Review By Paul Mount, 3.5 out of 5

It’s beginning to look as if I’m not that much of a James Bond film after all. I got bored and frustrated with Roger Moore’s one-eyebrow performances, Timothy Dalton passed me by (you too?) and Brosnan’s first effort, GOLDENEYE, underwhelmed. However TOMORROW NEVER DIES kicked serious ass. A nice, linear story, great stunts and action pieces, quality direction. I saw it time and again in the cinema and even now I can while away a spare hour or two (yeah, like I get spare hours!) watching the DVD. But then there was THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH which stank. High hopes then for DIE ANOTHER DAY, the twentieth entry in the Bond series and the fortieth anniversary movie? Sigh. High hopes are so often dashedzp>

DIE ANOTHER DAY is significantly better than THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH. But it’s still not great. Why? Once again, the film has an obscure, hazy storyline. I’ve seen the film twice now and I’m still hard-pressed to find a few well-chosen words which sum it all up. It’s something to do with Bond’s grudge against a presumed-dead Korean bad guy who’s created the Icarus device, a light-creating machine which can save the world or destroy it. Or something. Bond and Jinx (Berry) end up on broad bad guy Gustav Graves’s (Stephens) plane slugging it out for survival and generally thwarting the baddy’s evil plan ?whatever it is. But where THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH has a lousy villain (Robert Carlylse in a leather jacket, hello?) at least Stephens’ character has some charm and menace, a reflection of the baddies of old if not exactly on a par with the genuine evil madmen like Goldfinger and Blofeld and the bloke from THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (I’m joking about the bloke from THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, obviously). So while the story is pants at least the action ?when it comes ?is worth a look. The pre-title teaser is classic Bond ?the hovercraft chase a refreshing change from the car chases of old ?and once the action shifts to Iceland there are chases and fights and battles galore which lift the film out of the apathy engendered by the uninspiring story. Brosnan is quite clearly thoroughly at ease with the character by now and obviously relishes those moments when we get to see our man doing something different. Just this once he doesn’t emerge triumphant from his pre-titles ordeal and he spends the credits sequence being tortured and generally humiliated by his captors. Brosnan likes to show Bond in pain too, I’ve noticed; he flinches and shouts out like a girl in some fight scenes and he’s happy to admit that he’s not so great in long-term relationships. He remains at odds both with M (Dench) and the new Q (Cleese) is as frustrated with Bond’s cavalier attitude to gadgetry as his much-missed predecessor Desmond Llewellyn ever was.

If you’re a die-hard Bond fan you’ll want DIE ANOTHER DAY on your shelf, if only for completeness. But I bet you won’t watch it more than twice.

THE DISC: Anyone who says they’ve got either the time or inclination to watch all the extras crammed onto the big releases these days is either a liar or someone with far too much time on their hands. DIE ANOTHER DAY has two commentary tracks (you’ll watch the film three times then,right?) and disc two has an obscene amount of making-of material which I’ve scarcely had time to dip into yet but reliable sources inform me it’ll tell you more than you healthily need to know about the making of any film, let alone this one. Also featured; Madonna’s video for the title song. I’m in the minority here; I love the song although I admit it doesn’t seem to sit well atop the title sequence images. I like Madonna.

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