If you came here looking for my thoughts on Spectre, psycheth! I’ll most likely be watching the latest Daniel Craig Bond entry this Saturday with some friends, and may or may not offer my critique depending on how mediocre it is and how much time I have. If it turns out merely meh, I can probably still give it a Not Worth The Effort analysis. In the meantime, here’s a flashback review of a much more antiquated and cheesy Bond film that I wrote roughly two years ago, minimally edited since then, and opportunistically released today. Part 4 of the 100-something movie countdown will be out tomorrow once I watch a potential title and make up my mind on its merits.
“Intercontinental ballistic missiles and various other missiles, which have already set their striking targets, are now armed with lighter, smaller and diversified nuclear warheads and are placed on a standby status. When we shell (the missiles), Washington, which is the stronghold of evils, .... will be engulfed in a sea of fire.”
So said a rather cheery North Korean General Kang Pyo Yang earlier this year in a series of brazen death threats aimed by Kim Jong Un’s tyrannical regime against its neighbor South Korea and the United States. Whether or not the North’s ruling elites ever act on those threats by launching nuclear weapons into Japan or the South, so igniting World War III and immediately ending the lives of hundreds of thousands, and whether a handful of Aegis-equipped destroyers and measly Predator drones carrying NCRAP seekers have the capability to knock these missiles out of the air by shooting smaller missiles of their own, all without advance warning, remains to be seen.
Halle Berry’s stupid, goofy-looking, grossly overrated bathing suit
I should briefly note that Halle Berry portrays the token love interest – or sex interest, as Bond himself admits that his relationships never last that long and that he has no time for anything beyond an obligatory one- or two-nighter –, but that’s supposing what she does in the film can honestly be described as a “portrayal”. Completely inadequate for any role that requires her to convincingly read lines or simulate feelings of pain and passion, she makes her bore of an NSA agent (yeah, that’s the big twist – no wonder she screws up her mission and needs Bond to come rescue her) even more boring than the script otherwise allows and also lacks the hot factor necessary for the female sidekick’s part, which is really the only thing it demands. Considering the notoriety this movie has attained among studious professors of swimsuitology in pop-culture, “Jinx” just isn’t all that sexy, in part because the truly sexy woman has more dignity and moral resolve than to allow a creepy stranger staring down her bikini bod through binoculars to bed her literally the first night after their meeting. Halle here is a cat burglar with nothing worth burgling, joining the legions of other forgettable actresses who have shamelessly degraded themselves to get attention from a horde of willing accomplices in the celebrity-obsessed media.
* faking a cardiac arrest in order to escape custody
* pulling a 180-degree spin on ice with his camouflage-enabled car to shoot missiles at a pursuer, then spinning right around again.
* outrunning a giant space laser in some kind of snow buggy, leaping from a collapsing cliff face, and paragliding right over a towering wall of waves
Does Bond kick a handgun out of the sand, grab it at chest level, and expertly shoot his armed rival down with a single bullet? Swing around backwards to grab a handhold while rock-climbing without a harness at several thousand feet? No. On second thought, I guess Ethan Hunt still takes the cake for having the most incredible movie feat, and the second and the third too. Regardless, Die Another Day is bloody amusing to watch and arguably compresses more memorable action sequences into a single story than the rest of the Bond franchise can claim altogether. The special effects are pretty impressive overall for a 10-year-old picture of medium budget, despite the intermittent presence of some atrocious green-screen and CGI, most noticeable during the paragliding scene, and the bad guys all meet particularly gruesome and satisfying ends that may have inspired key plot points in The Incredibles and Captain America. Die Another Day is fraught with camp but seems to be fully aware of that fact, as its writers pack a number of unnecessary speeches and terrible one-liners into the screenplay.
Undeniably silly, unapologetically over-the-top, and unusually entertaining, Die Another Day is easily the best James Bond movie I’ve ever seen thus far. While that might be like contrasting The Wrath of Kahn with any of the other Star Trek movies or comparing the merits of Not-Dante’s Inferno to that of another Dan Brown novel, it’s a rare compliment that I extend to an entrant of this series, which, if Skyfall’s billion-something dollar gross means anything, will surely live to die another day. Check it out if you get the chance, or click on all the video links above and save yourself a lot of time. Or don’t click on the links and save yourself even more time.
“Saved by the bell.” ~ Bond, upon saving himself from a precarious fall by jumping and clinging to a bell
“I see you handle your weapon well.”
“I have been known to keep my tip up.” ~ Oh, Bond.
“If you don’t hurry up, I won’t be half the woman I used to be.” ~ Berry, while strapped to a board and terrified of deadly lasers whirring close enough to cut her in half
“That’s a nice fit. I hope it doesn’t shrink in water.” ~ Unexpected villain, broadcasting her plot to murder the unexpected heroine with – you got it – water
“I can read your every move!”
“Read this…” Executes cool knife move.
(long pause as the gravity of what happened sinks in)
“… bitch!” ~ Because “read this” wasn’t a good enough punch line.