All right, I am a huge James Bond fan that has seen every movie at least twice so I have lots to say and there are major, major spoilers here.  The bottom line is, this is a cable movie at best and really the story is so thin, even if you knew every spoiler, you probably would get just as much entertainment out of the whole thing.

That being said, let’s begin.

The makers of QofS seemed to have sat down and said, “How can we remove every element of a James Bond movie and make it more like the Bourne Identity?”  Bond never says, “Bond, James Bond” or “Martini, shaken not stirred” or really, any witty lines, except maybe for one.

The opening sequence has awesome car stunts.  Bond saves the day and the kicker is, he’s wrecked his car, but the whole time there was a guy in the trunk.  But does he have a wry line like “Hope you had your seatbelt on” or “Sorry, I meant to have my shock absorbers serviced” or even “I hope you enjoyed the ride”.  No.  And right away, there’s something off in the tone of Quantum of Solace.

After the credits, Bond delivers his target to M in a mouldy old warehouse in Italy.  In the old days, the old warehouse would’ve opened up into a super modern MI6 safehouse, but the director is going for something gritty, I guess.  Okay, so the target, Mr. White starts to talk and immediately my hopes go up.  He starts to talk about a worldwide organization so I’m thinking, “Finally!  They are going to reintroduce Specter”.

Unfortunately, the set up is that they’re going to torture him.  Bad on several levels.  Even though I have no doubt the Brits have lowered their standards in that area as the US has, Bond should have none of this.  Why?  Because torture doesn’t work.  The problem with torture is: A) if your target knows nothing, he’ll tell you something anyway because you are torturing him, which means that info will be bullshit B) if your target knows a little something, he’ll tell you more than that which will make everything he says suspect or will validate bad intelligence C) even if he knows everything you want to know, there is still a chance he’s the sort of person that would die rather than tell you the truth and D) people can still lie even when they’re tortured, especially spies who ARE GOOD AT IT.  Also, this is a big step down for Bond who normally does something clever rather than beat up a guy.  Compare it to, say, Batman.  Batman sort of tortures criminals, but it works for him because “criminals are a cowardly lot”.  Not so with spies and terrorists.  But even so, White gives a tantalyzing few sentences and I’m interested in what he has to say.  This is going to set up the franchise for the future.

Just as its getting interesting, one of M’s bodyguards turns out to be a double agent and starts shooting everyone, including M.  Bond struggles with the guy, shoots Mr. White and then the chase starts.  Cool chase, but—  Bond kills the guy and by the time he gets back Mr. White is gone.

Now, many of the scenes in QofS don’t make sense if you think about them in retrospect.  In retropsect this means Mr. White woke up and left, without killing M the head of MI6 who is lying on the floor.  OR, even dumber, that M fled out of the room bleeding rather than secure a prisoner who it is her sworn duty to do regardless of her well being.  But nevermind, the movie is moving too fast.  The makers smartly don’t want you to think about things too long.  Still, I’m like, okay, they can pull out of this and explain things later.

Cut to the bodyguard’s apartment.  M is bandaged up and the MI6 team is searching the bodyguard’s apartment for clues as to why he betrayed M.  I’m like, “What is this, CSI?”  But okay, here comes some important clue.  Then nothing.  WTF?

Cut to the new MI6 HQ.  It’s space age with glass security doors and a magic table that scans things.  It looks like its from Star Trek.  The forensics team, which for some reason we had to see earlier, found nothing.  “100 Euros and 100 dollars, that’s it for his holdings,” says M’s new, presumably loyal, assistant.  So hold on, this bodyguard, in the employ of M for eight years, betrayed her and didn’t even get a bribe?  He’s not being blackmailed, he’s not a gambling addict—  What the Hell?  Hello, could use some plot.   Then the magic table tells us that MI6 had tagged some money for some baddies and that the bodyguard had some.  M adds that its no big deal, there’s so much in circulation.  Then that begs the questioin, “What the fuck did you expect to find out in that operation?”  But M’s assistant reveals that some guy in Haiti has a bunch of it and is somehow connected to the bodyguard.  On that incredibly thin evidence that M herself undermines, they send Bond, their best agent.

You see how fucking messy this is?  I’m like, “Get to the fucking chicks and the villain already.”  This is all wind up, but since it moves so fast and they are skipping things like Ms. Moneypenny and Q, maybe they have time to explain.

Bond goes to Haiti.  Knocks on the hotel room door, then breaks in, gets jump and kills their only lead.  Additionally, he does it kind of slow and brutal, begging one to ask, “Jeez, Bond, why don’t you ask him ONE quesiton?”  But Daniel Craig is apparently too handsome to think.  We are then treated to Bond bandaging himself, cleaning up and stealing the guy’s jacket.  Wow, exciting.  Just what I paid to see.

So Bond leaves and at the hotel finally does something clever.  Posing as the guy he just killed, he checks for messages and gets the guy’s briefcase and walks out.  As he’s walking out he’s picked up by Hot Bolivian chick, Cami, who mistakes him for “the geologist”, ie the guy that Bond just killed.

So I’m like, “Finally, some eye candy.”  So she thinks Bond is someone else.  Gee, I wonder how?  She picked up the first guy to walk out of the hotel with a metal briefcase.  Anyhow, they get followed by a guy on a motorcycle.  Cami ditches him.  During the drive, Bond steals her driver’s license.  Then she stops in an alley and asks Bond to open the brief case.  Bond finds a booklet, which as he’s handing her, I see from sitting in the audience is BLANK.  So if I can see it from the backseat view, I’m sure Bond can and Cami.  Still, she flips through and goes, “What’s this?”  Bond continues to look in the briefcase, finds a picture of her and a pistol and says, “Oh, it appears I’m suppose to kill you.”  Cami whips out a pistol and tries to shoot Bond.  Bond ends up struggling with her and then getting out of the car.  Cami takes off and the guy with the motorcycle magically returns.  The motorcycle guy says, “You were supposed to shoot her.”  And Bond says, “I missed,” beats him up and takes the motorcyle to chase after Cami.

So how many things are wrong with this scene?  Well, why does Bond get out of the car?  If he wants to talk to Cami, all he had to do is explain he wasn’t the geologist.  He seemed to have an opportunity as he held her hand with the gun.  Also, wouldn’t Cami realize that the briefcase had the gun in it and Bond wasn’t holding it in his hand?  If he had wanted to kill her, he would’ve done it.

Back to the action.  Bond follows Cami back to a guarded warehouse.  Bond “cleverly” drives past the entrance and parks on the dock, where he can see everything the villain and Cami are doing.  Wow, great hideout there, Lex Luthor.  So Cami confronts Dominic Greene, our villain that he tried to kill her via the geologist.  During the argument, she says something like “Why would I come back here if I wanted to betray you?”  Which begs the question, why would she come back to a guy that just tried to kill her.  Greene also reveales the real geologist.  He’s tied down, under the water, just near the hideout.  Okay, uh, seems way stupid.  Either Haiti’s cops are going to find the body right near your hideout, dude.  Or, Haiti’s cops are in your pocket so why even hide him under the water?  If you wanted to scare you minions, shouldn’t you nail him to the nearest, most visible wall?  Next, some Bolivian General shows up and it’s immediately clear through the horrible dialogue that Cami wants to kill the guy.  Dominic “gives” Cami to the general and he adds, “Throw her overboard when you’re done.”  Cami goes with the general and his goons.

So finally, Bond, after watching all this, all within eyeshot of Dominic and Cami, who presumably just doesn’t see the guy she JUST escaped from, walks up to a random Dominic minion and hands him a business card.  (It has the name “R. Sterling” on it.  Ha, not funny.)  Bond also lets himself get filmed on the security camera.  Something an amature like me would’ve avoided.  Nice going superspy.  This is all a ruse to get Dominic’s henchmen to call his fake number, so bond can track HIS number, which reveals that he is “Dominic Greene, from Greene industries” or whatever.  A villain that can’t beat caller I.D. wicked.

Just as I’m about to completely check out on this movie, another action scene breaks out and that’s where I begin to see a pattern.   Blah, blah, blah, ACTION!  Blah, blah, blah, ACTION!  Bond saves Cami from the general by driving his motorcycle across several boats, stealing a boat and then out-manuevering the general’s guys.  But wait, it gets even stupider.  Cami is knocked unconscious during the chase.  After Bond risks his life to save this girl, his only connection to the geologist, whom he’s killed, he hands her off to a valet and walks away!  This is a real rookied screenwriter mistake.  So focused is the writer on the real villain that he forgets everything else and so does Bond.

Bond checks in with the guy running the magic table back in London.  Dominic Greene is buying a lot of pipe.  Uh, okay.  Must be evil.  Bond walks off the boat and finds a jeep waiting for him.  I guess that’s left by MI6?  Could’ve had a cool one liner there as he calls M.  Something like:  “I’m in the car.  If you could call it that.”  “Sorry, James, but you’ve run our budget out of Astin Martins.  Try to keep something in one piece for a change.”  But no, the director wants this to be gritty.  Bond tracks Dominic’s minion, via the business car, with a tracking device on his cellphone.  Of course, this is a guess on my part, it’s not explained.  Anyone not riveted to the movie could’ve missed it.  Then again, what if Dominic’s minion threw the car away?  Why would he keep it at all?  Oh, and I forgot to mention, Dominic’s minion is wearing a really bad, obvious toupee for some reason.

Still, despite all this, I’m hoping against hope the director can explain this convoluted mess.  He still has about an hour left.

Bond follows Greene to Austria for an opera.  During the plane ride, its established that Greene is working with the CIA to stage a coup in Bolivia on behalf of the general we saw earlier.  Bond gets to the opera and has to break in to steal a tux.  Now, MI6 pays for Bond’s flights to Haiti and Austria, gives him cars, gadgets and money—  But a tux on short notice?  Sorry.  Bond steals one because for some reason there is a guy changing AT THE OPERA HALL’S LOCKER ROOM.  What kind of fucking opera hall let’s the OPERA GOERS change their clothes?  But wait, it gets stupider and not even in retrospect.

Bond walks around the hall and sees Greene hobnobbing with the other opera fans.  He notices everyone is given a gift bag.  Except that certain people get a different gift back that’s under the table if you’re on a list.  Yeah, when you’re running an international organization bent on world domination, it’s a good idea to rely upon some clerks to hand out the right bags to people.  Because they’re so reliable.

But Bond’s thought?  “I gotta get me that nifty gift bag!”  Why?  If you’ve ever been to an event that gives you this stuff, they hand it out free all the time and there is sometimes other gift bags that are for certain VIP guests.  At comic book conventions, the bag usually has an extra collectible that the VIP paid for.  This usually doesn’t mean anything very clandestine.  Bond, however, follows a guy with a bag into the mens room, mugs him and searches through the bag.  It has a bunch of junk including an earpiece and a pin with a “Q” on it.  Presumably for “Quantum of Solace” I guess.  Bond dumps the rest of the stuff, exits the mens room and—  Here’s where everyone checks out on the movie—  BREAKS THE METAL HANDLE OF THE MENS ROOM OFF WITH HIS BARE HAND.

My friend turned to me in the movie and said, “What is he?  Superman?”   It was a Bourne Identity moment.  Bond just doesn’t do this stuff.  Even if, say, he wanted to trap that guy in the mens room.  The mens room in a opera house full of people would not be empty.  And if you somehow managed to break the handle off, the mechanism would probably be broke and the door would open right up.  The best move might’ve been to bend the handle or hey, how about killing the guy so he can’t wake up and start screaming?  Or maybe handcuffing him to a toilet?  At this point, I’ve checked out of this mess.

All this is moot anyway, because Bond doesn’t take the guy’s seat.  So even if he woke up, he wouldn’t be able to find Bond.  He goes up into the catwalks to watch the opera and observe the opera goers.  Now, this is the cool part of the movie.  The Quantum guys have a meeting during the opera via the headpieces which not only recieve transmissions, but somehow send them as well, even though the little nub in the ear did not seem equipped with a microphone.  But still, very cool.  They can’t be traced or recorded discussing their nefarious plans.  Bond then interrupts them, freaks them out and they all start getting up and leaving the opera.  Bond takes pictures.  Clever.  Mr. White is amongst the opera goers, but he clever just removes his earpiece and stays for the rest of the opera.  He says, to his date, “Some people just don’t like Tuscany”.  Finally, a good scene.  Maybe I’m back.

Bond tries to leave the opera.  After beating up a guy on the catwalk (and its not clear he’s even after Bond) he walks out and runs right into a group of guys and Dominic leaving.  Way to go Superspy!  Next, there is a running shootout in the opera hall which also has a restaurant.  (Man this place is big.)  The climax is, Bond kills or maims the guys except one.  He gets the jump on one of the bag guys and hangs him over the edge of the opera house for questioning.   Bond ends up, essentially, dropping him off the building.  The bad guy magically lands on Dominic’s car as he’s about to leave.  Dominic gets spotted by this bad guy, so he has his driver shoot him.  Now, here’s another bad scene in retrospect:

Back in London, M’s assistant is identifying the guys Bond took pictures of.  He also reports to M that the bad guy Bond shot was part of “Special service” and that BOND SHOT HIM and threw him off the roof.  This is disturbing to all, but it shouldn’t be because A) Bond has a license to kill, B) the guy he killed was shooting at him minutes earlier and C) he didn’t know the guy was special service.  But, the implication is that Bond killed the guy in cold blood, by SHOOTING HIM.  Which means I guess they were okay with him throwing the guy off a building.  Bond certainly seemed okay with it.  Of course, you could argue that Bond saw the car and that he figured the guy was in good enough health to survive the fall since it was only about 2 or 3 stories.  But why wouldn’t he see the guy get shot?  And why wouldn’t he deny the charge when M calls him?  At this point, I became very suspicious of M’s assistant.  If he was also a double agent, you could explain a lot of the inconsistencies away.  Guess what, he’s not.  Additionally, Dominic has the guy shot because the guy “saw his face”, but later in the movie, Dominic is giving a big public speech.  Dominic isn’t a secret guy and he’s coming out of an opera, what does he care if anyone sees his face?  Again, a rookie writing mistake.  They wanted to set up Bond as a “rogue” so they needed to pin a murder on him to make him look bad, not because the events of the story unfolded in any sensible way.

But wait, it gets stupider.

M now cuts off Bond’s money and credit cards so he can’t follow Greene to Bolivia, where the shit is all going to go down.  Bond goes to Mathias, a character from Casino Royale for help.  Mathias just happens to have connecitons in Bolivia and likes Bond even though Bond screwed him over in the past.  Mathias decides to go with Bond and they share a buddy moment on the plane.  Bond gets sloppy drunk, which is so not Bond, on his famous martinis.  Of course, the opportunity to say the line passes.  Bond is crying about Vespa, who betrayed him and she was killed in Casino Royale.  This is supposedly the driving force behind why Bond is going to get revenge in this movie.  I guess if you watched the two movies together, that might make sense, but it doesn’t really play well here.

Bolivia:  At the airport, Bond and Mathias are confronted by Ms. Fields, a hot English agent, who has been asigned to bring Bond home.  Of course, there’s no planes out of Bolivia until the next day, so they have to stay in a hotel.   Fields takes Bond to a crappy hotel that’s within budget of MI6 for their cover story of being teaches on sabbatical.  Bond takes them to a 5 star hotel and changes the cover story to “teachers on sabbatical that won the lottery”.  Funny.  Finally.

Fields’ real name is “Strawberry Fields”, but in order to find that out, you have to watch the credits!  She never says her first name!  And, of course, Bond screws her in the hotel.  Ha, ha, ha, she’s so embarassed.  Bond doesn’t even really seduce her and she bangs him so quickly, it seems beneath the world’s greatest spy.

Mathias gets Bond invited to Greene’s big party.  At the party, Mathias introduces Bond to his friend the colonel that is going to help them and everyone is at this party:  Greene, the CIA, Bond, Mathias, Fields—  Everyone except Mr. White, who started this whole thing.  Where the Hell is he?  Even Cami shows up.  She ruins Greene’s party and then nearly gets herself killed.  She wants Greene to tell her where the general is.  Why can’t this woman pursue another line of inquiry without Greene?  Especially later, when its revealed that she is ex-Bolivian Secret Service.

Bond takes Cami out of the party.  They drive away and then get pulled over by the colonel’s guys.  They tell Bond to open the trunk and there is Mathias, almost dead.  Bond fights the cops, get Mathias shot and kills the cops.  Mathias dies in his arms, but there is no weight here.  You feel like all Mathias did was travel to Bolivia to die.   Back in London, everyone goes nuts because Bond killed a bunch of cops.  But who cares?  They already labeled him a rogue anyway.  Although how London could find out about any of this so fast is anyone’s guess.  I guess it’s the magic table.

Now Bond and Cami drive out to the desert to see what the fuss is all about that Dominic is making a land grab for a desert in Bolivia.  They barter for a plane and the guy at the airport immediately sells them.   Bond seems to know this, yet he’s cool with it.  In retrospect this is really stupid because that’s the cue for the plane stunts to start.  Just before that, Cami and Bond see there are lots of sinkholes in the desert.  They apparently mean nothing because they are never mentioned again.

Plane stunts, plane stunts and boom, Bond and Cami parachute out, fall into a sinkhole and then the chut opens about ten feet from the ground.  Another “What is he?  Superman?” moment.  Bond and Cami have a heart to heart about revenge.  Cami wants to kill the general for killing her father, who she didn’t even like.  Bond wants to kill the guy that killed Vespa, which has nothing to do with Greene, her or anything else.

Big reveal: Greene isn’t after oil, he’s after Bolivia’s water supply.  Big deal, big reveal, so what?  The one thing this Bond movie had, which I liked, was that it took real political situations and infused them into the movie.  Bolivia really does have a water crisis.  Haiti really does have an unstable government.  There were a few other tidbits mentioned.  Unfortunately, you need to sell people on it, not just mention it.

Bond leaves the desert.  There’s a brief scene where we see native Bolivians looking thirsty.  Thanks.  Just what I need in a Bond movie.  Guilt.  That’s really why I got see these things as oppose to say, this.

Bond goes back to his hotel and finds Fields drowned in oil and M and her goons ready to take Bond home.  M tells Bond what a jerk he is for fucking her and getting her killed and I can’t say I don’t agree.  In retrospect, Bond ditched Fields at Greene’s party.  It’s implied the goon with the hairpiece (who Fields tripped to help Bond during the party) is the one that killed her, but who knows?  Who cares.  But don’t worry, someone starts shooting at Bond shortly.

No, wait, Bond beats up M’s goons in the elevator and escapes.  Then CIA and MI6 guys pour into the hotel out to get Bond, who escapes. Bond contacts Felix, his CIA buddy, who is just on the fringes of the movie.  There is a pointless scene where he meets him in a bar and then has to escape the Bolivian police again.  At this point, I’m so numb to the aciton it barely registers.  It’s almost like that’s the way Bond leaves a building: fighting guys that are shooting at him.

Finally, Bond finds out about some crazy hotel in the desert where “the deal” is going down.  The general gets control of Bolivia and Greene and the Quantum, we assume, get control of the water.  Also, the colonel gets a pay off.  Oh, yeah, Mathias friend betrayed him.  Wow, some friend.  The general is served by an innocent waitress who is apparently the only employee at this weird hotel.  The set up is, the general raped and killed Cami’s mother, so he’s probably going to rape this girl too.  Why not?  There doesn’t appear to be anyone in the hotel left to rape.  Makes sense, if you’re completely brain damaged I guess.

So, the climatic final scene starts with Bond and Cami checking their weapons behind a convenient rock.  Cami is going in to shoot the general and Bond—  Well, I guess he has to shoot someone.  He’s in a lot of trouble.  You think he might need some proof to prove his innocence.  But oh well.  Hang tough, the stupidest part of the movie is coming up.

Greene betrays the general.  Now that he has the water rights and the general is the head of Bolivia, they must pay twice as much for water.  The general reluctantly agrees and gets ready to go rape the maid.  Now during the negotiations someone mentions a weird humming and that the hotel is powered by some “alternative energy”.  This is really odd, but by now I’m so numb, I wonder if anything can save this abortion of a movie.  No, no, hang with me.  This will finally save you ten bucks on not going to see this.

Bond and Cami bust in.  Bam-bam.  Bond’s got a pistol, everyone has machine guns, but he’s a good shot.  One of the jeeps he hides behind rolls into a wall an explodes.  My first thought is, what was in that jeep?  More shooting, more explosions.  What the Hell is going on?  Cami busts in on the general who is, surprise, suprise, trying to rape the maid.  He kills him.  Bond chases Greene.  His toupee bodyguard, WHO HAS DONE NOTHING THE ENTIRE MOVIE EXCEPT LOOK STUPID, gets blown up as the hotel continues to blow up one section of the time.  Now I’m thinking, “Are the walls made of gasoline?”

Dominic and Bond fight.  No cool Bond fight music, by the way.  Catwalks collapse and walls explode.  I am never staying in this hotel.  Dominic finds, ironically, a convenient fire axe.  But during the fight, he CUTS HIS OWN FOOT.  Wow, what a villain.  This guy makes the butterfly henchmen on the Venture Brothers look like Dick fucking Dastardly.  Cami has killed the general and freed the maid, but because Cami was trapped in a fire when she was a little girl, she can’t bring herself to do anything except roll into a ball and cry.  Massively lame.  Bond leaves Dominic to save Cami.   Bond finds Cami in the room.  They are trapped inside.

Now here’s the stupidiest part of the movie.

Bond and Cami see that the hotel is somehow powered by hydrogen tanks inside the walls of the hotel.  Because during the fire, they are somehow exposed.  Naturally, Bond shoots a tank and it blows a hole in the wall so they can escape.  Are you shittin’ me?  No, I’m not.  Hydrogen tanks.  Never explained.

So as Bond and Cami escape “Hotel Hindenberg” they spot Greene limping away in the desert by himself.  Bond catches him, questions him (although we don’t see it) and then dumps him in the desert with a can of motor oil, telling him, “I’ll be you get 20 miles before you consider drinking that.”  This is the film makers’ version of “irony” since Greene was supposed to be looking for oil and was really looking for water.  Never mind that Bond and Cami save the maid, only to have her die in the fire or die in the desert, like it is revealed that Greene does later.  (With a stomach full of motor oil, ha, ha.)

So if you care, Bond finally goes to Russia to confront the man that killed Vespa.  In a call back to Casino Royale, Bond sits in the dark and waits for him.  Doesn’t kill him and hands him over to M.  Great, just what I wanted to see.  Bond NOT KILLING PEOPLE.  And, oh yeah, he doesn’t have sex with Cami either.  No sex and no killing.  Hooray.  Are you people fucking serious?  What the fuck were you thinking?  This is James God Damned Bond.

You would’ve been better off having Daniel Craig come out and say, “Hi, I’m Daniel Craig.  In this scene, Bond has to get away from these people in a car/motorcycle, snowmoblie,” etc.  And just show the fucking stunts.  Woody Allen’s version of Bond made more sense.  After restarting the franchise right with an Ian Fleming novel in Casino Royale, they drove the damned thing right back into a ditch.  This movie barely qualifies as DVD extra, let alone a stand alone movie.  I’m not big on DVD commentary, but I may have to get the DVD just so I can here the voices of the filmmakers who made this trainwreck explain it.  A friend of mine told me he has a friend that worked with Eon.  That guys said, the writers come up with the stunts and build the movie around that.  In that context, you can see why this movie is just an utter mess.  I give it 2 beer kegs out of 10, just because some of the stunts were cool.  But seriously bros, wait until someone you know rents or borrows the DVD.  Hell, wait till it comes on cable.  You’ll thank me.