Take 2: Die Another Day
"James Bond. You think he was some kind of hero."
Brosnan returns for one final run as Bond in the twentieth film of the series. Hard to believe we’ve ploughed through 40 years of these now. The producers must have felt the same; this is a reference-laden film (there’s a throw-back to every previous episode, apparently).
Bond is sent to North Korea to blow up a weapons depot but gets caught as a result of a betrayal from a mole. 14 months later he is released and sets about trying to find out who did it. The plot thickens and as usual his investigation takes him all over the world.
Things open in a slightly different manner, there’s the usual pre-music action scenes but then the title sequence is used to further the plot rather than just being an abstract series of images. It’s clever and, despite a poor choice of song, innovative.
The next 90 minutes or so proceed to be ‘classic Bond’. The scenes in Cuba are fun and exotic. Bond meets his NSA counterpart Jinx, played by Halle Berry, and despite their very odd dialogue they have some memorable chemistry on screen. He also encounters old contacts along the way; the whole sequence feels like a throwback to the films of the 60s when he actually used to be a spy.
Things then take a steep nose dive as we get to invisible cars, ice palaces, solar death rays (used to melt the palace of course) and layer upon layer of entirely CG images. There’s also an element of face-changing which is the worst part of the Mission Impossible franchise, never mind James Bond. It gets really silly and really boring.
Brosnan is visibly enjoying himself though, and it’s very entertaining. The dialogue in this film is excruciatingly poor but he manages to sneak in lots of little mannerisms and affectations to just about make it all work. There are times when what he is saying makes literally no sense, and you can see him struggle to try and make it all seem normal. Same goes with Halle Berry, who sizzles on screen but if you close your eyes, her character is just talking bollocks.
Rosamund Pike is fine but suffers more from the shit script. Her character is literally called ‘Frost’ and guess what, she’s cold towards Bond. Not exactly much to work with. Toby Stephens plays a good villain and is genuinely loathsome in a rich public school kid way.
There’s a lot to like about Die Another Day but sadly there’s just too much to hate. It’s a decent enough final film for Brosnan overall, but not a good final 60 minutes.