Die Another Day
Forty years after the first Bond movie splashed across movie screens, the 007 franchise continues to rework its tried and tested formula of flying bullets, big explosions, fast cars and a handsome, self-assured hero who unabashedly bed hops.
In the twentieth film installment, Die Another Day, James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) assumes the guise of an arms dealer carrying a suitcase packed with diamonds to exchange for weapons. Under this cover, he infiltrates a demilitarized zone between North and South Korea with orders to kill. But despite the archaic look of the camp, the commando's modern gadgets blow the British assassin's cover and leave him locked up in stone cell for 14 months. Brutally beaten and routinely tortured (though obviously well fed considering the little tummy we see), Bond discovers upon his release that an unknown informant has sullied his name.
Dogged in his desire to restore his honor, he triggers a continent-hopping search for the mole that eventually leads him to a secluded fortress built entirely of ice on a frozen lake. There he finds himself in the company of a sleep-deprived radical, Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens) and his right hand man Zao (Rick Yune) who are plotting to establish military control with the use of a gigantic satellite.
In usual Bond fashion, beautiful women seem to ooze from thin air, fully loaded and ready for action leaving plenty of openings for sexual depictions and innuendo. Reminiscent of the white bikini in Dr. No, Jinx (Halle Berry) surfaces in a coral colored swimsuit that does plenty to catch Bond's attention while the frosty Miranda (Rosamund Pike) needs a little applied heat to melt her chilly persona.
With enough fire-generating explosions, lethal lasers and gunfire to thaw a polar ice cap, the plot predicaments never fluster the ever-resourceful agent who manages to keep his oh-so-cool aura in the face of impending disaster. But the chase scenes starring the return of the Aston Martin may be a disappointment, featuring more shooting than stellar steering. However, most Bond buffs will overlook this flaw in a film that has all the action, violence and sex of its forerunners but still misfires in this family entertainment road test.