Die Another Day
release year: 2002
viewing setting: home Bluray, 2/3/19 and 1/1/13 and theater, 12/13/02
synopsis: James Bond, some allies, and some enemies tangle in a plot to unify Korea with military action.
impressions: Good solid entertainment with a few things I didn't care for. The good: stunts, chases, fights - especially the long, roving swordfight. The bad: worst Bond theme song ever, first major use of CGI, too-easily-forgiving Bond. If I endured over a year of torture and then came back and my boss and company had disowned me and accused me of all kinds of false things, I'd certainly never speak to them again. Noteworthy: capture and torture of Bond as prologue, steamy sex scene, subtle references to older Bond movies (Jinx walking out of the ocean, Q's room full of old gadgets used in the past, underwater breathing gadget.) There was also a quick scene of a book on ornithology, which is the book actually written by the real-life person who James Bond was named after.
things to watch for: When Bond challenges Gustav to a fencing duel. This is one of the most all-out, balls-to-the-wall swordfights I have ever seen.
acting: Pierce Brosnan almost sleepwalks through parts of his role, but he does shine in others. Halle Berry was a highly competent and deadly ally, definitely one of the strongest Bond girls ever. Rosamund Pike did a good job as Ms. Frost, and there were also strong villains, particularly Toby Stephens as the main villain and Rick Yune as his right-hand man.
chases: one hovercraft chase, one car chase on ice, one car chase inside ice palace, plus the swordfight should count as a chase
neat gadgets: spiffy Aston-Martin, laser watch
confirmed Bond kills: I couldn't keep count since this was seen in the theater, but there were a lot due to machine-gun involvement
confirmed Bond seductions: 2
obnoxious female name: Jinx, if you count that as obnoxious
defining Bond moments:
- after his debriefing makes him realize that "M" has written him off, he promptly escapes
- walks into nice Hong Kong hotel looking like a bum
- when choosing which patient to impersonate, he picks the rich asshole and knocks him out
- during escape in stolen jet-powered car, beats the bad guy's speed record
- casually shoots a chandelier to fall on top of a henchman
Chang: "It seems Mr. Zao has lost himself in Havana. If you find him, say goodbye from us."
Bond: "You know, you're cleverer than you look."
Q: "Hmm. Still, better than looking cleverer than you are."
final word: The way that Bond movies are made and executed is changing, and this is proof.
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