A Brisk, Brutal Bond: The Quantum of Solace Review

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Karen Ballard / EON / UA / Columbia

Daniel Craig as James Bond and Olga Kurylenko as Camille in Quantum of Solace

How much is a quantum? Less than a little and next to nothing. Ex.: "In high school I studied a quantum of physics." Or, as James Bond might say, "I'll have a vodka martini, shaken not stirred, and instead of a side of pretzels give me a quantum of solace."

The Bond films want to remain faithful, in their fashion, to the Ian Fleming fictions that spawned them. But Fleming wrote only 12 Bond novels and eight short stories before his death in 1964, back when only two of the films had been released and nobody dreamed that the series would reach, as it has now, 22 "official" features over 46 years. (There were two rogue Bonds: a comedy version of Casino Royale in 1967, not to be confused with the one released two years ago, and Never Say Never Again, a Sean Connery solo project, in 1983.) So this time the keepers of the 007 flame went with one of the short story titles, which sounds more suited for an Antonioni film than the highly torqued action adventure that is Quantum of Solace.

The new Bond, starring Daniel Craig in his second spin as 007, had its gala premiere in London Wednesday, with the Princes Harry and William in attendance. The film opens in Britain, France and Sweden today, in 61 Asian, European and South American countries next week, and in the U.S. Nov. 14. So this review is for TIME.com international readers' eyes only. The rest of you, no peeking for two weeks. For now, we'll just say you have some thrills and rough fun in store.

(Check out Bond's best cocktails, theme songs and vacation destinations)

(See pictures of all things Bond.)

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