second with a bracing, buff Daniel Craig in the role—is specifically a sequel to 2006’s Bond reboot, Casino Royale: For all the ministrations about some Euro-mogul villain (Mathieu Amalric) destabilizing Bolivia’s government to hoard natural resources, the real story is 007’s angry, self-assigned mission to avenge the death of his one true love. Screenwriters Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade allow barely a drop of pleasure or mischief for our hero, and less for his abettors—Bond Girl du jour Olga Kurylenko, boss Judi Dench and CIA ally Jeffrey Wright. Director Marc Forster doesn’t skimp on action-intensive set pieces, but doesn’t stage them very coherently or compellingly either; Quantum of Solace is so constantly climactic that it’s anti-climactic. It’s hard not to think that while James Bond might have helped invent this stuff, nowadays it’s Jason Bourne who owns it.