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Laramie Movie Scope:
Die Another Day

Bond just keeps rolling along

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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December 8, 2002 -- The longest-running movie franchise in history (20 films over the last 40 years) keeps rolling along with the latest installment, "Die Another Day." This particular James Bond episode is a bit of a throwback to the earlier films in that Bond is a bit more of a rogue agent this time around. Bond has always been a bit of a loose cannon, but he is more so this time.

Bond, played well by Pierce Brosnan (his fourth appearance in the series as agent 007, Commander James Bond), is captured and discredited. The British Secret Service thinks he has divulged sensitive secrets to foreign agents after his capture. He must work outside the system to restore his good name. He strikes up some risky partnerships with other countries, including Red China, to help him in his quest to discover the truth. One of these uneasy partnerships is with a lovely foreign secret agent named Jinx (played by Halle Berry). Brosnan does a nice acting job in this film, and it is a more demanding role than most Bond roles.

One of neat things about Bond movies is all the cool gadgets. This one has a car which can be made invisible by use of adaptive camouflage, using an array of cameras and video screens to project images on one side of the car that shows what's on the other side of the car. This makes it appear as though you are looking through the car. The man in charge of the gadgets is Q (played by John Cleese, a worthy replacement for the late Desmond Llewelyn, who played the part of Q for many years). Wisely, the screenwriters, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, utilize Cleese's quick wit and comic talent (he is a former member of Monty Python) to good effect. He's no pushover when it comes to verbal sparing with Bond. The screenwriters also have a lot of fun with Bond's well-known penchant for double entendres. Several scenes between Bond and Jinx bristle with double entendres.

Halle Berry is very effective playing a secret agent in this film. She has the whole cool secret agent manner down and she appears athletic enough to handle the physically-demanding aspects of the role. She is a good match for Bond, just as much of a super hero as he is. Bond movies also need solid villains and this one has several good ones, including Zao (played by Rick Yune of "The Fast and the Furious") and megalomaniac Gustav Graves, played by Toby Stephens. Of course, it doesn't hurt having the award-winning Judi Dench as a regular in the series (she plays Bond's boss, M). The stunts and special effects are top-notch, as you would expect. There is also an interesting novelty set involving a hotel complex made out of ice. The action sequence in which the hotel is melted by a death ray from space is amazing. There is an interesting car chase on a frozen lake in which the villain's car has as many deadly gadgets as Bond's own tricked-out car. All in all, it is a good solid entry in the Bond series, an enjoyable escapist adventure with end-to-end action. It rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2002 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)