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Die Another Day
3 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Lee Tamahori

Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rick Yune, Judi Dench, John Cleese, Michael Madsen, Will Yun Lee, Rosamund Pike, Rosamund Pike, Will Yun Lee

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Die Another Day (2002)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
December 22nd, 2010

'Die Another Day' marked Pierce Brosnan's fourth and final appearance as James Bond, but he most definitely goes out with a bang. This is probably the most action-packed Bond movie of them all. It begins with Bond landing in North Korea, where he poses as a smuggler of African conflict diamonds. He has been sent to assassinate Colonel Moon (Will Yun Lee), the devious son of General Moon (Kenneth Tsang), who plans on attacking South Korea, by marching his army right through the DMZ, using hover tanks to float right over American landmines.

After an exhilarating hover tank chase that ends with Moon's apparent death, Bond is captured, imprisoned, and tortured by the North Koreans for 14 months. Upon release, he seeks vengeance against the psychotic terrorist Zao (Rick Yune), Moon's henchman, which sends Bond on a trip to Havana, where he visits a gene therapy clinic, and encounters the beautiful Jinx (Halle Berry), who emerges from the surf in a bathing suit, in a deliberate homage to Ursula Andress from Dr. No.

Jinx turns out to be an NSA agent, also on Zao's trail, and she and Bond become allies. Berry and Bond have terrific chemistry, and both can hurl naughty double entendres with gleeful enthusiasm. And, Jinx is certainly much more than a romantic interest, or a sexual conquest. She is tougher and smarter than most other Bond girls, but still needs to be rescued by James on a few occasions.

Entering the story later is Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens), who owns a diamond mine in Iceland, and whose real identity comes as no real surprise, since more than enough hints are dropped before it is finally revealed. Bond's initial meeting with Graves involves a fencing match that turns into a deadly, intense, and brilliantly staged sword fight. Graves has built an enormous space laser, which factors into one of the movie's most absurd and impossible sequences.

This is followed shortly thereafter by a spectacular car chase, with Bond in his camouflaged, fully-loaded Aston Martin, pursued by Zao across a frozen lake, and then through the melting interior of a hotel made completely out of ice. Brosnan is immensely charming, a suave, magnetic presence, deftly delivering one-liners, with more wit, style, and class than anyone since Sean Connery. Brosnan's take on 007 is second only to Connery's; when he retired from the role, I was genuinely saddened.

I am a big fan of Roger Moore, but Brosnan embodied all of Bond's most enduring traits, and very much looked the part. Judi Dench is superb as M; it is difficult to think of M from the Bernard Lee years, who until Goldeneye, and in Fleming's original work, was always a man. M's relationship with Bond here is very effectively portrayed; there is a strong sense of trust, and mutual respect. John Cleese steps into replace the late Desmond Llewelyn as Q, designer and supplier of all Bond's fancy toys. That playful rhetoric between them remains unchanged, but Llewelyn is deeply missed, and the franchise just doesn't quite seem the same. Yune makes a worthy adversary, and Stephens is appropriately megalomaniacal and over-the-top as Graves.

Rosamund Pike is wasted as Graves's appropriately named assistant Miranda Frost, another M16 agent with shady motives. In many ways, 'Die Another Day' pays tribute to the entire series, and incorporates elements of classic Connery, the outlandishness of the Moore era, and the grittiness of Dalton, while paving the way for Daniel Craig's debut in Casino Royale. Excellent techno-pop title song by Madonna, who has an unexpected cameo.

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