Post-modern culture is all about deconstructing whatever is orderly, rational or cherished. I remember in late 2001 hearing Erwin McManus postulate that 9-11 signaled the end of post-modernism because it represented the ultimate act of deconstruction. But post-modernism continues, and it’s James Bond’s turn to have his story melted, refactored and stripped to its essence.
Casino Royale was about a younger Bond when he first obtained his 007 status. Rather than the suave misogynist with the keen gadgets penetrating the baddy’s secret lair, Daniel Craig was a rougher, flintier Bond who can be hurt, and who can fall hopelessly in love.
Quantum of Solace picks up immediately after Casino and follows Bond’s attempt to crack a secret organization called “Quantum” with dire designs on the world. There is a wild car chase which starts the film, and an obvious homage to Goldfinger. There is even a bad guy’s lair, though not so secret.
But what made the first twenty-one James Bond films fun were the exotic locales, the implacable villains and the peril that our hero could get into. This film is like Bond stripped of all the fun. The majority of the film takes place in Bolivia (actually an anonymous desert that could have been shot anyplace), the villain seems bent on a really meaningless goal and Bond seems in control and rarely in danger. It’s as bleak as the desert and dry as a vodka martini.
If you must see Quantum to complete your score of Bond films, why then by all means go. If you haven’t seen Casino Royale recently, then you probably won’t understand most of this film’s plot, since little script is spared for exposition.