Solid James bond installment. My kids liked it.
The hero of this film is Bond's 1998 BMW 750. Q issues Bond a new cellphone with a built-in remote control for his BMW. This control is analogous to BMW's intelligent key fob for their 2016 European BMW 7 Series. But Q's custom remote control does more. It allows Bond to remotely operate his BMW and all of its accessories. This BMW 750 and its special effects team earn a solid 5.0 stars.
Since the plot of the rest of the film is so implausible, I would rate "Tomorrow Never Dies" at no more than 3.50 stars.
Brosnan returns as Bond in this second film from his time as the character. A media tycoon trying to manipulate nations into a war is the primary villain, and Bond must work with a Chinese spy to prevent war. The story moves along fairly well. Jonathan Pryce chews the scenery as the tycoon, backed up by some good henchmen. His wife and Bond's former lover, played by Teri Hatcher, somewhat hurts the way the film plays out (I don't particularly care for her as an actor), but she's not around that long. Brosnan has fun with the role, and Michelle Yeoh, as his Chinese counterpart, is a formidable and fierce fighter, a good match for Bond.
I’ve been putting this one off for awhile, and there’s a reason this review is a bit difficult to do: I despise the director. Not the movies the man has made?–?although Stop, or My Mom Will Shoot is pretty loathe-able?–?but the man himself. Honestly. After spending about a week on-set watching him dealing with various people, and quickly understanding that one should deal with him the same way one should deal with the most despicable Head Master to ever be encountered, I decided that any acting gig that was directed by Roger Spottiswoode would be refused.
Details of the matter can be had by buying me a drink, so as to save the ‘marquee name’ individuals any embarrassing involvement in a public discussion of the entirely unprofessional behaviour of the man in question.
So… with that in mind… [ahem]
This is a fairly decent film, albeit more than a bit unfocused (which is hardly unique in the series, is it?).
There’s more than a few insane stunts here, not the least of which is a roof-top set chase between Bond and a Chinese National agent handcuffed together driving a motorcycle and the ‘bad guys’ running after them down, in, and around street markets using a heavily armed helicopter. One of the biggest “stunts” involves Bond and his co-conspirator leaping from the top of a building and slowing their descent by tearing a building-tall banner down the middle, thus getting them far closer to the ground in a controlled manner; something that is theoretically possible, but hardly something one can believe.
The Evil Villain here is a media mogul who has at his disposal a gigantic “stealth boat” which he uses to fire at both Royal Navy Ships in international waters as well as People’s Republic of China vessels in their own waters, thus prompting a very tense diplomatic situation which threatens to bring the world to an effective end. What he gets out of this is the opportunity to have exclusive coverage through his newspapers and broadcasting network of the start of things (mostly because he’s right there causing the thing, obviously), plus he hopes to get the Chinese on side to let him provide the only western broadcasting signal into the PRC. Obviously he’s quite mad.
BRIEF ASIDE: in order to understand the earlier comment about the director’s behaviour a few years later, the character of Elliot Carver not only displays behaviour quite like Spottiswoode, he almost duplicates him visually, right down to the haircut and glasses!
A good film, but not a great one, and it serves as another example of how the series causes people to make things a bit more complicated and convoluted than are necessary, instead of making excitement through plot tension.
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