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It’s been two years coming, but Daniel Craig’s re-portrayal of British MI6 agent James Bond in Quantum of Solace, which opens in Malaysian cinemas today, fails to build on the relative success of the 2006 Casino Royale. For me, this effort seems a carbon copy of Casino Royale as a fast-paced beginning slowly turns into a rather drab middle part of the film.

The only difference between the two Marc Forster movies is that instead of a chase in a construction site, you have a chase on the roof; instead of a casino setting, you have a Haiti-slash-Italy-slash-Bolivia setting. The overall pace and sequence of the storyline of Quantum are too similar to Casino Royale to make a mark.

Daniel Craig is still a wild shot-crazy tug James Bond, a far cry from the suave and debonair Bonds of yesteryear. There is where the problem lies, the whole film tries so hard to portray this Bond as the early Bond, the Bond who would not hesitate to kill or punch his way out of trouble. Kudos for the producers for wanting a new more real approach to Bond’s characteristics, but without the cool gadgets and fast rides, he is just another action hero alongside the overcrowded action hero population which is coming out of Hollywood.

Overall, it is a very emotional and tender take of Bond as Daniel Craig returns fresh from Vesper’s betrayal and subsequent death. He tracks down a bunch of leads which direct him onto the path of one Dominic Greene, caring environmentalist-cum-ecologist on the surface, cold villain underneath it. Olga Kurylenko comes into the fray and becomes probably the only Bond girl in history not to sneak into bed or make out with Bond. Action comes in at every scene possible, but after awhile, it just gets generic as Casino Royale’s formula of adrenaline pumping raw action is brought back to its entirety with Quantom.

Another movies I managed to catch was Tropic Thunder, which Taylor over at my music bible Music For People Who Can’t Read Good regarded as possibly the best comedy of the year, and fortunately, it does not disappoint.

The movie starts off badly though, I will admit that as lame jokes and fake body parts sort of set alarm bells ringing. Thankfully, with a star-studded cast of Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr., the film gets back on track to become one of the most memorable comedies in recent times.

Tropic Thunder is about a bunch of prima donna Hollywood actors who shoot a war movie in Vietnam, but in a hilarious turn of events, find themselves in drug dealer territory. Call it a movie in a movie.

One cannot gush enough about the electrifying performance of Robert Downey Jr., fresh from his successful stint as Iron Man earlier this year, who plays an Australian dude Kirk Lazarus who plays a African-American dude. This result is all-out-laughter as Lazarus has an identity crisis following his decision to have a skin darkening operation.

Notable mentions should be given to Tom Cruise, who makes a cameo in this movie as millionaire Les, the one who is funding the movie in the movie. Get it? Overall, this movie improves as it goes along, although the stupid editing and cuts of profanities and vulgar words really do kill the flow of the film. If you have to, just go catch this flick just for the unforgettably awesome turns by Downey and Cruise, you won’t be disappointed.

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