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Bams' review of
Die Another Day


Die Another Day (2002)
Rated PG-13; running time 120 minutes
Studio: MGM
Genre: Action
Seen at: Celebration Cinema (Lansing, Michigan)
Official site:
IMDB site:
Written by: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade
Directed by: Lee Tamahori
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune, Will Yun Lee, Judi Dench, Samantha Bond, John Cleese, Michael Madsen, Lawrence Makoare, Colin Salmon, Madonna

Review Copyright Rose Cooper, 2002

(click here to skip to this movie's rating)

Remember back in my The World Is Not Enough review, when I said someone should tell the 007 Powers That Be that actually, it IS enough? Well, I'm glad they didn't listen - because Die Another Day is the best James Bond flick I've seen in a long time. And for a non-Bond Chick like me, that's saying something.

THE STORY (WARNING: **spoilers contained below**)
James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) infiltrates a weapons-for-diamonds ring on the wrong side of the Korean DMZ, killing North Korean Colonel Moon (Will Yun Lee) and maiming his top gun, Zao (Rick Yune) in a freak accident that left Zao's face littered with diamonds. But Bond doesn't escape scott-free, though after fourteen months of confinement, he is exchanged in a deal between North and South Korea, for Zao himself.

Even then, though, Bond isn't quite free. He finds that he's been scandalized by someone while he was incarcerated, disowned by his boss M (Judi Dench), sneered at by gadgeteer Q (John Cleese), and made out to be a traitor to the Crown Of England. Needing to clear his name (not to mention exact a measure of revenge, Bond decides to go after Zao on his own. Along the way, he crosses paths with the beautiful and mysterious Jinx (Halle Berry), the cold and aptly-named Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike), and the adventurous entrepreneur Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens) - none of whom are what they originally appear to be.

Die Another Day ostensibly starts out like most other Bond flicks - with Our Man James doing something Heroic - but even before the end of the opening credits, you see something you've rarely seen before in a 007 film: James Bond getting his ass kicked. That, in a warped way, is A Good Thing.

Good, because at least for awhile, it brings a level of realism to this 40-year-old institution that it has rarely seen before. And that's not all that's kind of different in this twentieth installment in the James Bond series. While no one could ever accuse Bond of being Sensitive, there is a mild vulnerability, even somewhat of a neediness, in Brosnan's Bond that would have never appeared when Sean Connery ruled the roost. It was this vulnerability that allowed Halle Berry's Jinx to actually make a dent in the Bond armor; while Jinx still played the Damsel In Distress at times, she was more of a match for Bond - kick ass-wise, that is - than most of the other Bond Girls to date. Maybe this is why Berry was asked to continue the Jinx character in her own, non-Bond movie; good on her, I say.

Of course, Die Another Day had more than its fair share of waaaay the hell out there moments. These could be fun - like the kickass opening scenes mentioned above, the funny scene with Moneypenny (Samantha Bond), and the loud bangboomcrash atmosphere in general - or, they could be just plain goofy, like the "invisible" Aston Martin. Ok, who's been hittin' the wacky tabaccy again? And of course, there's the patented Bond double entendres and bad puns ("saved by the bell!", har har) that make a Bond Flick, a Bond Flick.

Not to say that I didn't have Issues with even this Bond flick. Top on my list was the Obligatory Warm Place To Put It. No, not Jinx; she was a given (though I loved that she was the one who left him looking for her). I'll leave the exercise up to the reader over who was the ObWarmPlace; I'll just say I was deeply disappointed that, once again, not a single woman could be left unswayed by Bond's charms [hmmm...has he bedded down M yet?]. Without spoiling the story too much, there was a HUGE, nearly insurmountable plot hole having to do with the mere existence of "Icarus" that made me want to bite somebody. And yes, I know it's a Bond Flick, which means that there just has to be many over-the-top stunts; but could they make windsurfing (after one dangled for what seemed like an infinity over the sheer side of a cliff) look any less realistic? Indeed, the longer the movie ran, the more tedious it became. And, oh yeah, let's not forget Madonna. Her weird title song was only surpassed by her weird cameo. If I said "she looked hit", would I get an amen?

Still, I walked out of Die Another Day reasonably entertained, with praise on my lips for Brosnan and Berry, and for the subtle (and not-so-subtle) nods to the institution that is James Bond, 007. I'd see it again, even if only as a matinee. Like I said before, that's saying something.

Die Another Day is supposedly Pierce Brosnan's last flick as 007. While on the one hand I'll be sorry to see him go, on the other, it's good that he goes out on top like, no pun intended. As for me, I'll be looking to see if the rumored followup "Jinx" movie, has me cheering for Halle Berry, or groaning that once was more than enough.


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And that's the way I see it.

Rose "Bams" Cooper
3BlackChicks Review™
Copyright Rose Cooper, 2002
EMAIL:    ICQ: 7760005

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More 3BlackChicks™ review(s) for this week:
(movies reviewed week of 11/22/02):
Bams' reviews:
Die Another Day | The Emperor's Club | Glengarry Glen Ross (DVD)

The Diva's reviews:
Die Another Day | Friday After Next

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