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A.J.'s Rating: 3 Icy Stars
Die Another Day
Directed By:  Lee Tomahori
Written By:  Neal Purvis / Robert Wade  (screenplay)  Ian Fleming  (original characters)
Starring:  Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune,
John Cleese, Judi Dench, Michael Madsen, Will Yun Lee, Samantha Bond
Rated:  PG-13 (action violence and sexuality)
Running Time:  132 Min.
     Bond... James Bond.  Once again, Ian Fleming's Master Spy returns to Die Another Day.  Pierce Brosnan makes his 4th appearance as the famous super-suave secret agent, and joining him is Oscar winner Halle Berry as the sultry American operative, Jinx.
   
    As with all the Bond films, fancy gadgets, incredible action sequences, and witty sexual double-entendre are to be expected, but this 20th outing puts some new spin on the old formula.  Can a villian actually outwit Britain's greatest spy?  Is the mysterious Jinx bringing 007 bad luck?  Could 007 really be 00-nothing?!  And what of the icy Miss Frost?  Is she truly Bond-proof?  Yes, in Die Another Day, another thing you can be sure to expect is the unexpected. 
   
    Also, in commemoration of this 40th anniversary of Bond on the big screen, you can be sure to see plenty of homage to 007's movie history.  Most notably, our first look at the lovely and dangerous Jinx.  And almost as notably, the welcome return of the Aston Martin automobile, complete with ejector-seat, machine guns, and rocket launchers.  It's quite a shame that through most of the film we don't even see it, but that still beats out the strictly token appearance of the classic DB5 in Goldeneye
        
    Since so many other recent films have had great fun at 007's expense, Die Another Day makes some not-so-subtle changes to help keep the Bond image alive.  For one thing, to stave off the franchise's rattling old age, pure action has replaced much of the espionage-oriented storytelling of the original adventures penned by Ian Fleming.  We wouldn't want today's thrill-happy  audiences to fall asleep, would we?  As a result, 007 rockets from one harrowing escape to another, with nary a chance for him to catch his breath.  Though, this doesn't bother the indestructable Bond very much, since he never seems to get tired, either.  As for the stunts, they are spectacular even though they suffer from some poor digital effects, including a digital James Bond!  Extremely bad form, gentlemen!  One of the best things about past 007 movies was that you knew that the majority of amazing stunts were actually performed by someone!  The death defying digital Bond was just pathetic.  Add to this director Tomahori's over reliance on the 'shaky-cam', and we're all flirting with action overkill. 
   
    Having said that, Die Another Day is actually not that bad.  There is some great humor between the explosions, and the fights and chases are thrilling, if ludicrous.  Also, John Cleese turns in a solid performance as the new 'Q'.  If you're already a Bond fan, you won't be disappointed.  In the world of Pierce  Brosnan's 007, this one is much better than Goldeneye, but it's no World is Not Enough.  Will James Bond return?  How could he not?!
   
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Review published
November 26, 2002
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40 YEARS OF 007