Yes, James Bond is back. And illogical, serpentine plotting is back with him.
Our story begins with James foiling a stealthy weapons trade or something between some North Korean guys in uniforms. And what are the sneaky secret weapons? Hovercrafts! Cleverly designed to float right over all those nasty landmines on the DMZ. Trouble is, they can’t seem to float in a straight line. Look out, here it comes! Should I run or should I watch as the hovercraft swerves side to side until it wafts wide to my right? South Korea needs one stiff breeze and the war is won.
Also present on the scene is a fleet of hot cars. Now what’s a fleet of dope hoopties doing in the middle of a Korean arms trade? Are they carrying the dogs for lunch?
Naturally Bond-man Pierce Brosnan boards a hovercraft and starts shooting the living daylights out of all the Octopussies in sight.
Do you have any idea how long it takes to say “That will teach you to lecture me!” in Korean? I didn’t either, until I watched dust gather on the subtitle as it perched over the bad guy’s chest like so much optical bling-bling.
Cut to the usual harem of evidently naked, shapely women dancing not only over Madonna’s theme song, but also over images of Bond’s torture at the hands of the North Koreans. Splash, James’ head is in the water; Bam, he’s hit upside the head; Slam goes the cell door. Now everybody dance to the beat.
Speaking of torture, Madonna – never content to finish a song and call it a day – appears in a cameo as a fencing instructor. It’s a performance so flat you could serve Thanksgiving dinner on it.
So James is in a dank cell for 14 months, where he grows a bushy thicket of facial hair, transforming into Michael Landon, 007. “Joe, Little Joe.”
Once free, Bond’s “double-oh” status is rescinded. Now, he’s a rogue agent and no longer simply a rogue. Interesting twist, huh? Sadly, it’s downhill all the way from there. Even for a James Bond movie, Die Another Day is dumber than a rock. Flashy and insubstantial, it’s like a day in the life of Tara Reid.
Out of the ocean rises a busty “Berry, Halle Berry” – in a state of near Ursula Undress. Halle is “Jinx,” short for “Gee, what a Minx,” or is it “Gee, this movie stinks”? Maybe “Gee, I left my dishes in the sinks”?
The foreplay between Halle and Pierce is even briefer than a Drew Barrymore marriage. “Wow, that’s a mouthful!” exclaims Halle, as she aims her peepers at Pierce’s Thunderballs. Subtle like a kick in the head. Seconds later, Bond rakes Halle’s moons.
Halle quickly becomes Robin to Bond’s Batman. And Die Another Day turns into Spy Kids without the kids.
Oops! Halle is captured and is in danger of being cut by a laser. Who wants sliced Berry when you can have it whole?
The evil Koreans are into gene replacement therapy – you heard me right. That means you wire yourself up to a transparent mask with spaghetti streaming out of it and you slowly morph into somebody else. In this case, the Korean baddie becomes a Richard Branson-esque British industrialist with interests in diamonds and world domination, but not necessarily in that order.
The Korean/Brit then devises a powerful weapon called “Icarus,” which is a giant Jiffy Pop bag in outer space capable of turning the sun into a weapon – and not because giant popcorn kernels tumble to Earth. Just remember, suns don’t kill people, people do. This marks the first time any super-criminal has harnessed solar power to kill Bond. If only Q had provided some SPF 30!
Says the monomaniacal Korean/Brit dude: “The West will shake with fear.” Shake with laughter is more like it.
I love it when a movie proudly flaunts some bad CGI. Here, Bond surfs over a tidal wave in a scene so full of digital chicanery, I wondered if the projector was swapped for an X-Box. “What are you doing here?” Bond shouted, as Daffy Duck paddled by in an inner-tube.
One Korean thug has diamonds actually embedded in his face. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but they’re a cosmetologists worst nightmare. I’d recommend a nice facial scrub, my thuggish friend.
To appreciate Die Another Day you need to suspend more than disbelief. You need to suspend disbelief over a hotel balcony with a sheet on its head.
Like too many Bond films, this one will leave you shaken, but not stirred.
Photos Copyright ©2002 MGM