Die Another Day (2002)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
I’m a rebel.

Again, we find ourselves in this predicament. We are faced with yet another installment of the James Bond collection that is generally hated, and certainly everyone’s least-favorite Brosnan installment all-together, Die Another Day. Also yet again, I’m faced with the frustrating fact that I actually liked it. This happened before, with Moonraker, the generally most-hated Bond film available. It’s definitely not an admittance that the movie is actually any good or fitting for James Bond…I just liked it. I had fun watching it, and my score is a reflection in general of how I feel about a film. At any rate, Die Another Day is Pierce Brosnan’s fourth and final time in the role, and as his final performance, it was pretty good, in my opinion.

Basically, James Bond goes to North Korea, and is taken hostage by the Koreans – for a long time; I’m talking full head of frizzy hair and mountain-man beard long time. The only reason he got out of there is because the British government staged an exchange to get one of Koreans’ most deadly in return for Bond. Well, something went down this entire time, because Bond is absolutely sure that he was set up, and he escapes from the hospital, going rogue to find out who set him up and put an end to the madness. Well, I’m not really sure about why he was set up, but the man responsible was building this…big mirror in space that is able to harness the power of the sun and the bad guys can use it like this giant laser gun.

Okay, so a giant laser gun is a bit too sci-fi for this film to pull off, but the rest of it I like. Seriously, when James Bond looked like Jesus and Robinson Crusoe, I thought that really gave the film some serious edge, the kind it’s been lacking as of lately. The fact that the Koreans overpowered him and made it impossible for him to escape proved to me once again that Bond is but a man, and has his weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Then, of course, I love a good rogue agent routine…doing something, again, because it was right (like in Licence to Kill). If I can praise this film for anything, I would first point to the fact that it has a brilliant opener and foundation for the rest of the flick…but I have more to praise it on.

This is the only Pierce Brosnan flick that was memorable for me. Everything from Bond girl who means business Halle Berry, to an invisible spy car, to notable mentions of all previous James Bond films. The shout outs were there for the 40th anniversary, which since I’ve seen them all now, thought that was awesome. Anyways, the invisible car may be again, stretching it with sci-fi, but the whole driving on ice bit was probably one of the most memorable scenes in the film…because I’ve probably seen this film once in theater and remembered it pretty darn well after all that time. That’s what I call memorable. I’ve also followed Halle Berry’s career close enough to remember her role in this pretty well. She was a great Bond girl that once again, contributed extremely well to the franchise.

People hate this for it’s “terrible CGI”. I disagree because I’ve seen terrible CGI, and this isn’t it. Because I know this complaint, I was able to look for it and see it, but had I never read that complaint, I wouldn’t have noticed squat. Sure, the earlier Bond films used an amazing array of technical effects that I can’t even begin to understand, but I have nothing against CGI either. It’s just another way to tell a story, and this told a story rather well.

Now, Die Another Day kind of went nutso halfway through, but the first half was amazing in my opinion. I wish he didn’t shave his mane, because hey, he looks good as a tough homeless guy, and that would have given this film enough edge to feel bold in the series. Even so, they did what they did, and I will argue that the beginning of this film is one of the best in the series. It’s a foundation, which is half of what makes a movie so great and interesting to watch. The film started with a hook, and my attention was set for the rest. So sue me.


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