James Bond: 'Die Another Day'
You know a movie is going to be a huge property when it manages to attract the ire of world governments. The governments of North and South Korea have already condemned the film for its' negative stereotype of Korean nationals. Other world leaders have rebuffed the film for it's depiction of Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry who 'get it on' in a Buddhist temple. Controversy means box office.
Some how those who manage the Bond franchise are able to invent a movie experience that exceeds the previous installment every time. This actioner is literally non-stop. Remarkable stunts, gorgeous babes, cool gadgetry and of course more than a few of the pithy double entendres we have come to expect from the worlds greatest secret agent. For all the bravado and through all 20 Bond movies we never have heard the same four letter words that seem to propel so many other film adventures.
This latest installment takes Bond from the Korean de-militarized zone to Havana, Cuba and then on to Iceland and a pretty 'cool' looking ice palace. This is something of a dark film for Bond in that he is betrayed, captured, tortured and abandoned even having his 'double-o' status revoked. These shoots must be very difficult for 49 year old actor Pierce Brosnan whose role requires a great deal of physicality. Bond smokes a Cuban cigar while in Havana. It has been many years since Bond smoked on screen. Halle Berry as 'Jinx' (born on Friday the 13th) is every bit as adorable as one might expect and lethal as well. Naturally there is a bit of gratuitous boning; James always gets the good girl but seldom enjoys the bad girl as well.
This plot involves illegal diamond smuggling and a pair of ruthless Koreans bent on uniting the North and the South under their own auspices. The opening action sequence has Bond surfing up to the shore and saving his skin by obliterating a terrorist camp before being captured. Mr. Bond escapes from the prison hospital by feigning an emergency (he stops his heart). Deprived of British support he sets out to avenge himself and to find the traitor. We meet a nasty looking antagonist with studs imbedded in his face from a previous encounter with 007. Calling in a few favors he winds up in Havana and discovers a DNA replacement lab.
There are a number of harrowing fight scenes. Bond films have become famous for that one understated 'middle' action sequence! In 'Die Another Day' that scene is an old fashioned sword fight. Madonna makes an appearance as a fencing instructor. She also performs the theme music. Her affiliation with the Bond franchise is certainly antithetic to her 'Blonde Ambition'/girls empowered career and presents her as something of a good sport.
Every Bond movie is be-jeweled with the finest and most exotic manufactures our society has produced. Naturally this film is replete with high-tech special effects. An invisible Aston Martin Vanquish, an electric body suit, a jet powered ice craft, and a satellite capable of focusing the suns energy are just a few of the many examples.
This movie is certain to place enhanced value on an already lucrative franchise. Brosnan made several remarks on Larry King 'Live' indicating that he has already agreed to appear as Bond in the next installment. At our showing there were a full 30 minutes of previews. The film itself runs some 123 minutes making for a pretty lengthy visit to the cinema. It is certain to earn millions at the box office and then to sell millions of copies when it is released on DVD!