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Review: Quantum Of Solace

Daniel Craig takes Bond back to good old thuggery

(12A)

    Sean Connery played James Bond as a thug in a dinner jacket. Former model George Lazenby took over the role in the best forgotten On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Roger Moore's suave wise-cracking tailor's dummy survived several films, Timothy Dalton was suitably tough but unfortunately lacked charisma while urbane Pierce Brosnan was the perfect combination of cynic and resourceful hero.

    When Daniel Craig showed off his impressively buff body as he emerged from the sea in Casino Royale he triumphantly renewed the franchise by again portraying 007 as a thug in a dinner jacket. And now, in Quantum of Solace, noticeably the shortest film in the series, Craig makes Bond even more thuggish as he seeks violent revenge for the betrayal and death of Vesper, the woman he loved in Casino Royale.

    The linear storyline concocted by Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade begins where the previous film left off, taking Bond (he never announces his name, by the way, yet another distraction from the once-hallowed original) on a mission that takes him from South of France, Italy, London, Haiti, Austria and Italy again before the climax in Bolivia where Bond saves the country - and the world, naturally - from evil criminal mastermind Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric) with a little help from Olga Kurylenko's beautiful but dangerous Camille. Director Marc Forster drives the film along at so enthusiastic a pace and with such a plethora of action that you really have no time to try and work out exactly what it happening.

    Craig is appropriately tough in combat, menacing in confrontation and up to the expected amorous peak when he makes love to British agent Fields (Gemma Arterton). Kurylenko is attractive and deadly when she needs to be (and keeps out of 007's romantic grasp) and Almaric is good value. Which leaves the major acting chores to Judi Dench as Bond's boss ‘M', and she carries them out gloriously, creating a three dimensional character who stands out among the attractive ciphers that surround her.

    If you want fast-moving action with the minimum of storytelling interruptions you will be shaken and stirred.

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