The World Is Not Enough
Pointing his gun directly at the villain's head, Bond (Pierce Brosnan) calmly says, "I don't like to shoot a man in cold blood." Was that a cue for us to laugh?
Not that I find murder particularly funny, but after having watched Bond mow down an endless litany of extras, it seemed ironic that the only man he cannot kill is the evil Renard (Robert Carlyle). This terrorist is trying to create havoc for the oil industry by turning a nuclear submarine into a bomb and blowing up a pipeline. Renard is also interfering with Bond's love life, this time the beautiful but fiercely independent Elektra (Sophie Marceau).
When I say Brosnan is getting better in his role as Bond, I'm speaking strictly from a performance point of view. This being his third Bond film, he's clearly mastered the ability to shoot without a conscience, seduce without sincerity, and throw out sexual one-liners with the raise of an eyebrow, putting him in the same league as prior Bonds. Unfortunately, though, as I watch half-naked women being used as bait and observe these overdone typecast roles of sexually aggressive females trying to fulfill every man's desire, I wonder why we haven't outgrown this premise.
Probably because we still view Bond as pure escapism -- a harmless entertaining activity where we can dream about being secret agents and sexual dynamos. A world where people don't bleed when they're shot and STD's could be mistaken as a performance fuel additive for your sports car.
Harmless? I watched as Bond chased another villain through scene after scene. Now she's in the bedroom, seductively telling him that he can never kill a woman he's made love to. Bond begins to waffle. Meanwhile, the guy sitting behind me who has been making rude remarks from the opening credits (featuring the usual Bond girls -- this time naked but covered in crude oil) can't take it anymore... "C'mon! Just kill the *!#*$% girl!" he shouts.
It's only Bond.