007 Quantum Of Solace (2008)
James Bond descends into mystery as he tries to stop a mysterious organization from eliminating a country's most valuable resource. All the while, he still tries to seek revenge over the death of his love.
Yeah yeah, the barrel opening didn't happen until the end of the movie. Sue me. The sequel to the GOAT Bond movie. Our cold opening begins with...a high speed card chase . Sweet. I do enjoy a nice car chase on narrow mountain roads. Of course, Bond is never in trouble and easily escapes his chasers. We're in Siena, Italy. In the trunk of Bond's car is Mr. White. "It's time to get out."
The title sequence is pretty dope. Lots of sand/water dualities. Bond walking on sand dunes and whatnot. The song is by Alicia Keys and Jack White, and I think it is pretty dope. Keeps the motif from You Know My Name, but is otherwise a completley different type of song.
Back in Italy, MI6 is interogating Mr. White. Vesper's boyfriend's body has turned up on a beach, but SWERVE, it wasn't him. M worries that Bond will go after him for revenge. Bond tries to assure her and himself that Vesper meant nothing. You're a liar, breh. White claims his group has people everywhere, which causes one of the guards to shoot M. Oh shit. NOT MUM! Ol' Jimmy chases him around a horse races and up to the roof tops. This whole chase seems perfectly suited for a video game adaptation. How strange, I played the video game adaptation. What a coincidence. Would you believe it, James got his kill.
TO LONDON. M is trying to find out how the dude who got into the interrogation got there and what his connection to White is. By tracing a single bill in his wallet, they find one Mr. Slate in Port Au Prince. Bond is pretty much immediately attacked upon entering the hotel, and he gets into a nasty fight with this dude. I love the Craig Bond's fighting style. Just a fucking violent bruiser. Grab whatever is closest and beat the shit out of you with it. Just kills the breh, wraps his cuts, and bounces. As he leaves, he's pulled into a car of a pretty hot broad, and they are then chased. Sweet. Two car chases in 20 minutes. See, she thinks Bond is someone else, and Bond doesn't know her or who he's supposed to be. So she tries to shoot him, and he starts following her.
Turns out, this woman's name is Camille, and she's visiting Mr. Greene, who was the one who tried to have her killed. What a prick. Fucked her and then tried to whack her. Ya see, she's been fucking him to get to a former dictator who is hanging out on the island. Greene is working with this former Bolivian dictator to overthrow the country and help him regain his position. In return for the desert. THE DESERT.
Greene sends Camille with the dictator to fuck and then be killed. Bond follows and BOAT CHASE. Some recon finds info on Greene, and Bond gets a chartered plane to follow him. On Greene's plane Felix Leiter and the sheriff from Stranger Things. The plan is this: They do nothing to stop the coup in Bolivia. In exchange, America gets whatever oil Greene gets out of the desert. But first, get rid of James Bond.
Bond finds his way to a performance of Tosca, where Greene is doing business deals with other members of the audience. This is where we find out about the existence of QUANTUM. Totally not SPECTRE. This leads to yet another chase scene, on foot, intercut with action and music from the play. It's almost like this movie was half written or something. Of course, one of the men killed in the fracas was a member of the branch, and Bond won't come in for a debriefing, so M cancels all of his cards and puts holds on his pass ports. YA DONE, BOND.
Instead, Bond goes to Mathis for help. You might recall the last time we saw these two together, Bond was torturing Mathis. As these things go, Mathis was innocent, so he got a sweet ass villa in return. They go to Boliva. Bond gets shitfaced on Vespers. They're met by one STRAWBERRY FIELDS, who is there to make sure Bond goes back to London. Also, there's a water shortage. And then Bond fucks her.
So here's the deal. The script for this movie got a draft in before the Writers Guild Strike of 2007-2008 happened, which meant that the director and Daniel Craig had to basically rewrite half the movie on the set. You can tell. Every few minutes is an action scene with no dialogue that takes up a lot of time, then all the major parties just happen to keep finding themselves in the same place at the same time. Plus, the plot is about totally not SPECTRE working with a deposed dictator to resume power in exchange for a patch of desert so totally not SPECTRE can steal all the water. The parts that were written were stupid to begin with. And there's a running theme of Bond killing or being framed for killing like...everyone, making M not trust him. He and Camille get a giant plane from some dude in the desert and just happen upon the water that Greene is going to steal and sell. It's like...65% through the movie before the actual plot comes out. I guess that's an inversion of the normal Bond movie, where the plot stops making any sense a half hour in.
Everything Bond touches goes to shit. If you didn't get that yet, everything Bond touches goes to shit. M finds him, Strawberry Fields gets the Goldfinger treatment but with oil, and Bond of course easily escapes MI6 custody. But actually, M totally trusts him and lets him go. Even though she just put a capture or kill order out on him.
Camille and Bond head out to a hotel in the desert. Camille to kill the dictator, Bond to probably kill Greene. What this really means is a big set piece and tons of action with minimal dialogue. Instead of killing him, Bond leaves Greene in the middle of the desert with a can of motor oil to drink.
Now that Bond knows about Quantum, has left Greene for dead, and Camille has killed the dictator, everything is wrapped up in a neat bow. So we go...
TO RUSSIA. Bond finds Vesper's boyfriend. You see, it turns out that this boyfriend targets female agents, forms relationships with them, and then steals info. The kill happens off screen, Bond is free from all charges, Leiter got promoted, Greene was found dead in the desert with oil in his stomach. EVERYONE WINS!
There weren't any. Q hasn't been introduced in the Craig continuity yet.
Strawberry Fields exists strictly to show that everything around Bond invariably goes to shit. He role was to make sure he returned to London in the morning. Instead, Bond fucks her and is shortly after asphyxiated by oil. Camille, on the other hand, is a former Bolivian secret agent who was infiltrating Greene's organization to get to the former dictator of Boliva in order to kill him for what he did to her country. She's a completely capable bad ass who shares no romantic interest with Bond, but they happen to be paired off due to their separate paths of revenge converging around the same two people.
A real shame this is what followed Casino Royale. It's held up pretty much entirely on Daniel Craig's charisma as Bond. It's hard to be too harsh on it because of the Writers Strike, and it isn't Brosnan level bad or anything, but it is a massive drop off from Casino Royale in every respect. In most of the movies, big action scenes are selling points and focal points. In this movie, they are blatant filler because there wasn't enough of a finished script to fill the movie. It has some neat shots and some cool action, but overall it feels like an unfinished movie all around.