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Film Review No.192: Die Another Day


I honestly do not know where to start with this one. There’s so many words I could use to describe this film. None of them well be the words “good”, “exceptional”, “beautiful”, “acceptable” or even “below average”. Well I might use the last one if it’s preceded by the word “way”. Click the link to see what words I will use.

Terrible. Atrocious. Offensive. Idiotic. Unbearable. Mindless. Awful. Urine. Shite. Obnoxious. Soul destroying. Flawed. Broken. Worst. Preposterous. Turgid. Stupid. Dumb. Cretinous. Horrible. Horrific. Lowest of the low. Made for morons. Moronic. Star Wars Episode 1 The Phantom Menace. Painful. Embarrassing. Hella-bad. Disappointing. Childhood destroying. Inept. Excrement. Gnesa. Worse than Youtube comments. Lacking. Unbelievable. Am I allowed to say retarded? Messy. Awkward. Unattractive. Worst Bond film in the entire series.

I’m sure I could come up with more words but I have to at least try to be constructive in my criticism. Where possible I will mention things I like about the film. Here is where it is possible. I like that the title credits tell part of the films story, although that is set to easily the worst Bond theme song ever. I like Halle Berry in a Bikini. There’s a lot of references to the old Bond films which is nice. I like the bit where Q (John Cleese now) introduces Bond to his new car and an empty trailer comes out of the tunnel. Right now that’s out of the way lets talk about the film’s plot.

Bond gets captured during a mission in North Korea to bring down a troublemaking General. He spends a year captive being regularly tortured but is eventually traded for another North Korean soldier he had injured during the pre-credits scene with an exploding case full of diamonds. This guy is Zao (Rick Yune) who now has a few diamonds lodged in his face giving him the most fabulous face bling in the world. After Bond is traded he suspects someone within MI6 was behind him getting captured somehow and not just that he got caught. He is told to stay where he is because he’s caused some sort of political mess or something… I dunno. Bond breaks out and heads off to get his revenge on whoever it was behind the thing and then he goes after some diamond maker called Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens) because some of his diamonds turned up in Cuba. Apparently he might be using his Icelandic diamond mine as a front for African conflict diamond laundering. Then stuff blows up and Bond shags Halle Berry and there’s an ice palace base that looks like the Sydney Opera House crossed with the Fortress of Solitude. Graves has some armour thing to give him electric glove hands… for some reason. It’s just stupid. Stuff happens and then there’s action scenes and terrible CGI. Honestly I can’t even pretend this is a real plot.

Bond goes all Grizzly Adams for the first 20 minutes. This has never been a good look for Pierce Brosnan.

I know many Bond films a little preposterous at times but this is just going too far. Spoilers, Gustav Graves is actually the Korean General Bond killed at the start of the film. You won’t believe how he hid his identity. Bond sent him over a waterfall in a hovercraft. This General Moon survived that apparently and decided the best thing to do was… honestly, this is nonsense, have his entire DNA rewritten via some secret medical lab that seems to be offering the service up to the public but no-ones noticed. This DNA rewriting thing doesn’t only change your internal DNA but also your appearance, and so for some reason Moon decided to become this Gustav Graves, claim to find a diamond source in Iceland, use it as a front to launder conflict diamonds, which funds a device that as far as the public are concerned will allow light to be directed from the sun on the other side of the planet to help keep crops growing at night for some reason… Of course the satellite is actually a weapon that fires a giant concentrated sun beam at the Earth. All controlled by his electrocuting power glove armour. Why does that armour exist? I guess maybe he wants to model himself on Bond and so needs his own gadgets. He has a guy who basically acts as Q even. Why go to all this trouble. Why the DNA transplant? Was plastic surgery out of the question? It worked for Blofeld. Hell you can’t just replace someone’s DNA. It will kill them. Painfully. That’s year 3000 science.

Roger Moore went into space and I have an easier time accepting that as a thing that happened than I do the act of replacing someone’s DNA so much that they’re appearance, race and voice entirely change within the course of a year. That’s not the only unbelievable element of this film though. Bond has a new Aston Martin Vanquish… or should I say Vanish! HAR DE HAR HAR!!! The car goes invisible. Ugh. The techno babble used says small camera’s on the car project whatever they film to the opposite side of the car to give the impression of invisibility. What the hell type of space age screens has Q invented that allow images to be projects perfectly, at human eye resolution, on metalwork, glass, plastic and the car’s rubber tyres? When the car is moving wouldn’t the delay between image and projection be enough to destroy the illusion. What kind of computational magic is needed to mirror each side perfectly taking it’s curves into account. How the hell do you make an image appear on a rubber tyre?

The whole film is just a series of gadgets being used by Bond. I like a good Bond gadget but this film just gets silly with them. Bond has gadgets. Jinx (Halle Berry) has gadgets. The villains have gadgets. Zao even has a gadget laden Jaguar to battle Bond in during a sequence that’s looks like a level of Twisted Metal being played out on screen. Pretty much everything in the film is either a gadget, an explosion or a gadget that causes explosions.

Oh yeah that’s totally believable. Looks so real I could touch it. Seriously though, it’s even worse in motion. So here it is…

The film was directed by a fellow called Lee Tamahori who has done such an obnoxious and offensive job here it’s actually put me off seeing his last film, the fairly well received The Devil’s Double. The film is shot how a 5 year old on a sugar high would shoot the film. He does that irritating camera movement you’d associate with the worst music videos where the camera pans around a camera with the image being played at a faster framerate. You know the move I mean. I’m sure there’s a name for it but I intend to never know what it is so I can never find myself suggesting it’s use. He also throws in so awful and blurry slow motion at random intervals. The film feels like it’s constantly seeking attention. As though when there’s an establishing shot that doesn’t involve an explosion some sort of trickery must be employed to ensure that the most moronic of the film’s viewers don’t doze off in that 1 to 2 seconds. And oh my god the CGI. I know it was 2002 when this was made but this was the year Lord of the Rings and Star Wars were pumping out (at the time) mind blowing effects. There’s one sequence where Bond parasail-surfs a huge wave caused by a CGI iceberg and no kidding it looks like it came from one of the Ice Age films, it’s that cartoony.

This is a turgid, horrible mess of a film. Even the gun barrel at the start was done in a needlessly obnoxious manner. The story is nonsense. The suspension of disbelief is pulled further than even Mr Armstrong could go. I mean Stretch, not Lance… or Neil. The villain is a camp attention seeker that has the most stupid of schemes. How do you launch a satellite like the one he does without anyone asking about its potential as a weapon? I can’t fathom how anyone in this film was content saying the piss poor dialogue that they spout over it’s duration. This isn’t a Bond film. It is XXX, you know that awful Vin Diesel film that tried to be an extreme dudebro version of Bond. Except this Bond can’t be accused of cashing in on it because they were made at the same time. This is a Resident Evil, a 2 Fast 2 Furious, an Ultraviolet or Underworld or whatever other brain dead, poorly written filled to the brim with moron baiting noise and stuff that keeps the mindless clapping like the trained seals the movie industry believes they are. By God the people that go see films like those are certainly proving them right. Die Another Day isn’t as awful as say Ultraviolet but it’s so, so close. We live in a time when films as mindless and terrible as the Twilight Saga can make billions, where the Fast And The Furious series has an upcoming 6th entry and a remake of Total Recall is handled by Len Wiseman of all people and yet a great action sci-fi film like Dredd flounders. This is the single worst Bond in the entire franchise. It is Bond for the Michael Bay generation and it’s an insult to the entire series. If nothing else you could use the Blu-ray/DVD disc as a coaster rather than watch this shite. It’s all it is good for.

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About lvl54spacemonkey

Just a dude who likes movies and games and has delusions of working in one of those industries. Write screenplays and work on short films in my spare time. Most of which never get finished. View all posts by lvl54spacemonkey

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