Bond is back in with a vengence

Katie Christiansen

In the grand tradition of undercover agent exploits, the latest installment in the James Bond series takes more than a page out of the book of another secret agent with the initials J.B.’ With its gritty, shockingly realistic violence and rogue agent story line, ‘Quantum of Solace’ more closely resembles another installment in the Jason Bourne trilogy than its saucy Bond predecessors.

Gone are the days when Sean Connery’s Bond would spend more time bedding a bevy of double entendre named beauties than dealing with the baddies. Daniel Craig has reinvented Bond as a viable threat, a highly skilled and lethal agent of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Yes, he’s still dapper and charming, roguishly handsome with the seemingly super human ability to have a girl out of her clothes in three seconds flat, but Craig’s Bond has something none of the other Bond incarnations have had: Motivation.’

This flick, the 22nd official Bond in the EON Productions franchise, picks up where 2006’s ‘Casino Royale’ left off. The death of a woman he truly cared about coupled with her betrayal sets the tone for a darker, and seriously tuned down 007. While his messy quest for vengeance transforms the previously shallow character and provides for an intense and intriguing story, it has some less desirous effects on his love life. True fans of the series will likely be disappointed by the lack of frisky flirtation bantered about by Bond. That’s not to say there are no sexy situations or amusingly named kittens to be found, but this is no 60s free-loving jaunt.

As if to drive home the point that today’s 007 is all business and no frivolity, some trademarks of the series are conspicuously missing from the 106-minute running time feature. He’s neither shaken nor stirred, but rather downing vodka at an alarming rate. At the break neck speed both his thought process and fists are flying, he barely has time to say his name once let alone in the drawling double style of the past. No ‘Bond, James Bond,’ here.

And even without his kitschy charm present in past movies, he certainly has not lost the ability to surround himself with beautiful women. The difference? Today’s Bond girl is a fighter, not a lover. Olga Kurylenko’s Camille is on a vengeful mission of her own. She shares screen time and poster space with the secret agent and has no trouble holding her own. Though the steamy chemistry and numerous romps that have become a hallmark of the series were sadly absent, this story, when connected with its prequel makes a logical transition. Yes, it would be disingenuous to have our hero jump into bed with numerous women when he is supposed to be deeply grieving the loss of a true love, but dare I say it, Bond girls are much more fun when they aren’t quite so serious, or clothed.

The numerous changes to the Bond cannon should not define the film, but rather it should be measured by the exquisite new direction it takes the series. This is 007 for a new generation, a generation that cannot be appeased by silly exploits and overtly named women.

In a time when Disney’s pure princesses have naked pictures leaked onto the internet seemingly every day, vagina galore just isn’t as shocking as it used to be. These new movie goers demand real shock value. They aren’t appeased by anything less than an all out action-packed gritty global adventure driven by, of all things, a great story, and perhaps some pretty awe inspiring gadgets thrown in for good measure. On all those counts, Bond supremely delivers.’

Four stars out of five.