Quantum of Solace: ** 1/2

Quantum of Solace is a stand-alone Bond movie. I was kindof surprised by that; all of the reviews I had read to date either talked up this movie as a standard modern spy movie, along the likes of The Bourne Identity, or as a direct sequel to Casino Royale, Daniel Craig's first time in the role from a couple of years back. While both things are somewhat accurate, neither really describes the movie on its own, and that's probably a good thing.

Instead, we get a Bond movie. There is an association of Bad Guys that is plotting to do something Big And Awful, and only James Bond and his assortment of Nifty Gadgets can stop them - but only after he finds out what's going on while investigating a small part of an apparently unconnected case. Along the way, he will have to bed an attractive woman, rescue and team up with another, shoot a small gun and drive an expensive car, and cause lots of property damage without anybody really noticing. And in the climactic final scene, he will stop the villains' plans with explosions and a hail of gunfire, before escaping with the girl and enjoying one final make-out session.

They did mix up a few of the elements, though. Certain elements of the main Bond plot were cut down or removed; others were brought out more strongly. And for once, there was some continuity to a previous movie, albeit mostly thematic in nature.

That's not to say that I loved the movie. I specifically disliked the action scenes; they were too shaky-cammy, too out-of-control, too irrelevant to what was going on. The effects of the action scenes were good, but not the causes, if that makes any sense; and that hurt my overall enjoyment of the movie. But, on balance, I'm still happy I saw it; and if you liked the last one, you'll probably like this one too, if not as much.

** 1/2