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Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig

Sony Pictures

Review in a Hurry: It's like Casino Royale with cheese: Daniel Craig's second outing as 007 has all the action it needs and then some, but lacks the focus of its predecessor.

The Bigger Picture: A lousy time for stocks should be a good time for Bond. In times of economic turmoil, there's no better escapism than the exploits of a British superspy who solves complex geopolitical problems with nothing more than murderous chutzpah and a dinky little gun.

This time he's out for some simple vengeance, looking for the baddies who robbed him of his one true love. James Bond's heartache doesn't stop him from seducing his way past a lovely bureaucrat, though he does show admirable restraint in his dealings with fellow traveler Camille (Olga Kurylenko), a rogue agent who has her own score to settle.

The course of true revenge never does run smoothly, and Bond promptly stumbles across a mysterious network of powerbrokers looking to—what else?—take over the world. And so 007's off on another jet-set adventure that looks terribly modern (the architecture on display might be worth the price of admission) but carries a few too many reminders of how silly the series can get.

The parts that aren't silly—lean, muscular brawls and seemingly improvisational chase scenes—are entertaining enough but packed more thrills when we saw them first (and second, and third) in the Bourne films.

But at least Quantum of Solace never gets bogged down in tedious gunfights, thanks mostly to Craig's "horribly efficient" secret agent. His Bond remains the deadliest; his flinty stare and capacity for sudden brutality keep things engaging, as you honestly wonder what he'll do next. Most of the time it isn't what you'd expect, which these days is about all you can ask for.

The 180—a Second Opinion: Quantum of Solace suffers from major sequilitis and middle-third syndrome, with director Marc Forster doing just barely enough to resolve the last film and a little advance work for another. The whole thing looks more like a collection of afterthoughts than a film in its own right.

Grade: B-