This 22nd installment in the James Bond franchise is its first sequel, taking up an hour after “Casino Royale.” Arriving in Sienna, Italy, during the famous Palio horse race, Bond (Daniel Craig) discovers that mysterious Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), whom he shot in the leg before the closing credits, is just a cog in a complex global criminal conspiracy known as QUANTUM, stretching from Europe to Latin America, as Bond is pursued not only by bad guys but also by MI6 and the CIA.
The Bond babe is duplicitous Camille (Ukrainian model Olga Kurylenko), whose villainous lover, Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) of Greene Planet is negotiating with Bolivian general Medrano (Joaquin Cosio) to control South America’s water supply.
Scripted by “Royale” writers Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, directed by Marc Forster (“Finding Neverland,” “Monster’s Ball”) and photographed by Roberto Schaefer, it’s less in the elegant, stylish Bond tradition and more like Jason Bourne’s slick, minimalist, plot-driven thrillers. Film editor Richard Pearson, second-unit director Dan Bradley and stunt coordinator Gary Powell are Bourne veterans. And the chase around the floating stage of a Bregenz Opera Festival is homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”
Without the mischievous 007 wit and the iconic catchphrases, Craig’s tight-lipped superspy emerges as a humorless, vengeful killing machine. And the title bears no relation to Ian Fleming’s short story from the collection “For Your Eyes Only.” Moneypenny and gadget-master Q with his astonishing inventions are missing, supplanted by Judi Dench’s motherly M, support from Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Arterton and Jeffrey Wright and countless product placements. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Quantum of Solace” is an eye-popping, action-packed 8. At 105 minutes, it’s the shortest Bond picture on record.