by Jennifer Dodd
Forty years after novelist Ian Fleming’s 007 made its way to the big screen, it is amazing that audiences are still in anticipation of what the suave and mysterious James Bond has up his sleeve.
“Die Another Day,” the twentieth installment in the series delivers the anticipated action-packed punch with that Bond sophistication. Pierce Brosnan, on his fourth go around as the indestructible British spy, glides through the role with confidence, conveying an air of “here we go again.”
“Die Another Day”, directed by Lee Tamahori “Along Came a Spider” ups the ante this time with major use of digital effects and attempts to keep up with the hip factor, attaining Madonna to sing the theme song and appear in a cameo role in one of the film’s lighter scenes.
The first third of the movie, the most interesting portion, finds Bond as a prisoner and torture victim by North Korean captors who are attempting to build a satellite called Icarus, which can blind or burn the Communist enemy.
When he is released after 18 months, in exchange for another prisoner, the British Secret Service shuns Bond, believing he cracked and gave up vital information while being tortured.
In order to clear his name and stop the madman Col. Moon, Bond heads to Cuba to stop Zao, an evil Korean killer and Col. Moon’s son, stopping him from acquiring a DNA transplant to change his identity.
Enter Halle Berry’s Jinx, a goddess rising from the ocean, paying homage to Ursula Andress in “Dr. No” circa 1962. Together they take down the DNA facility, making Jinx more Bond’s equal.
From there, the plot takes us to London, where an engrossing fencing duel ensues and gadget master Q (played by John Cleese) pops up in an abandoned underground station. It is here that the anticipated “Bond car” is revealed, this time an Aston Martin with invisible capabilities. This is where the non-stop action takes over, featuring magnificent locations and the expected over the top stunts.
Icarus is revealed in Iceland, amid a gigantic ice hotel perched on a frozen lake, where hand-to-hand combat follows between Bond and a Maori henchman. Zao’s Jaguar chases Bond’s Aston Martin atop the frozen lake and throughout the ice palace all while the ice is melting with Jinx trapped inside.
“Die Another Day” delivers what it promises as far as Bond movies go, with the expected overproduced and fairly weak-plotted structure.
“Die” gives us a bit more coldness and realism than the previous three Bond films featuring Brosnan, but the inside jokes and double entrendres still hold true to the franchises form, guaranteeing the viewer over two hours of decadent, almost campy entertainment.