Bond: Die Another Day
THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH was yet another smash hit for the Bond franchise- but the film was heavily criticized when it came out, due to the fact that it was clearly a by-the-numbers outing that did not possess much imagination. Obviously, theyíd have to take some risks with the next film, which would the twentieth Bond outing, and was timed to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of the first Bond film- DR. NO.
PLOT: After a mission goes wrong, Bond ends up captured by the North Koreans. Months later- heís released as part of a prisoner exchange, and he sets out to discover who set him up.
REVIEW: Ah- the must maligned DIE ANOTHER DAY. I remember when this film came out six years ago. The funny thing is- most people actually liked it at the time. Halle Berry had just won an Oscar for MONSTERíS BALL- and her performance as Jinx was so widely praised that for a while it really looked like sheíd be getting her own spin off. Heck- I even wrote a rave review of it for my University newspaper.
Reading that review now- I must have been out of my mind, as this film is a total piece of crap, and how I didnít see that back in the day speaks to the fact that I cannot always be objective about Bond.
What makes this film so damn infuriating is the fact that the first forty minutes of the film are amazing. All of the stuff in North Korea is gold, and when the action shifts to Cuba, it remains a top notch film- but once Bond hits London (around the time Madonna makes a lame cameo as a fencing instructor), the film becomes a total waste of time that probably would have killed the franchise if anyone other than the ever-popular Brosnan was playing Bond. As bad as the London segment is- itís nothing compared to how wretched the film becomes once the action moves to Iceland, where we get an invisible car for Bond, and some hilariously bad CGI stunts. If thatís not bad enough- the director, Lee Tamahori, tries to arty the film up by putting in slow-mo, and some GLADIATOR style chanting on the soundtrack. Tamahori- who directed one of the best films of the nineties- ONCE WERE WARRIORS, really didnít know what he was doing here, and proved just how badly the series was in need of a competent action director.
I canít fault Pierce Brosnan for this one, as he obviously gives it his all. His earlier scenes in Korea are amazing, but once the film gets really outlandish- he starts playing it in his typical tongue in cheek style, which I suppose was inevitable as they have him driving around in an f***ing invisible car! Itís too bad this was his last Bond, as he deserved to go out on a much higher note. Donít feel too bad for Brosnan though- three years after this film, he was in THE MATADOR, which I think is the best role heís ever had.
Halle Berry as CIA agent Jinx, is definitely a step up from Denise Richards- but she was the same problem as Michelle Yeoh- in that sheís simply too powerful a presence to be a Bond girl, and could have easily steered a film of her own. Iíve always had a soft spot for Berry, as I think sheís one of the most beautiful women in the world- but they should never have big stars like her play Bond girls, as they distract from Bond himself- who should ALWAYS be the filmís anchor.
BOND MUSIC: David Arnold is back with a thoroughly mediocre score this time out- although I enjoyed some of the cues from earlier Bond films that made it into the score. Most people tend to loathe the theme song by Madonna, but I think itís alright- although nothing extraordinary.
BODY COUNT: Brosnan takes out at least 36 baddies in this which- proving once again that Brosnan probably killed more baddies as Bond than anyone else in the series.
NUMBER OF WOMEN BOND SLEEPS WITH: Only two- but considering he spends the first part of the film in a jail cell in North Korea, thatís not bad.
BEST ONE- LINER: After meeting a man named Mr. Kil- ďnow thatís a name to die for!Ē
BEST DOUBLE ENTENDRE: This one goes to Madonna- as fencing instructor Verity, who doesnít approve of a duel between Graves & Bond. Asked if she wantís to place a bet, she responds: ďNo thanks, I donít like cock fightsĒ.
BEST GADGET: : The invisible car is beyond stupid, but if such a thing existed I could see how it might come in handy..
RECEPTION: DIE ANOTHER DAY was an even bigger smash than THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH- pulling in $160 million in the U.S, for a $432 million total worldwide- breaking yet more franchise records. Say what you will about Brosnan- but people flocked to his films.
GRADE: 5/10- unbelievably stupid at times, but saved by a great first half hour.
Previous reviews: DR. NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE , GOLDFINGER, THUNDERBALL, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER , LIVE AND LET DIE, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, MOONRAKER, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, OCTOPUSSY, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN, A VIEW TO A KILL, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, LICENCE TO KILL, GOLDENEYE, TOMORROW NEVER DIES, THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH