‘Casino Royale‘ (2006) set the benchmark so high that it was always going to be a tough act for ‘Quantum of Solace‘ (2008) to follow. It may have received some quite negative and scathing reviews but I actually don’t mind it and part of the reason why was that it was visually very exciting for me to see Bond (Daniel Craig) in Latin America.
Due to its diversity Panama doubled up for a couple of countries; Bolivia and Haiti, with the latter first appearing on 17 minutes as Colon fills in for Port Au Prince. I was hoping to make it up to Colon at the Caribbean end of the Canal whilst in Panama but sadly time caught up with me and the warnings of big crime in this slum meant I didn’t want to risk it. On 18 minutes 007 gets into a bit of a tussle in a hotel and a few minutes after that is the crumbling street which Bond rides along to the waterfront docks in another dangerous part of the city.
Thankfully, there were a couple of far easier Panama City locations from this film to be seen just a short walk away from my hostel in the historic district of Casco Viejo. Unhappy with MI6 officer Strawberry Fields’ (Gemma Arterton) choice of hotel as part of their cover, Bond takes her by taxi to a far more upmarket hotel on 52 minutes. The Andean Grand Hotel (below) in ‘Bolivia’ isn’t really a hotel but is actually the Instituto Nacional de Cultura (National Institute of Culture) in the World Heritage area of Casco Viejo. It can be seen briefly again on 74 and 77 minutes.
The main villain Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), holds a party 54 minutes into the film which Bond attends with Agent Fields shortly after he seduces her. The location of this is of course not La Paz in Bolivia but the Old Union Club in Casco Viejo where all the rich people used to go and party. The ruins were scouted out for the film in October 2007 and is (as it was back then) now like an old shell but believe it or not it was completely revamped for shooting which can be seen in the ‘On Location’ dvd extra. At this party, Bond again rescues the beautiful Camille (Olga Kurylenko) from Greene. As I explored this place it was quite hard to imagine how it was transformed for filming as it really is in a bad state these days.
It seems that the bar scene with Bond and one of his closest allies Felix Leiter on 77 minutes was also filmed in Colon. Leiter tells James to move his ass as the SWAT team descends on the building. This can be seen in one of the dvd extras titled ‘Bond On Location’.
See other James Bond filming locations by clicking on the places below: