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Awfully Good: Die Another Day

11.04.2015

Early reviews of SPECTRE are mixed, but let's keep things in perspective...

 

Die Another Day (2002)

 

Director: Lee Tamahori
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Rosamund Pike

 

James Bond must save the world from a rogue North Korean leader in extreme whiteface, who wants to destroy everyone with his giant sun laser. Also, he has to bang Halle Berry because she's there.

Poor Pierce Brosnan. The man just wanted to make a really good James Bond movie. Instead he got Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist and this film, which represents a true nadir in the 007 series. The only good thing to come of this admitted trainwreck is that it was so bad it forced the producers to actually try with CASINO ROYALE.

Granted, there are plenty of lesser Bond movies out there. Roger Moore had his share of stinkers and we even covered Sean Connery's embarrassing return in NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. But one could argue those films at least had their charms. DIE ANOTHER DAY is devoid of anything fun or worthwhile and in fact actively tries to shoehorn in unnecessary terribleness. (Madonna's auto-tuned theme song is bad enough, but who allowed her to actually have a speaking role?) The script relies solely on gimmicks, gadgets and attempted one-liners instead of an actual story. Writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade immediately followed this up with the Bond parody JOHNNY ENGLISH and it's definitely possible that they got confused which movie they were writing given the amount of unintentional comedy here. 


"Pierce Brosnan was electrifying!"
-JasonsLiteralMovieReviews.com

The film prepares you for suckage with an opening sequence that involves Bond surfing in to North Korea, creating a diamond bomb, and taking on the entire North Korean army in a hovercraft chase. He kills the general's son, makes a Zack Morris reference, and is promptly captured before the torture-themed credits even start. (And I don't say "torture" because of the Madonna song. The opening titles are actually built around the various methods they use to try and break the spy, from scorpions to near drowning.) After a year of being tormented, a bearded Bond is released and predictably disregards M's orders and immediately starts looking for more Korean terrorists. 


Mr. Blonde's mom was always talking his ear off.

I will now skip to the end because DIE ANOTHER DAY has no actual plot besides "Bond chases Korean bad guys all over the world." Eventually, 007 spots the main terrorist hanging out with a rich white guy, who [spoiler for the stupid] of course ends up being the North Korean general's son who apparently didn't die in the clearly fatal hovercraft accident in the beginning. I know that these kinds of movies should be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to realism, but the idea that an Asian guy could get gene therapy and become a flawlessly handsome, taller Englishman who's a world famous business mogul ala Richard Branson—all within a year's time—is dumber than casting Denise Richard's as a nuclear physicist named Christmas Jones. The film's attempt at creating an iconic henchman with Rick Yune's Zao is also a massive fail. I'm supposed to be impressed/intimidated by a guy who had diamonds exploded in to his face and is pale and sickly from undergoing genetic treatment? Nope! Seriously, Zao looks like a sparkly version of Powder (from the movie POWDER). 


You know, you can probably just take those out. They look like they're barely stuck in there.

Brosnan constantly looks embarrassed throughout the entire 2+ hour runtime, not just for how clearly dumb and poorly thought out DIE ANOTHER DAY is, but for some of the truly terrible things he's forced to say. And nothing is worse than his chemistry and banter with Oscar-winner Halle Berry, who's easy on the eyes but painful on the everything else as Bond girl Jinx. The writers don't even bother to explain her presence in the movie, just saying she's an NSA agent and letting her character do whatever they feel like, including murdering random doctors and blowing up their offices. Berry actually won her Academy Award during filming, though you wouldn't know it from her wooden, unnatural performance. Though I don't know if even Meryl Streep could do anything with pre-coital dialogue like this:

"So what do predators do when the sun goes down?"
"They feast…like there's no tomorrow."


Some fans still haven't forgotten about CATWOMAN.

If you were at least hoping for some decent action sequences…no, I'm sorry. Lee Tamahori, who started out his career promisingly with movies like MULHOLLAND FALLS and THE EDGE, but went on to make this and XXX: STATE OF THE UNION, seemingly forgets how to craft any sort of believable thrills or excitement. (His ALONG CAME A SPIDER contains perhaps the worst car crash ever in cinematic history, and Tamahori uses similarly bad CGI with his Bond movie.) There's an overabundance of random gadgets/technology and cool locations (Iceland, Cuba), but nobody came up with any good ideas on how to use them. 


Chuck Lo Pan only had half of his father's genetics, but all of his spirit.

Bond has an invisible Aston Martin this time around, but it spends almost all of its screentime just sitting there. When there finally is a car chase on a frozen lake (which sounds promising), the invisibility shield immediately breaks down and the chase moves inside an ice hotel where the two cars impossibly drive through the entire building up to the top floor. There's also a giant space laser that harnesses the power of the sun (and is controlled by the villain's souped-up Power Glove with a Logitech trackball), but its mostly used in boring, unpopulated areas to little destruction. However, if you remember anything about DIE ANOTHER DAY, it's probably the godawful scene where Bond escapes a melting glacier tsunami by kitesurfing it. With some of the worst computer graphics ever, this truly feels like a sequence that belongs in a SyFy Channel movie rather than a big budget Hollywood blockbuster.


Ironically, an afternoon at Chipotle before being captured meant Halle was the one doing the torturing.

Of course Bond wins in the end and makes off with the girl…but not before one final surprise. In perhaps the least sexy moment in the entire franchise, DIE ANOTHER DAY ends with James Bond sensually putting stolen blood diamonds inside his lover's belly button, while the two engage in a double-entendre conversation that would've been rejected by Three's Company:

Jinx: Wait, don't pull it out. I'm not finished with it yet.
Bond:  See? It's a perfect fit.
Jinx:  Uh-huh. Leave it in.
Bond:  It's got to come out sooner or later.
Jinx:  No, leave it in, please. A few more minutes?

And that brings a close to Brosnan's career as 007. Poor Pierce Brosnan.


Legend has it that if you count her rings, you can actually tell Madonna's real age.

A collection of the biggest groaners, from bad Brosnan puns to the painful verbal foreplay between Jinx and Bond.

Some of the most ridiculous action sequences, including para-surfing a glacier tsunami, an icy car chase, and the glorious catfight between Halle Berry and Rosamund Pike.

Nada. Rent SWORDFISH if you must. 


At least there's no Denise Richards! Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • Something happens that's unlikely due to the laws of physics
  • Someone says an eye-rolling one-liner
  • The movie moves to a different country
  • There's unnecessary slow motion
  • Someone gets electrocuted
  • James Bond swims in freezing water without any protection 

Double shot if:

  • James Bond says "Bond, James Bond"
  • Someone actually says the title of the movie

 

Thanks to Farzad for suggesting this week's movie!

 

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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6:52PM on 11/04/2015
Mum and i watched this when it first hit the cinema and again on tape.Loved it.Watched it again years later and it`s bloody awful.Snow,ice palace section kills this movie.
Mum and i watched this when it first hit the cinema and again on tape.Loved it.Watched it again years later and it`s bloody awful.Snow,ice palace section kills this movie.
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5:46PM on 11/04/2015
is devoid of anything fun"- were you guys asleep when Bond was parasailling over the waves of icebergs? This is an awesome movie.
is devoid of anything fun"- were you guys asleep when Bond was parasailling over the waves of icebergs? This is an awesome movie.
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+2
5:23PM on 11/04/2015
I regard the Everything or Nothing PS2 game as Brosnan's last outing, as it's far superior than this movie.
I regard the Everything or Nothing PS2 game as Brosnan's last outing, as it's far superior than this movie.
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+0
3:13PM on 11/04/2015
For as bad as it might be, I was actually quite entertained by this one. I always liked Pierce's Bond, and I enjoyed the action in this film. It was certainly a heck of a lot better than the previous two. Though, even with the worst the Bond franchise has to offer, I typically find myself entertained.
For as bad as it might be, I was actually quite entertained by this one. I always liked Pierce's Bond, and I enjoyed the action in this film. It was certainly a heck of a lot better than the previous two. Though, even with the worst the Bond franchise has to offer, I typically find myself entertained.
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2:36PM on 11/04/2015
The worst of it is that it was the anniversary Bond (20Th)... It should have been the Bond to end all Bonds...
What a wasted opportunity !
The worst of it is that it was the anniversary Bond (20Th)... It should have been the Bond to end all Bonds...
What a wasted opportunity !
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+1
2:35PM on 11/04/2015
This movie is garbage.
This movie is garbage.
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1:49PM on 11/04/2015
I don't get the hate for this film. I quite actually enjoy watching it.
I don't get the hate for this film. I quite actually enjoy watching it.
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-3
1:24PM on 11/04/2015

1/10 (could've been 0).

By the way, I don't hate Madonna's song. It doesn't work as a 007 theme, but it's catchy as a stand-alone tune.
By the way, I don't hate Madonna's song. It doesn't work as a 007 theme, but it's catchy as a stand-alone tune.
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1:20PM on 11/04/2015
I believe the opening torture scene is one Brosnan fought to keep in, which was probably the only believable and good part of the film. The rest felt soo over the top. Definitely one of the worst Bond films.
I believe the opening torture scene is one Brosnan fought to keep in, which was probably the only believable and good part of the film. The rest felt soo over the top. Definitely one of the worst Bond films.
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4:13PM on 11/04/2015
I've always felt that was one of the worst parts of the film. Bad as it is the movie feels like Bond. Being held as a prisoner of war for an extended period just doesn't suit the character at all. Now does having him go up against North Koreans either.
I've always felt that was one of the worst parts of the film. Bad as it is the movie feels like Bond. Being held as a prisoner of war for an extended period just doesn't suit the character at all. Now does having him go up against North Koreans either.
12:13PM on 11/04/2015

SO Glad You guys finally did this one!

This is one of the most entertainingly awful films I have ever seen (it ranks up there with Legion, Batman and Robin, and Face-Off). It's undoubtedly the worst Bond film ever made but it's actually one of the more entertaining ones. It's also what my 8 year old self pictured a Bond film would be like upon first being introduced to the series.

Some scenes are just so awesomely stupid (wind surfing down a tidal wave, the car fight through the ice palace). Despite it's awfulness this is one
This is one of the most entertainingly awful films I have ever seen (it ranks up there with Legion, Batman and Robin, and Face-Off). It's undoubtedly the worst Bond film ever made but it's actually one of the more entertaining ones. It's also what my 8 year old self pictured a Bond film would be like upon first being introduced to the series.

Some scenes are just so awesomely stupid (wind surfing down a tidal wave, the car fight through the ice palace). Despite it's awfulness this is one of the few Bond films I'll pretty much always watch If its on.

Also always though Brosnan had a pretty decent run on Bond. This one was awful and I've never been much of a fan of Goldeneye but Tomorrow Never Dies and World is not Enough both had some great stuff in them (say what you will about Denise Richards she was hot as hell).
Also though Brosnan had a decent run on Bond
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11:25AM on 11/04/2015
It's actually an enjoyable James Bond film despite abysmal theme song and some over the top action scenes, i.e. James Bond surfing the Tsunami wave.
It's actually an enjoyable James Bond film despite abysmal theme song and some over the top action scenes, i.e. James Bond surfing the Tsunami wave.
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