Director: Lee Tamahori
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune, John Cleese, Madonna, Michael Madsen, Samantha Bond, Judi Dench
Film matched beverage: Mojito
Synopsis: After being betrayed by a colleague, Bond is imprisoned and tortured for 14 months in a North Korean holding facility. When MI6 is led to believe he is hemorrhaging information, they arrange a trade, but put him out to pasture as washed up. Bond must track down the person who betrayed him to clear his name and exact revenge.
Though the Moore era for me was synonymous with bad 007 films, this film fits quite comfortably alongside them. I wish I could say the only reason for this was Madonna’s acting, but alas that is not so. Though there are some brilliant set pieces, they are let down by other elements that are extremely poor. Even those good elements, if strung together end to end, could not make a good stand alone film however.
Perhaps one reason for this is that so much effort was made to reference every single Bond film that preceded this one, that they forgot to make a film in the process. There is probably no five minute period that does nor feature a reference to other films. I understand the reason for this, given that this film was released on the 40th anniversary of the 007 film franchise and was the 20th film to be made, but fewer side references and more plot could have done a lot to save this film.
That said, the only female to give a powerful performance in this whole film was Judy Dench. Madonna was bloody awful in her small role, a quality of acting that matched the quality of the theme tune she put forward. This is honestly the only time that I have ever completely hated a Bond theme, though Alicia Key’s later effort does come close. Rosamund Pike can be a fantastic actress, but she is very poor in this film, her acting skills clearly not suited for this kind of action film. To make matters worse, her final midriff baring costume has no need for the plot whatsoever, and just designed to show that she has curves. Then there is Halle Berry, another actress who is capable of powerful performances, but whom rarely gives them. Before Die Another Day was released, there was rumour that there were plans to make a spin-off film franchise based on her character Jinx. After this filmed aired though, I never heard anything else indicating those plans still existed. I am really not surprised.
Yet on top of all these complaints, Bond does something he has never done before in the franchise, and this time that does not pre-empt an exciting new action sequence. This is the first time in which Bond dumps some real life stunts in favour of bad quality CGI. True, this was an era when that was de rigueur, but it does not make it right. The moment an audience member can see something fake, one is transported out of the fantasy realm and reminded they are just watching a movie. This is an area in which high-def has not been kind to this film, highlighting how poor these CGI stunts really were. Someone forgot that when you try to make things bigger, don’t forget to try to make them better at the same time.
This film may not plumb the depths that were Moonraker, but it gets pretty close. A disappointing to Brosnan’s tenure in the role, after having made such a promising opening entry into the franchise.
2.5 stars out of 5
3 parts white rum
1 part lime juice
0.5 parts sugar syrup
Add leaves to a high ball glass, and pour in rum, lime juice and sugar syrup. Add crussed ice and stir, then top with soda water.