I’ve just watched Quantum of Solace, yet as much as i enjoyed the bond franchise, i found the movie to be a bit of a let down in one important aspect, the only believable thing about the movie is the car (The Aston Martin i mean, the other automobiles are mere mules there) and Daniel Craig’s acting (which is awesome, i first saw Craig in “Layer Cake”, and he performed very well with each subsequent movies. i never thought we would have a bond actor who is more of a Tom Hanks than a Tom Cruise. Craig make Sean Connery’s bond look kinda shallow).
Any writing after this contains spoilers to the movie, proceed at your own risk, but i promise this, i will reveal no more than 4 names in this spoiler.
I made the attempt to watch Casino Royale before watching Quantum of Solace, since the second installment has been promoted as a direct continuation of the first movie.
Before watching QoS, i anticipate that a great villain and a great story will be unveiled in front of me. why, the villain of the first movie has so many entourage, and the story filled with twist and turn without losing coherence.
Yet QoS, as beautifully rendered as it is, it came as nothing more than a footnote to Casino Royale. QoS felt like an late entree, it’s too small in size arriving at wrong time. Delicious, but still a disappointment.
The movie began with Bond capturing White, the villain he shoots in the leg at the end of Casino Royale. White was taken to an catacomb/aqueduct underneath Sienna. In this location a traitor in MI6 shoots the other MI6 agents. bond manage to kill the traitor.
Story Buildup 1: The traitor work 8 years as MI6 agents, and 5 years as M’s personal bodyguard. M even respond to such unthinkable suspect by exasperation. M…, exasperated, ohhh, this story must be good, the villain must be real big, or so i thought…
Bond then move to Haiti, led by money trail from the traitor’s coffers which was connected to Le Chiffre The Financier’s money.
In Haiti, bond killed the link to the traitor, and was somehow greeted by this Latin-Russian girl, apparently the link was supposed to kill the girl, what a waste. Bond lost the girl, in which she went alone to met….
Story Destroyer 1: the grand villain of the story. it was no mere 2 Acts and we already meet the grand villain. I mean, this was the guy higher than Le Chiffre, a person whom the sinister Le Chiffre sincerely fears, the person who was able to corrupt Vesper through White, the man who has men even in the inner circle of MI6, and we met him almost immediately? It’s like looking a lady with beautiful hair and wonderful hips, ass, and legs from the back, and only to find that the face is a complete opposite of what the rears promised…
And who is this villain? He’s powerful enough that his gang can show guns and shoot guns in public in Haiti, yet through the movie he’s mostly accompanied by one semi-useless goon. Compared that to Le Chiffre, who always have a group of 1 chief goon, 3 burly guys, and 1 hot scandinavian trailing behind him. And I’m suppose to believe that the Grand villain is at least 2 levels above Le Chiffre?
The grand villain doesn’t even look as a convincing grand villain, he look more like a trying-so-hard dotcom dudes with hair that seems to come from a man that spend his time running before wearing the Tux. I mean, watch “Tommorow Never Dies”, the grand villain there looks more like a man with a plan. Heck, even Le Chiffre looks cool compared to this guy, how can he be 2 levels above Le Chiffre. This guys showed no superior inteligence or strong tactical mind, strong physical powers, or even a world dominating plan (Bolivia? what country is that? why do you wanna take control over Bolivia?), it is a breakaway from some of Bond’s cliche, but it also makes the grand villain unconvicing as a grand villain.
The girl confronts the grand villain, he admit of his plan to kill the girl. ok stop, this is Story Destroyer 2: i thought the next bond girl was supposed to be smarter than the previous ones, with more roles for them than showing some skin and boost the testosterone level in certain segment of the audience. But, alas, this bond girl is so stupid to come to the grand villain and confront his attempt to kill her. What wil he do? kill her in a more gruesome manner off course, but this bond girl, who seem to show more wit in later part of the movie, seem to expect otherwise.
The girl seem to have an interest in a ex-dictator who want to regain power in Bolivia. The ex-dictator happens to will met the grand villain, instead of running, the stupid girl choose to stay, and she is fed by the grand villain to the dictator. (one can argue that this is what the girl want, but how much is her chance of exacting revenge when he and her are surrounded by the ex-dictators small army, unless bond interferes off course)
And bond interferes, thanks to this, the girl almost manage to shoot the ex-dictator, but bond snatched the girl before she has a chance to pay dues. They both manage to escape. then bond ditch her in a german watersport club.
Bond then continue his pursuit of the grand villain. He contacted MI6, introducing the grand villain to M’s attention. M then called CIA, who connect M to head of CIA south america section chief, a.k.a. evil intel. The evil intel, accompanied by another CIA who worked with Bond in the past, a.ka. good intel, inform M’s that he has no interest in the grand villain. This sparks M’s curiosity.
Bond somehow manage to follow the grand villain to a lone airstrip. In there the grand villain took a plane to Vienna, he rode that plane, with….both the evil and good intel. During flight, the evil intel uncovers both Bond’s identity and the good intel’s good intention toward bond, and he promise to take care of bond for the grand villain. Why? because the US government wants access to oil in Bolivia. Story Destroyer 3: oil in bolivia, come on, oil in Bolivia, Bolivia may have some oil, but it pales in comparison to what the US consumes…the movie could have just said Venezuela and get the benefit of: a. a believable background country, b. a fresh setting for the movie.
The movie seem fixated with the US inteligence agency’s willingness to sleep with anyone to futher their own goal, even terrorist. This theme is true, but it has become quite stale (i sometimes wonder if the recruitment test for CIA agents is by finding the lowest bidder in a “how much will you sell your grandma for” game).
Bond follow them to Vienna, where the grand villain separated with the CIA and the grand villain continue his journey to an opera house.
In the Opera House, Bond discovers that certain people get a special goodie bag (i love goodie bags, filled with triffles waiting to be trash, to symbolize a modicum of goodwill). Bond manage to get a special goodie bag, which contains a “Q” brooch and a set of telecommunication equipment. Ah, the grand villain and a group of other people are apparently doing a meeting, a kind of virtual meeting in the opera house. Convenient, they can avoid using phone lines, they are all in the same location, yet they are not identified as purposefully coming from a meeting of the villains.
Bond listens in to the conversation, being the rash orphan boy that he is, joins the conversation, surprising the attendee. They left in droves….exposing their faces to be photographed by Bond, and also, their position as a common group. Story Destroyer 3: these guys meet in this opera house so they cannot be identified as a group, yet they left as a group? How do you expect such slow minds to be worthy criminals in a Bond movie? such a break in logic. Plus, only to underscore this point, the only person with the mind to stay and continue his cover is Mr. White, the henchman of the group. This prevent Mr. White from being recognized by Bond.
Bond delivers their picture to MI6, who discover that among the criminals is an adviser to the British PM. M was surprised. Bond then capture, and kill, one of the grand villain’s goon, who happens to be a member of the special force in the British Police, this shocks M even more. Bond try to further pursue the grand villain, yet he was unable to do so, he’s credit card and identities blocked by M, who struggles to find that she might have go against her own government since Casino Royale.
Bond then visit the i-thought-you-betrayed-me guy from Casino Royale, Mr. Flamboyant. After being tortured for being suspected of betraying bond, Mr. Flamboyant was given a casa in seemingly Italy. Mr. Flamboyant agreed to help Bond, why? because of the romanticism of the journey.
They arrive in Bolivia, immediately greeted by British Bond Girl who speak a plenty of sending Bond back home but doing no real thing to achieve that goal, looking like a girl who has been use to being a subject in the government office (again, no consolation for Feminist ideas, so much for a strong functioning woman in a Bond movie). Escorted by Mr. Flamboyant and Bristih Bond Girl, Bond insist on moving to a posher accommodation, in which he throws the key for a separate room. This double act of rebellion seem to impress the British Bond Girl, enough to let herself be pinned down immediately by Bond.
Mr. Flamboyant presented an invitation to Bond to a party hosted by the grand villain
Bond, British Bond Girl, and Mr. Flamboyant attended the party. In this party Bond rescues the 1st bond girl from the hands of the evil villain. The Bristish Bond Girl recklessly make an embarassment of the chief goon of the grand villain. Bond left the scene. He was followed by policeman. The policeman stopped bond’s vehicle and ask bond to open the back of the vehicle, they found the body of Mr. Flamboyant there, stil alive. Finding that Mr. Flamboyant is still alive, the policemen tried to kill Mr. Flamboyant, in which Bond gladly offers Mr. Flamboyant’s back as a living shield. Mr. Flamboyant, beaten, now positively dying, is held by Bond. Here Craig manage to show both emotion, the long absence of one, and fear of what it had cost him in Casino Royale, superb play by him.
Bond and 1st Bond Girl went to another deserted airstrip, wanting to visit the evil villain’s location. They rent a plane, chased by a propeller fighter aircraft and a helicopter. Bond manage to destroy the propeller craft, and lost his plane while trying to lose the helicopter. He and 1st Bond Girl crashed to a cave.
Bond and 1st Bond Girl spend a share-the-background-story moment in the cave. Found a way out. Upon finding the way out, the also find what the Grand Villain has been after all this time. The most precious resource on earth. Wonder what it is? Water.
Story Destroyer 4: it seems (and i’m making a conjencture here since scant evidence is scattered throughout the movie) that the grand villain in making a huge dam in the desert, and he had bought miles of pipe to sell the water to Bolivian later when the ex-dictator is reinstalled. Now, water is important, and it’s nice to know that a Bond Movie is bringing the issue of water privatiation issue to the public. This is an issue, imagine if a private tries to monopolize fresh air, and colluding with the government to only let poluted air be publicly available, this kind of thing would create rebellion in countries. Well, the same thing IS happening with water, water companies pays government official to prevent construction of public clean water system (which can be done, even my poor college can afford to build a drinkable water system, allowing students to tap it for free), this allows the private companies to be the only source of “guaranteed” clean water. Heck, there’s even campaign to disregard the benefit of water filters, which was commercialized by small scale entrepreneur as a cheap alternative to bottled water.
But if the issue is important, why is it a story destroyer? because after all the fanfare leading the Grand Villain, this ends up to be about water, in Bolivia. You don’t need a grand villain to do this, you don’t need to construct a new government to do this. You just need a good stack of cash to pay bribes, a developing country with weak control and judicial system, and a couple of local goons just to push the local dwellers. After all the story buildup from Casino Royale, the oh-so-prevalent involvement of the British Government, this turns out to be about monopolizing clean water, an overkill to do that. And why Bolivia? if the issue is about water, i would offer Indonesia rather than Bolivia, Indonesia has a lot more citizens than bolivia (more captive market to squeeze), Indonesia is more corrupt than Bolivia, and goons is constantly available for hire. QoS villains is an overkill to the issue being staked and the location propose to small benefit to be extracted.
Bond and the 1st Bond Girl returned to the posh hotel, where he met M and several MI6 agents. British Bond Girl is dead, M wants Bond to be in custody. Bond escaped.
Bond contacted Good Intel, who inform Bond on where the grand villain, ex-dictator-, and Corrupt Police Head of Bolivia will meet. grand villain is to provide money to the other two parties, the Corrupt Police Head will announce a coup, the ex-dictator will come to install a new government, and the grand villain is to get his rights for selling water.
Ex-dictator and Corrupt Police Head waits from the grand villain in a hotel in the middle of the desert. As a later part of the movie will show, the hotel is littered with dangerous explosive fuel cells. Story Destroyer 5: I have no idea why a hotel would have a dynamite grade explosive stuff in each of their room. A bond fight can still be interesting without fires and crackles. again, an overkill. While waiting, we are presented with a waitress asking if the ex-dictator wanted a drink, immediately we will realize that her function is to be a victim later on.
grand villain arrive with the money, Corrupt Police Head left after receiving his share. grand villain forces ex-dictator to accept the payment terms for the water the grand villain will supply. the grand villain even admit “we are a utilities company”, heck, all these trail of crime since the first movie, for a utilities company?
1st Bond Girl and Bond attacked the compound. 1st Bond Girl manage to kill the ex-dictator, Bond wounded the grand villain, Bond saved the 1st Bond Girl who was trapped in the room where he killed the ex-dictator. They escape.
Bond drove a car in the middle a desert, the grand villain was in the car. Bond release him in the middle of the desert, the movie informs us that the grand villain had told him everything Bond wanted to hear, but the movie didn’t share what it is, expect sequel. Story Destroyer 5: The grand villain, after being so smart all this time, actually believe that by sharing his secret to Bond, he will be let to live by Bond. He even let himself to be release by Bond, instead of seeking asylum to MI6, since the other villain would know that he had betrayed them, the grand villain will surely die if he don’t live under MI6 protection.
Bond met vesper’s “boyfriend”, who’s actually part of the grand villain organization who specializes in luring female intelligence officer from other countries.
Bond left the premises and meets M. a bit of discussion. The movie ends
THE END of QoS