Countdown to Skyfall: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Countdown to Skyfall: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

TOMORROW NEVER DIES (1997)

BOND: Pierce Brosnan

DIRECTOR: Roger Spottiswoode (Turner & Hooch, The 6th Day)

BOND GIRL(S): Teri Hatcher (Paris Carver); Michelle Yeoh (Wai Lin)

COOL GADGETS: The coolest is the mobile phone that Bond uses to remote control drive his vehicle.

THEME SONG: "Tomorrow Never Dies," sung by Sheryl Crow.  A good song, but Crow might not have been the best choice to sing it.  Her voice lacks the bombast that the song requires.

IMDB PLOT SUMMARY: James Bond heads to stop a media mogul's plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage.

ICONIC MOMENTS: The highlight of the film is an exciting car chase in a garage, with Bond driving in the back seat via remote control.

FUN FACTS: Anthony Hopkins was cast as bad guy Elliott Carver (played by Jonathan Pryce in the film), but walked after 3 days because there was no completed shooting script.

VERDICT: The plot is kind of ridiculous, but for once, it's relatively straightforward and easy to follow, which is atypical for most Bond films.  Brosnan is a joy to watch here, and screenwriter Bruce Fierstein keeps the dialogue cracking in some early scenes between Bond and M.  Pryce makes for a pretty wimpy bad guy, so the big threat is an anonymous blond henchman (another Bond series staple, harkening back to Red Grant in From Russia with Love).  This is one of the more action-packed entries, and the movie is swift and consistently entertaining.  The pacing never lags, and with a running time of 119 mins, Tomorrow Never Dies is about 10-15 minutes shorter than other Bond films - a welcome distinction.  Michelle Yeoh is one of the better Bond girls, mostly because she can kick more ass than Brosnan can.   The two have good repartee, and get to engage in some pretty clever stuntwork, handcuffed together while riding a motorcycle and dodging the downward-faced propellers of a helicopter.  If anything, the movie is worth a look for that awesome car chase through the parking garage.

GRADE: B+

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