2008-12-05 / Columnists


'Quantum Of Solace' - Bond Is Back And He's Boring
By Robert Snyder

The late author Ian Fleming once said that he had actor Cary Grant in mind when he created his famous spy, James Bond. Since then, something's gone wrong.

In the 46 years since Bond has graced the silver screen, his character has been brought to life by an assortment of actors, the best being the first, Sean Connery. The latest, Daniel Craig, is the most serious, almost Shakespearean in a brooding Hamlet way. What he isn't is Cary Grant.

Picking up where he left off in the 2006 "Casino Royale," Craig's Bond is out to avenge the killing of his love, Vesper. In fact, he is a murder machine, often even using his bare hands. He has no time for levity and not much for sex. His boss and mother figure, M (Judi Dench), can't control him, at one point stripping him of his gun, credit card and license to kill. But he doesn't care. He travels the world (Bolivia, Haiti, Austria and Italy), ostensibly on the trail of phony environmentalist villain Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric).

The action is quick and incoherent, with Bond sometimes hopping like a jackrabbit from roof to roof in pursuit of a bad guy. He falls in with a couple of Bond girls along the way, Agent Fields (Gemma Arterton) and Camille (Olga Kurylenko), though romance is barely there. In the old days, Bond was never too busy for a roll in bed. He has one here with Fields, though it's so fast that he is away before he has time to protect her from Greene's goons.

Totally gone are the Bond witticisms, which made him so much fun and Cary Grant-like.

Maybe, Craig needs to find Bond's clever comfort zone, or quantum of solace.

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