Countdown to Skyfall: Die Another Day (2002)

Countdown to Skyfall: Die Another Day (2002)

DIE ANOTHER DAY (2002)

BOND: Pierce Brosnan

DIRECTOR: Lee Tamahori (XXX: State of the Union, Along Came A Spider)

BOND GIRL(S): Halle Berry (Jinx); Rosamund Pike (Miranda Frost)

COOL GADGETS: Invisible car; ring that instantly breaks glass.

THEME SONG: "Die Another Day," sung by Madonna.  Electronica-disco nonsense.

IMDB PLOT SUMMARY: James Bond is sent to investigate the connection between a North Korean terrorist and a diamond mogul who is funding the development of an international space weapon.

ICONIC MOMENTS: The scene in Q's (John Cleese) lab is like a Where's Waldo of classic Bond gadgets: the rocket pack from Thunderball; the crocodile boat; the shoe knife in From Russia with Love, and more.  Get your pause button ready.

FUN FACTS: The opening gun barrel sequence includes a bullet zooming by the camera, which had never been done before.  Halle Berry is the first post-Oscar winner to tackle a Bond girl role

VERDICT: The Brosnan Bonds had been steadily creeping toward the cartoonish, but Die Another Day takes the series way past the breaking point in terms of its utter ridiculousness.  The pre-credits sequence is promising enough, but as soon as Madonna's mess of a title song starts, the movie starts losing steam.  The first half is generic and rather dull, despite the presence of Halle Berry, fresh off her Best Actress win for Monster's Ball.  Based on her work here, that Oscar should probably be revoked.  Her Jinx character is meant to be the female version of Bond, but Berry isn't up to the task of playing her.  It's like watching a little girl play dress-up.  Brosnan seems tired of the role by now, and almost reluctant to act out all of the ludicrous scenarios that occupy the second half of the movie.  Seriously, how much can audience take?  There's the way over-the-top sword fight.  Then an ice castle, invisible car chase, space weapon that harnesses the power of the sun, parasailing/surfing action set piece that's heavily reliant on cheesy CGI, and, finally, a helicopter that starts up while falling from a plane.  It's all just too too much.  The film equivalent of jumping the shark.

GRADE: C

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