Lately, such is the vast chasm between the things I want to do and the things that are actually helpful for a productive life, when my good friend asked me if I wanted to do an Alan Partridge style Bondathon last week I gave it a lot of consideration before saying no (this is the same friend who thought it would be a good idea to watch every film released this year). All 57 Bond movies back to back, no sleep, just the occasional 5 minute break. Only a whisker away from saying yes I remembered, I don't actually like Bond films.
The first direct sequel in the Bond cannon, Quantum of Solace picks up only minutes after a pretty peeved JB has kneecapped the elusive Mr.White at the end of Casino Royale. Then he's careening round roads that look like Spaghetti, blowing shit up and having gunfights at 100mph. Doo, do, doo, do, do, do, dooooo. Cut to Jackie White and Alicia Keys. Cut to a naked woman in silhouette with a gun, spinning round. Cut to JB chasing that bloke from The Diving Bell and the Butterfly about (obviously he can move now, otherwise that would be a very one-sided fight) and discovering a sinister organsisation. Cut to a pointless dogfight. Cut to storming baddies base. And Bond is back.
Which is a bloody shame. Because the thing I liked about Casino Royale (the one 007 film I like), apart from Daniel Craigs excellent performance, was that it ripped up the rulebook and made quite a nice origami butterfly out of it. The kind of butterfly that made me go ooh and aah, and isn't that pretty (especially Eva Green). Out went the cockiness, the one-liners, that self-assuredness which meant the ending was as predictable as putting bread in a toaster and in came a new dramatic quality where for the first time you felt Bond might actually come to some harm.
To give it its due Quantum of Solace does keep the integrity of the first re-imagining for a vast majority of the film. The opera sequence where Bond watches the mysterious QUANTUM group watching Tosca is as cinematic (and operatic) as anything you'll see all year. But the film goes awry when it mixes it up with too much of the old Bonds, shoehorning in action for the sake of it. The aformentioned dogfight sits incredibly uneasily with a scene, only moments later, of a girl telling of her families rape and murder. While the ending gains many, many bonus points for giving us a finalised Bond (the book Bond, not the movie Bond), cold, ruthless and, to use a McCainism, a man who will forever put Country First, it does leave you wondering where they go now.