'Quantum': Lots of empty action

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James Bond is hot. James Bond has skills. James Bond can do anything. James Bond...is up to the same old same old.

That said, it is not necessarily a bad thing, as this winning formula has brought fans back again and again since 1962. And while this installment does not include my personal favorite Bond, Sean Connery, Daniel Craig has become quite comfortable in the almost-impossible-to-fill shoes.

Bond's latest adventure takes place in the days immediately following Craig's first turn as the dashing spy in "Casino Royale." Still reeling from the betrayal and death of his love, Vesper (Eva Green), Bond is led to a man named Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), who is plotting to take over important natural resources with the help of an exiled general. Aided by the newest Bond girl, Camille (Olga Kurylenko), Bond must stop Greene at whatever cost - even if it means potentially turning rogue, which makes M (Judi Dench), more than a little angry.

"Quantum of Solace" is reminiscent of a lot of the older movies in the franchise, yet still deals with issues pertinent to today's society. A quote that particularly stuck out was when one of the bad guys uttered "the dollar isn't what it once was" and wanted to be paid in euros instead. If the new man playing Bond wasn't enough to show the changing times, that line sealed the deal.

Everything a true Bond fan could want, "Quantum" has to offer. There is a car chase, boat chase, explosions galore, deception, women and of course, lots of Bond using ridiculously awesome moves to get rid of the bad guys.

However, there is not an extensive amount of story or character development between the intense action sequences. But let's face it, no one goes to a Bond movie to see that anyway. While entertaining, those same action sequences are sometimes edited poorly, and the result comes off more shaken than Bond's favorite drink. It almost seems as if someone got confused and thought that they were editing one of the Bourne movies instead of a Bond movie. Director Marc Forster handles what remains of the story well and even inserts bits and pieces of dry humor every once in a while to alleviate the ominous atmosphere.

Camille's character is memorable, and while the Bond girl is always important, these movies would be nothing without a truly hateful villain, which unfortunately is not found in this movie. While Mathieu Amalric performs the part of Dominic Greene well, the character itself seems flat compared to past opponents and is not incredibly memorable. The audience must pay careful attention or risk being confused for the rest of the movie when he is discussing his plans. Perhaps a second viewing would be helpful to really get to enjoy the movie without having to concentrate so hard.

Overall this film is an entertaining, action-packed romp into the world of Britain's top secret agent. While it did not exactly reach the bar that "Casino Royale" set, its effort should still be seen and enjoyed as much as one would enjoy a vodka martini - shaken, not stirred, of course.

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