Projections - Movie Reviews

Die Another Day

Die Another Day

For the 20th James Bond film, there have been a few changes: a stronger female role and a captured Bond to name a few.

Pierce Brosnan returns for the fourth time as the debonair super spy.  The opening sequence has Bond in North Korea trading diamonds for weapons with an evil arms dealer.  But, before the credits roll (Madonna sings the opening title song) Bond's cover is blown and he's captured after a terrific chase scene involving hovercraft careening over acres of land mines.

In a North Korean prison, he's beaten and tortured with scorpion injections by his captors.  He emerges months later with shoulder length hair, a straggly beard and tattered clothing.  But, before he can order up a drink, he's shaven, showered, expensively clothed and ready to go after the bad guys again.

The action moves to Havana where Bond first eyes the sexy, bikini-clad Jinx (Halle Berry) as she saunters out of the surf, ala Ursula Andress in Dr. No.  Jinx, an American spy in her own right, is like no other Bond girl.  She's smart, tough and can throw a knife with the best of them.  So much so, that the studio hopes to produce a "Jinx" inspired sequel.

Bond meets up with Gustav Graves, a British mogul who thrives on danger, winning and (what else?) world domination.  One of the best scenes has Bond and Graves (Toby Stephens) engaged in a rip-roaring slash and dash sword fight up and down the posh club, destroying everything in their path.

Bond and Jinx follow Graves to Iceland where a huge hotel has been constructed to hold his guest.  Graves has control of a satellite reflector hidden in the ice castle, and Bond is hell-bent on stopping him before he can destroy the world.

The ice structure is a spectacular setting for Bond and his nemesis' final encounter.  The film has the usual eye-popping stunts, however the chase scene through the hotel with Bond driving his gadget-laden car through the slippery surface before it dissolves into a pile of slush beneath him may be the best.

Judi Dench returns as the sober M, as does Samantha Bond as the lovesick Moneypenny and John Cleese as the ingenious inventor Q.

Brosnan has matured into a believably dashing Bond and the addition of Berry playing the role of an accomplished woman on her own, gives the film a modern feel.  Yet, New Zealander director Lee Tamahori (Along Came a Spider) still keeps all the action, unbelievable stunts, fascinating villains, wonderful gadgets and beautiful girls, that Bond fans have come to expect and love over the last forty years.

 
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Chris
Tony
Jim
Howard
Jennifer
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Die Another Day
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B+
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