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PCR # 140  (Vol. 3, No. 48)  This edition is for the week of November 25--December 1, 2002.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Die Another Day"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three and a half stars!

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rick Yune, John Cleese and Judi Dench
Directed by: Lee Tamahori
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 2 hrs 12 mins

One of my earliest movie going memories, if not THE earliest, is going to the drive in with my parents to see the second James Bond film, "From Russia With Love." I really don't remember that much about the film from that experience. My best memory is of my father putting his hand over my eyes during the more "adult" parts of the film! Thankfully I am now old enough to enjoy every frame of the latest chapter!

The film opens with Mr. Bond about to broker a deal in North Korea - trading valuable diamonds for illegal weapons. He soon learns that he has been betrayed and detonates the case containing the diamonds. In spite of all of his skills, he is captured.

To say anything more would give away too much. Once he is reunited with his superior, M, he finds that his "00" status has been revoked.......he no longer has a "license to kill." If he is going to clear his name he must do it on his own. This endeavor takes him to Cuba, where he encounters the mysterious Jinx. He is immediately taken by her beauty, first spying her rising from the ocean in a bikini. He soon learns there is more to her then beauty, and together they travel to Iceland to track down one of the world's biggest diamond dealers. Once they arrive, it's non stop action.

In his fourth appearance, Brosnan has easily grown comfortable in the role of Bond. While he will never, in my mind, surpass Sean Connery, he is a very close second. As Jinx, we finally get a Bond girl who is more then just eye candy. Berry shows she is as capable as Bond in all departments. I'm guessing that after Berry showed up on the set with her "Monsters Ball" Oscar that the producers did all they could to make her more a part of the film. In fact, Berry has hinted that they may spin off her character into her own series of films. As the bad guys, both Stephens and Yune are the typical smirking evil doers that populate each film in the series. One thing I do remember from "From Russia With Love" (in later viewings) was that Robert Shaw, as Red Gant, was truly one of the great Bond villains of all time. Unfortunately, some time in the mid 70's the villains went from being truly menacing to just cartoon foils.

John Cleese proves an able successor to the late Desmond Llewellyn as chief gadget maker, Q. In a tribute to earlier films, he and Bond play with the Jet Pack from "Thunderball" and, when giving Bond his new watch, remarks that it is the 20th watch he's given him, which is great because this is the 20th Bond film. Judi Dench again excels as M, Bonds no-nonsense superior. The only bad casting job in the film is the usually reliable Michael Madsen, who is wasted as an American agent.

Action scenes are top notch, with a car chase on ice among the highlights. At a little over 2 hours, the film does drag a little, but that is the only fault I can find. So, whether you are going with your parents or are parents yourself, this is one of the definite must see films of the season. On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Die Another Day"  

This week's movie review of "Die Another Day" is ©2002 by Michael A. Smith.   All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2002, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova.