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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, Nov 14, 2008

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


Lucky for us, we live in a time where even the average Joe has the modern-day advantages that put many on par with the James Bond of just a few decades back. Okay, maybe few of us have cars that either fly or are submersible, but the gadgets and cars available today are incredible, and the far corners of the world are readily available to most with even modest means. For those involved with creating the latest rendition of Ian Fleming's ultimate British secret agent, the bar just seems to keep moving steadily upward in the effort to capture the jaded imaginations of filmgoers. Fortunately, the Bond franchise delivers on its promise. Surrounded by picturesque locations, a multitude of intense action scenes, beautiful touches, intriguing characters, and moments that place James Bond on the edge of life and death, it ends as always with the demise of his foils. Quantum of Solace is more than just another episode of the life and times of 007. In this follow-up to Casino Royale, nothing is left out. The essential car chase complete with the Aston Martin DBS tears across the screen early on in this film. This has all of the elements necessary for creating a winning Bond film.

The movie is really a sequel to the previous release, Casino Royale. It would help if this movie provided a summary of the prior movie in some manner to reconnect with the prior plot, maybe similar to the recap done at the start of each of The Sopranos or Entourage episodes. Audiences have trouble remembering what happened last week, let alone a year or two prior. A cram session with Casino Royale ala DVD is useful, but optional. In a nutshell, Bond is after the truth regarding Vesper (the Bond Girl from Casino Royale), her betrayal, and those that blackmailed her. In his quest, Bond uncovers an organization that is infiltrating the MI6 and has its own large-scale sinister plans including the overthrow of the regime in Bolivia. Poor Daniel Craig, while portraying the seeming invincible 007, he has to share the screen with such talented and beautiful co-stars as Olga Kurylenko in the role of Camille. How can he manage to concentrate on his lines? The villainous Dominic Greene, played by Mathieu Amalric, wiped out Camille's family, and she is on her own vendetta when Bond encounters her. Greene is a ruthless businessman in bed with the CIA and British government. Dominic's is looking at displacing a despised dictator and replacing him with his own puppet government that's equally corrupt. The pay-off for Greene is control over valuable natural resources.

This movie is a bit convoluted, and with all the fast cut action it's hard to keep track of the story at some points. Ideally, you would be able to view each scene at half speed in order to enjoy it to the fullest extent possible. The action and locations are passing by so quickly that if you blink you might just miss it. On the flip side, there is such a heavy dose of excitement that the audience is held in a constant state of breathless tension. I think that the last ballot has been counted and the decision is final: Daniel Craig is not just a convincing 007, but one that is unique. Gone are much of the gentlemanly qualities that are the hallmark of Connery, or the smirky humor associated with Moore. When Pierce Brosnan made his mark as Bond, he never had a toughness that we see in Craig's performance and physical size. Right out of the box, Quantum of Solace comes on strong. The initial action sequence sets the stage for the movie. The experience of driving cars like the Aston Martin is hard to capture completely by any means other than driving the car itself. Yet Quantum of Solace does a pretty convincing job of providing the thrill level associated with the machine. How did they do it? Simple, the film crew cheated.

The 22nd Bond release provides an immediate fix for car chase junkies. The camera follows the DBS and several Alfas as the cars blast along twisting roads and then into a quarry of loose gravel. By the end the DBS is toast. How did the Aston hold up to the devastation we see on the screen? Well, the trick is you don't have one car, you have seven! Fitted on the cars are a number of modifications that allow it go where no Aston Martin has gone before. A combination of suspension tweaks and the addition of off-road tires allow this DBS to handle the less than optimal driving surfaces. Additionally, in order to get the most visual impact the traction control is taken off the cars, thus allowing generous wheel spin. A hydraulic hand brake is also installed between the driver and the door for the purpose of spinning the car around corners providing great dramatic effect. The Aston Martin brand is all about performance and is an excellent choice for 007, or anyone looking for a blend of high style, control and action. Sadly, several cars paid the ultimate price in the production of this movie.

The movie, in a roundabout way, is an homage to the Ford Motor Company. Just a few years back, the company owned the Aston Martin and Land Rover brands along side their own product. Ford over the years pumped a lot of resources into those brands and produced far superior products compared to what those cars were previously. All are featured in this picture, however since the filming commenced the British brands have been sold and are now just a memory for Ford as to what was (and what could have been?). The advance technology that captured the imagination of earlier Bond movie goers doesn't appear to be as cutting edge, as we are in an age that if it can be imagined it can be created. Nevertheless, we do get a sample of what could be reality in the near future. This adventure goes far beyond its predecessors. Quantum of Solace is filmed in more overseas locations than any other Bond movie. In all, six different countries are used for filming. Besides the home of all James Bond productions at Pinewood Studios in the UK, the crew traveled to Panama City and Colon in Panama, the Atacama Desert in Chile, Sienna, Carrara, Lake Garda and Fonteblanda in Italy, and Bregenz in Austria. Also, the aerial sequences were filmed in San Felipe in Mexico.

The hopscotching across the globe is both picturesque and provides an interesting look into how far an international terrorist organization could go to pursue its evil intentions. However, Quantum will be forever associated with the action sequences. From the aerial chases using a 1939 DC3 and an acrobatic Marchetti armed with machine guns, to the fast paced boat scenes, the audience has very little time to relax. In the case of the aerial sequence, the film crew didn't get much down time either. With the location in a remote area the crew and equipment had to be ferried daily to the mountainous region by helicopter. As is usual for a Bond movie, the film provides a look at both the trappings of the good life, such as the Sunseeker Yachts used in the Haiti boat chase sequence filmed in Colon, juxtaposed against the poverty that is rampant in so many areas of the world. Don't be surprised if it appears that there is a lot of gunfire in this movie. More than 200,000 rounds of blank ammunition were used in the production for testing, training, and filming. In contrast to this is the line James says to Camille, "You have one shot, take a deep breath. Make it count." Each movie, sequel or not, needs to stand on its own merits. The producers of Quantum of Solace took their best shot as well, and they hit the mark square on. For more information go to

Quantum of Solace (PG-13) James Bond: Daniel Craig Camille: Olga Kurylenko Dominic Greene: Mathieu Amalric M: Judi Dench Felix Leiter: Jeffrey Wright Mathis: Giancarlo Giannini Director: Mark Forster Screenplay: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis Based on the novel by Ian Flemming Producers: Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli Executive Producers: Anthony Waye, Callum McDougall

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