Quantum of Solace is a good movie. While it lacks the heart and driving unity that made Casino Royale so excellent, it still packs a driven, feverish punch that keeps you riveted as Bond slams and forces his way through a series of opponents and obstacles. One thing that struck me as I watched it is how Bond’s fighting style has changed from the svelte karate chops of previous films to a more brutal battering approach; one scene in particular caused me to slow things down and watch frame by frame as Bond demolished his enemy with incredible ferocity.
Can one translate such a fight scene into prose? I’m going to try, and see if I can keep some of the urgency on the page.
Bond opens the hotel room door. He scans it calmly, surveys the closed screen doors to the right that must lead into the bedroom, the simple, almost stark furnishings in the main living room. Walls are a dirty beige, and brilliant white light enters through a far door that leads out onto a balcony, a curtain of string beads rustling in the wind.
He enters, closes the door quietly behind him, and walks forward, past the screen doors, towards the balcony. The beads rustle quietly, and then one of the screen doors slams open, a pale man in black clothing springing forward to swipe his blade across in a slash that would have opened Bond’s throat.
But he’s no longer there.
Stepping forward, Bond snatches up a flower pot and whips around, smashing it into the man’s face. Shards of glass and flower stems explode into the air. The man, blinded, backhands the blade wildly across Bond’s face even as the secret agent steps behind him, grips his shirt with both fists and uses the man’s momentum to slam him through the screen door and into the master bedroom beyond. Wooden lathes splinter and glass shatters, falls about them as they fall through, only to scrabble back up to their feet.
The man tries for a third swing. He’s fast, terribly fast. Bond leaps back, allowing the viciousness of the man’s own attack to unbalance him so that he falls down next to the bed, right hand gripping the sheets in an effort to find purchase. Then he’s up once more, knife spitting out, but it’s smacked cruely away by Bond who now wields a black dress shoe. The heel slams into the man’s hand, and then cracks across his face. The man stumbles back, but before Bond can land another blow he launches a kick right into Bond’s hip.
Bond goes down, crashes violently to the floor, spilling the contents off a side table. Both men are staggered for but a millisecond, enough time for Bond to espy a pair of nail scissors on the carpet. Gripping them like a dagger, he hauls himself back up, only to sway aside as the other man brings his knife down in a hammer blow. The man’s knife comes at him like a viper’s tongue, and Bond traps the man’s arm under his own, locks it, uses his leverage to slam him brutally against the wall. Reacting quickly, the man crunches his forehead into Bond’s face, who falls back, grabs the telephone off the counter and smashes it into the other man as he leaps forward.
It’s almost over. The man slumps against the wall, face distorted into a snarl. Pushing off the wall he goes for Bond one last time, but his blows are blocked. Bond blocks with one arm, stabs down with the nail scissors into the man’s bicep. The man lunges forward like a fencer, only to find his hand grabbed, his wrist twisted by Bond’s iron fingers. His knife spins out of his grasp. Bond brings the bloodied nail scissors down massively and sinks them where the man’s neck joins his right shoulder, and then using the embedded scissors as a handle and still holding the man’s wrist he turns and wrenches the man off his feet, through a pair of french doors where they crash through the glass and onto the balcony floor.
Bond’s ontop. Scissors have slipped free. The man, teeth bared like an animal, plants his free hand against his neck wound, and writhes beneath the secret agent. Launches a weak kick, only to have the scissors dig deep into the inside of his thigh. Bond is looking off into the distance now, face set like concrete. Leg pinned against his side, the man’s left wrist still held in his grasp, he ignores the man beneath him as he gasps, shudders, and then finally dies. His gray eyes scan the environs. Looking for a new threat. The next obstacle. The next person he’ll have to kill.
All of this took place in 33 seconds. Clearly some changes have to be made. Some of the blow by blow commentary has to be dropped. The action has to be simplified, and made more visceral; rather than simply describing how they keep punching at each other, one would need to add more sensory input; sound, smells, etc. Similes. I’m going to muse further on this, and see if I can’t refine it. I’ll post my fiction-worthy result up next for comparison.