Die Another Day ***

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“Die Another Day” sort of takes Bond back to the days of Roger Moore when the characters and plots were more cartoonish. The villain has a master plan to destroy the world with a laser beam from space. His villainous hideout is a palace made of ice in Iceland. His henchmen have names like Mr. Kill and Zao. Zao in particular has diamonds imbedded in his face.

Brosnan is back in the role and I have to admit he didn’t look all that comfortable in the role this time. Maybe it was the shift in tone. Certainly when he came out saying that he wanted his next Bond movie to be more serious in tone. Of course this turned out to be his last outing in the role.

Bond’s female companion is an American agent named Jinx, played by Halle Berry. Her performance brings a certain era of cool to every scene she is in. She is certainly a major improvement over Denise Richards.

The action this time around involves a chase with hover crafts, a deadly showdown between two cars, both loaded with gadgets, on a lake of ice, and an escape from a burning plane. All of it is exciting and done well.

Director Lee Tamahori manages to keep the tone pretty serious considering all the over the top elements surrounding Bond. He does seem more interested in referencing classic Bond films than he does in telling a real story. At one point Halle Berry emerges from the ocean wearing the same bathing suit Honey Rider wore in “Dr. No”, complete with a hip knife.

A lot of people were disappointed in this movie when it came out. I actually enjoyed it. Yes it is outrageous and over the top but it was still a lot of fun. It was the last time Pierce Brosnan would play Bond which was a real shame.

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