Bond, James Bond, has returned to the big screen once again. This time, as with every effort in the Pierce Brosnan series, producer Barbara Broccoli and MGM studios will try and out do the explosions, the sex, and the witty dialogue that has permeated the countless entries in the spy films. “Die Another Day,” the latest Bond adventure, should be praised though, as it succeeds in giving the audience the most thrilling Brosnan adventure since his debut film, “Goldeneye.” What this latest entry in the Bond films does is reminds us is why 007 is still so appealing after all these years. Unlike this summer’s loud and crass rip-off, “XXX,” the James Bond films have class and tradition, a certain familiar thrill as well as a hero whose arrogance is charming, not brutish and dull.
This film starts out with 007 going undercover to assassinate the son of a South Korean leader. When things go wrong, Bond is captured and tortured, while his homeland denies he exists. After being traded for a ruthless Korean killer (who now has diamonds embedded into his face, thanks to our hero), James must find out who double crossed him in Korea and why. Along the way, he meets a female American counter-part, Jinx, played by Oscar winner Halle Berry.
Berry is fine in the film, though her role is not nearly as large as the trailers show and that turns out to be a good thing. As the past two films have proven, not enough action involving Bond just slows the pace in the formulaic series. The first hour is truly thrilling and actually succeeds for once at adding depth to Bond. There is some great comedic bits involving John Cleese, the fantastic locales that Bond movies are famous for, and a fun if unrealistic car chase. Serving as both distractions and annoyance in the film are cameos by American tough guy Michael Madsen and singer Madonna. Madonna may have crafted a fun modern techno song for the film, but her acting is still as stale and laughable as it was ten years ago. All and all, “Die Another Day” is a fun Bond entry that has enough great stunts and excitement, that, by the time the movie tales off in the last 20 minuets, the viewer can forgive its bland conclusion.
Parents should know that the movie is rated PG-13 for excessive violence, sex, partial nudity, mild profanity, and many off-screen deaths. This film pushes the PG-13 rating hard, even for a James Bond film. The film is almost non-stop action scenes, some of which include graphic is if rather bloodless deaths. This includes one impaling, a knife in the neck and another in a chest, a character being sucked into a plane engine, while another is pinned to a hovercraft before plunging to his death at the bottom of a waterfall. The film also includes many explosions and scenes in which death is implied, but not shown. There is almost constant shooting, and James Bond’s ambiguity about violence may trouble younger viewers. The film shows James Bond smoking in numerous scenes. The movie is also filled with sex and sexual dialogue. One sex scene is rather graphic, while the other two imply it. There is also a view of a woman naked from the back, as well as numerous silhouettes of nude women during the opening credits. The film also includes numerous sexual innuendos, including two that are rather graphic, one coming at the end of the feature. The film briefly address James Bond’s womanizing, but makes light of it rather then condemning his behavior.
Families who see this film should talk about why James Bond is so loyal to his country. If it means so much to him, why do they deny his existence? It could also be addressed why Bond turns to violence so often, and that, although it works in the film, it destroys many people’s lives in the process. Why does the American government and the British government work together despite disagreements? Why does the South Korean general disapprove of his son’s violent methods? It could also be discussed why Bond treats women they way he does and how this film presents him with a strong female counter-part. What is it about how she treats him that makes Bond question how he acts towards women? Families should also talk about how the Bond movies in general treat women and possibly how it has changed since the series incarnation.
Families who enjoyed this movie will also enjoy “Goldfinger,” “The Bourne Identity,” and “Mission: Impossible.”