ASSIGNMENT #020: Die Another Day (2002)

This movie is god awful. There, I said it, but I will get to why because this movie is too stupid not to write about and point out what is wrong. This is Brosnan’s final time as Bond and for good reason as this film nearly killed the Bond franchise for good and ended the first timeline of the Bond series till the rebooted timeline that Casino Royale brings to the table.

James Bond heads to North Korea to meet with Colonel Tan-Sun Moon (Will Yun Lee), who is illegally trading diamonds for weaponry. Moon’s assistant Zao (Rick Yune) discovers that Bond is a MI6 agent which causes the colonel to escape. Bond creates a distraction with an explosion, where Zao gets diamond fragments in his face that would rival Edward from The Twilight Saga. As the chase between Bond and Moon, Moon goes over a waterfall and dies. The colonel’s father, General Moon (Kenneth Tsang), arrive just not time to capture and torture Bond throughout the entire title sequence with Madonna’s shit-fest of a theme song playing. If that isn’t torture, what is? After 14 months of captivity, torture, and not able to feel the touch of a woman, Bond is traded for Zao in a prisoner exchange, gets sedated, and taken to M. M tells Bond that his 00 status is suspended, due to Bond possibly leaked information under stress. Bond escapes MI6’s hospital wing and travels to Hong Kong upset that Zao has been released. Entering the hotel and meeting with his contact (i.e. dumbass he can blackmail) that Zao is in Cuba. Bond heads to Cuba to smoke cigars, gets information, and meets with an NSA agent named Jinx (Halle Berry giving her worst performance). Bond follows Jinx the next day after making sweet blue lighted room love to her to a clinic that specializes in gene therapy. Patients can reconstruct their DNA to alter their appearances, which hasn’t caught on in Hollywood yet. While there, Bond locates Zao inside the clinic a proceed to fight the newly diamond encrusted albino Korean (which I can’t deny is actually fantastic makeup work). Zao leaves in a helicopter, but leaves behind a pendent, which Bond opens to find a cache of diamonds similar to those in the beginning of the feature. Bond sees that the diamond are encrusted with the crest of billionaire Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens).

Bond heads to the Blades Club, alongside assistant Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike who is too gorgeous to be in this piece of crap) to partake in fencing practice with Graves and is greeted by Verity (Madonna, gorgeous, but can’t act worth a damn), Gustav’s instructor. Bond and Graves fight in the most boring fencing match I’ve ever seen and Graves invites him to a demostration in Iceland of a new technology he has gained. Spoiler: It’s a giant space laser. Why? Because this film is Diamonds are Forever 2.0 and everything I said was bad about that film applies right here also. In Iceland at Graves Ice Palace, Graves unveils a satellite (cough Space Laser cough) called Icarus that can focus solar energy on an area to provide year-round sunshine for crops. Later, Jinx breaks into Graves’ command centre, but is captured by Zao and taken to a room to be killed by lasers, a not so subtle reference to Goldfinger. Bond rescues her, kills a guy via laser through the head, slow motion and sped up shots that appear throughout the entire film, and sees Zao talking to Graves. Bond discovers that Colonel Moon is still alive and using gene therapy to become Gustav Graves…seriously? I thought the Silicon Valley destruction and Moonraker plots where stupid, then I heard that. Bond confronts Grave, but Frost double crosses Bond to reveal she blackmailed Bond in North Korea, causing Bond to escape the facility. Bond returns using his Aston Martin Vanquish aka the Vanish thanks to its invisible capability, to rescue Jinx and engages in a car chase that goes from great to awful as hell. The cars drive into the ice palace that is stating to melt and fast to kill Jinx, but rescues Jinx and kills Zao. Jinx and Bond head to the Korean peninsula to go stow away in his cargo ship. Grave finally reveals himself to his father as his white guy self while wearing a football iron suit that allows him to be superpowerful and this is where I stopped the movie. I’m not kidding. Unlike Octopussy or Diamonds Are Forever that I fast forward to the end, I just stopped it dead. It was just an awful film. The resolution? Of course Bond and Jinx wins, Graves plan is foiled, Miranda Frost dies, and who can give a crap.

Die Another Day is, pardon my language, pretty fuckin’ terrible. I didn’t even point out the laughable action sequences  the terrible CGI, the references scattered throughout that are just so blatant, I could make a list of them. Everyone is awful in it from Brosnan to Stephens, except for Rick Yune, Rosmund Pike, and John Cleese, who steps in the role of Q with ease. Rick Yune as Zao is a fantastic henchman who can be quite intimidating. Rosamund Pike as Miranda Frost plays an icy bitch so well that she outshines Oscar winner Halle Berry. Speaking of Ms. Berry, she is awful in this feature that you can’t believe she won an award. Toby Stephens is awful as hell hamming it up into the role, but not making it fun or memorable and coming off as a bully more than a threat. Brosnan’s final time looks like he is ready to cash the damn check and run with it because he looks bored and just rolling with the punches. The camera work and editing is painful coming off looking like Batman and Robin with fast edits and quick headache inducing cuts a la modern action flare and the overuse of CGI makes this the most fake looking Bond and I saw Kananga turn into a balloon and blow up. Die Another Day is the worst of the series, beating out Octopussy and Diamonds Are Forever.

The theme song by Madonna. Need I say more? Madonna doing a Bond song is an awful idea that came to life in the form of a Eurotrash pop tune that destroys every foundation of a good Bond title tune. Easily, the worse. Die Another Day should have died another day because every element you loved about Bond is destroyed and made a mockery of in the ultimate shit fest.

Assignment Status: 1 out of 5

Next mission, Bond is rebooted with Daniel Craig as the blond young Bond to take down a terrorist network headed by Le Chiffre, meets the lovely Vesper Lynd, and gets into the gritty world of Texas Hold ‘Em Poker. We are nearing the end.

Next Assignment: Casino Royale

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