Bonding with Bond, Day 22: Die Another Day

One intrepid RT editor is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

by | November 11, 2008 | Comments

We come to the end of the Pierce Brosnan era, and he exits the Bond universe in a flurry of silliness.

Die Another Day (2002) 56%


When I went to the video store to pick up my last two rentals in this series, the guy ringing me up said, “How are you gonna rent Die Another Day and Casino Royale at the same time? Casino Royale was off the hook, but Die Another Day has an invisible car!” With that over-the-counter assessment in mind, I set off to embark on the wild ride that is Die Another Day, the final Pierce Brosnan installment and one that would yield more scribbles in my notebook than any other thus far.

The opening action sequence is the first one in a while that failed to impress me. There are hovercrafts and exploding diamonds, and it was novel (if not ridiculous) to see Bond surfing his way onto a North Korean beach, but it wasn’t very exciting. It’s also the first time we don’t see Bond escape at the end of the preliminary scenes, and as the opening credits roll by to an awful Madonna song, we see glimpses of Bond’s life in captivity, slowly transforming into Robinson Crusoe. When the song dies down and a scraggly Bond is trotted out before a North Korean general, you almost expect him to be carrying a volleyball with a face painted on it.

Usually, I can forgive lapses in logic if the execution of the story is strong enough to merit it, but this was not often the case in Die Another Day. Take, for example, the first encounter that Bond has with the central villain, Gustav Graves (played by Toby Stephens). Graves is practicing a bit of fencing in what appears to be a fancy private studio when Bond comes strolling in — we’re not even clear how either of them got here, as the last scene has Graves on his way to meet the Queen, with Bond standing in the audience as Graves drives away. Bond sidles up to the fencing instructor, played by Madonna, and after a mere exchange of names, she offers to introduce him to Graves. Why? Who knows?

Then, after the ensuing introduction, Graves and Bond engage in a friendly fencing match — okay, fine. But after Bond ups the ante with a controversial diamond from Graves’s company, Graves insists they raise the stakes, fence with real swords, and choose a winner based on who draws blood first. They do so, and everyone simply watches for about 5 minutes before Graves’s assistant steps in and stops the fight. This makes absolutely no sense. If I walked into a private gun range where Bill Gates was engaged in target practice, then challenged him to a duel at twenty paces with live ammunition, and nobody did anything to stop us, that MIGHT come close to what took place in the aforementioned scene.

If you can, with good conscience, chalk these up to subtle, innocent oversights, then consider what else Die Another Day offers. There’s the poorly constructed set pieces that look like they were built by high school drama teams in their garages; there’s Q branch’s incredible leaps in technology, like a seamless virtual reality battle simulator and the infamous invisible car; there’s Bond surfing on a tidal wave caused by a collapsing glacier; there’s Graves’s ice palace and electrified Nintendo Power Glove. I’m sorry, but when did they bring Joel Schumacher in to direct a Bond movie?

And what about the acting? Well, in all honesty, it wasn’t that bad, but there also isn’t a whole lot of opportunity for actors to emote in any of these Bond films. The “acting” here mostly consists of thinly veiled (emphasis on “thinly”) double entendres, lots of scowling, some screaming, and a few lines of expository dialogue. What’s sad is that, even with such a simple script, there is still room to screw it up, which Halle Berry (as Jinx) does on numerous occasions. Now, this might be personal bias, but I wouldn’t place Berry much higher than Denise Richards, and I never have, Oscar win notwithstanding. I have never thought she was a great actress, and she did nothing to convince me otherwise in this movie, so it was pretty much par for the course.

Overall, I thought this was an absolutely ludicrous and unnecessary addition to the Bond series. It felt like they hired the writers of the James Bond Jr. cartoon series to pen the script for Die Another Day because everyone else was too busy working on movies that actually required some logic. However — and this is a big “however” — if you’re able to turn your brain off completely, or if you’re the type of attention-deficit viewer this movie was obviously aimed at (and which I can be from time to time), it will certainly keep you occupied for a couple of hours. It’s silly, it’s inane, it’s excessive, and sometimes it’s even downright stupid, but when you break it down, it pretty much follows the same formula shared by many of the Bond films, so if you rent it, you know what you’re getting into anyway.

Favorite line: Zao: “Who sent you?” Jinx: “Yo momma.” This, ladies and gentlemen, is quality dialogue.

Favorite moment: There’s a touching scene at the end when Graves reveals his true identity to his father, the aforementioned North Korean general. The audience already knows this, and as the general enters the room, Graves is standing with his back turned to him. He turns to face his father, but all suspense is ruined when we see he’s wearing a ridiculous pair of goggles to match his Power Gloves. I actually laughed out loud.

Other Articles:

Tag Cloud

mockumentary streaming A&E Year in Review Pride Month Marvel werewolf concert Brie Larson RT21 book adaptation Funimation basketball TV Land archives Pop TV documentary teaser comic Spike joker MSNBC emmy awards Alien Star Trek WarnerMedia suspense Amazon Studios new york australia pirates of the caribbean USA ViacomCBS Classic Film Food Network DC streaming service Super Bowl WGN crime thriller First Reviews YouTube Premium scary movies Oscars spinoff Mary Tyler Moore independent Amazon Prime Avengers boxoffice Creative Arts Emmys Baby Yoda TIFF a nightmare on elm street asian-american saw green book target dramedy Pixar Television Critics Association TCA stoner The Academy Comedy Central Academy Awards Cosplay hollywood Christmas LGBT NYCC Awards Tour revenge HBO Max scene in color Extras south america binge docuseries Mary Poppins Returns Election BBC Schedule quibi cancelled TV award winner Cannes Winners women YouTube Red OWN Binge Guide Tokyo Olympics medical drama hidden camera game show CMT Vudu nature Photos true crime Reality Competition 2021 Nickelodeon Premiere Dates parents travel japanese National Geographic new zealand Paramount international casting adventure halloween universal monsters Song of Ice and Fire Mudbound remakes MTV Mindy Kaling ABC PlayStation USA Network SXSW GoT talk show ITV Awards venice ratings space Comic Book Trivia supernatural monster movies Film Calendar RT History CBS telelvision Esquire period drama golden globe awards Biopics YouTube harry potter Best and Worst Countdown Disney streaming service italian dark Shondaland psycho stop motion Shudder science fiction foreign IFC Films Watching Series latino indie spanish language rt archives Dark Horse Comics cooking Interview BET Awards based on movie Britbox 007 CW Seed cartoon new star wars movies The Arrangement Rocky ID Ovation book fresh Pet Sematary golden globes TCA 2017 trailers obituary 71st Emmy Awards The Witch toronto canceled Wes Anderson FOX Syfy Hulu Pacific Islander Tumblr Stephen King BBC One Sneak Peek GIFs aliens Star Wars worst Black History Month Certified Fresh Emmys VOD mutant laika halloween tv 45 Sundance Cartoon Network blaxploitation versus screenings Sundance TV Captain marvel cancelled TV series BAFTA football streaming movies Opinion New York Comic Con Walt Disney Pictures Lifetime E3 classics screen actors guild Travel Channel Mary poppins Video Games cats cults CNN The Walking Dead Fox News PBS police drama Music HBO Go satire Women's History Month sitcom deadpool movie spider-man kids biography vampires technology name the review Holiday crime reviews Arrowverse OneApp finale social media Rocketman 24 frames comedies child's play VICE anime Marathons hist singing competition heist movie disaster robots Epix Country batman twilight Ellie Kemper 20th Century Fox cars Winter TV renewed TV shows politics what to watch Reality Chilling Adventures of Sabrina lord of the rings adaptation directors strong female leads Logo History ghosts political drama PaleyFest Quiz nfl Fox Searchlight 99% The Walt Disney Company witnail Grammys Writers Guild of America Showtime Summer FXX diversity ABC Family TV movies slashers james bond best Animation rotten movies we love news romantic comedy Red Carpet zombies Comics on TV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt thriller docudrama canceled TV shows high school El Rey composers films Amazon olympics tv talk zombie Crunchyroll 2019 superman dragons sequels 1990s Masterpiece Sony Pictures Exclusive Video Paramount Network VH1 Rom-Com Kids & Family toy story Lifetime Christmas movies Adult Swim stand-up comedy TCA Awards GLAAD boxing crossover Drama adenture Pop FX on Hulu CBS All Access Infographic DGA know your critic 2015 The Purge Superheroe crime drama elevated horror Marvel Studios TruTV Disney Plus Image Comics chucky Apple TV Plus TLC Anna Paquin Toys Tomatazos Horror nbcuniversal theme song Starz blockbuster Hallmark San Diego Comic-Con sports transformers razzies blockbusters war natural history Martial Arts anthology Apple discovery Disney Channel cancelled television Universal SundanceTV 2016 Valentine's Day 93rd Oscars jamie lee curtis mission: impossible TCM fast and furious Turner Classic Movies ESPN breaking bad Ghostbusters marvel cinematic universe franchise hispanic Sci-Fi Box Office Emmy Nominations indiana jones Hear Us Out 2018 worst movies Paramount Plus DirecTV Superheroes Film Festival black Trophy Talk BBC America Turner Apple TV+ Sundance Now Comedy cops Elton John die hard Acorn TV Netflix festival children's TV rom-coms FX Chernobyl festivals all-time AMC Legendary free movies justice league Television Academy Broadway Heroines The CW Family Rock 2017 Set visit television 4/20 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards YA comiccon A24 spy thriller Fall TV Disney Columbia Pictures richard e. Grant video kong jurassic park zero dark thirty historical drama President Disney+ Disney Plus TV renewals dc Tarantino sag awards Hallmark Christmas movies aapi dceu criterion 2020 DC Comics spain Black Mirror unscripted Musical NBA Tubi popular animated Lionsgate Marvel Television IFC Pirates Teen video on demand miniseries Warner Bros. romance french godzilla Freeform Comic-Con@Home 2021 TCA Winter 2020 king kong series live action DC Universe japan cinemax TV One First Look Mystery SDCC Thanksgiving reboot Endgame E! BET prank game of thrones MCU Action ABC Signature facebook Fantasy superhero Lucasfilm 90s TNT spanish Podcast serial killer psychological thriller dogs christmas movies Nat Geo Amazon Prime Video TBS 21st Century Fox American Society of Cinematographers documentaries Bravo rotten Character Guide scorecard Crackle Spectrum Originals comic books Discovery Channel APB Polls and Games Musicals HBO Western critics comics NBC See It Skip It cancelled TV shows Netflix Christmas movies 72 Emmy Awards Nominations LGBTQ Holidays movies X-Men kaiju Spring TV doctor who Trailer Peacock sequel