Die Another Day

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The plot in a nutshell
Hey, it's a Bond movie, I think you're going to know the plot without ever seeing the film.  But things are slightly different this time around - Halle Berry is the Bond girl.

Bond gets double crossed by an MI6 agent, and ends up in North Korea getting the crap beat out of him.  He manages to get traded to a friendlier team, but now no one trusts him.  He's off to prove his innocence and trust worthiness, and even a few scores.

There is of course the psycho but rich and good looking villain intent on world domination, and the huge weapon of mass destruction that only a Bond villain seems capable of building.  And in the end, Bond gets all the cool toys and all the hot women, even in Iceland.

Relatively Spoiler Free Thoughts
I've actually watched four movies in the last week - Animatrix, About Schmidt, The Pianist, and this.  If you're a fan of the Matrix films, you really should check out Animatrix since it will fill in some holes for you.  If you're looking for a movie that will tear at your heart and shock you with man's depravity against man, rent The Pianist.  And if you want to see Jack do a decent job of controlling his personal tics and getting back to acting, then watch About Schmidt.

But if you're looking for explosions, wild car chases, hot women of easy virtue, a couple sword fights, and Michael Madsen without a razor, than Die Another Day is the obvious choice this week.

When this film first hit theaters, critics said the Bond license was old and tired.  Films like xXs or Bourne Identity are supposedly the 'new' spy films.  Of course, this would assume that the Bond license wasn't old and tired 40 years ago.

Okay, I'm being a bit rough.  But let's be honest - Bond films have never been great art.  They are pretty much mindless pleasure at it's best, and the greatest failures have been when they created plots that were too complicated or unnecessary.  Stick with the car chases, cute gadgets, and hot women.  It works.

That's what you get here.  Every past Bond cliche gets a re-airing, and we even get to see a few of the great old props from the early films.  Halle Berry is one of the better Bond girls to grace the screen, and her acting isn't her biggest asset in this film.  Brosnan continues to provide a suave, good looking Bond that is generally one step ahead of his foes.

And that's my only real complaint with this film - there are several occasions where James isn't quite his old self.  From his initial capture, to his inability to see who the traitor is (even when it couldn't get much more obvious), he seems to be a tad distracted here.  Perhaps he IS getting a little old, but it's nothing a little ginko biloba couldn't fix.

There are some great stunts, great explosions, and a decent sword fight or two.  There are also several over the top, truly ridiculous, and obviously CGI assisted stunts which I could have done without.  There are also a handful of plot holes I'll discuss in the spoiler section, but if you're a big fan of the genre, and you don't mind seeing familiar themes, gadgets and girls, you'll enjoy this ride.

Rating - Rent it, if you're a fan of the genre
I bought this flick.  I'm sorry I did now.  I bought it because I'm a big fan of great sounding DVD's, and this one touted a DTS ES track.  Since I have very few DVD's with a true, discrete sixth channel, I jumped at this one.

Turns out, it's a bit of a lie.  It's a DTS ES 5.1 track.  I have no idea what that means, but I do know that it didn't have a discrete sixth channel.  Ah well - it still sounded pretty fantastic.  But after watching it once, it's unlikely to get much of a workout.

Spoiler Laden Thoughts
There are a couple plot points I'd like to mention, and they are definitely spoilers if you haven't watched the film.








Okay, I know Bond films aren't usually the best written, tightest plots.  But there were two things that really jumped out at me here, and are worth mentioning.  First, when the DNA alterations occurred on our villain, what happened to his martial arts training?  It seemed as though he went from Jet Li to John Saxon with the face change.

But the one thing that really bugged me, buzzing around me like a damn mosquito on steriods, was Bond's inability to realize who the traitor was.  Okay, let's see - the Icelandic diamond man has himself a right hand girl who also is an agent.  She's been watching him for several months.  She says he's an alright kind of guy.  Bond knows better.  Bond knows he's really the big bad North Korean, transformed into a fascist of a different color.  Bond also knows that someone in his agency is working with him.  Gee, could it be THE AGENT HE'S BEEN WITH FOR THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS?  Oh well - I guess Bond always did have a weakness for the ladies.

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