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More Info:When his top-secret mission is sabotaged, James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) finds himself captured by the enemy, abandoned by MI6 and stripped of his 00-license. Determined to get revenge, Bond goes head-to-head with a sultry spy (Halle Berry), a frosty agent (Rosamund Pike) and a shadowy billionaire (Toby Stephens) whose business is diamonds but whose secret is a diabolical weapon that could bring the world to its knees!
Madonna provides the theme song for "DieAnother Day," and if that's not enough of a clue as to the kind of direction this20th entry in the increasingly irrelevant James Bond series is headed, you shouldalso know that she has a mid-film cameo as a vaguely Sapphic fencing instructor.Normally, the appearance of an act-less like Madonna is a good time to get upand take a whiz. But unfortunately, her appearance heralds the start of the bestscene, a ferocious swordfight between our man Jimmy and Gustav Graves—a crassentrepreneur who makes Richard Branson look like Lee Iacocca. If his alliterativename and the fact that he and 007 duel with proxy phalluses didn't give it away,yes: He's the bad guy.
Or one of them, at least. In a nod to real-world geopoliticalconspiracy, the North Koreans are also up to something. On their behalf we getZao (Zo? Zao. Zo? Zao!), a commie killbot with a unique skin condition—he's gotdiamonds embedded in his face due to an earlier encounter with Bond. A 24-karatmoldy idea in a film full of them. The main other being Halle Berry as an Americanoperative named (wait for it) Jinx. It's a fitting handle, since as in anotherrecent film, Berry is clad in a leather jumpsuit and has the mutant ability tocontrol weather. Indeed, she makes every scene she's in feel like an ice age.
That said, we are treated to one nice new hook early in the flick, when 007 iscaptured and sustains over a year of torture. Something we haven't seen before,unless you count Roger Moore's appearance in the Spice Girls movie. Once released,007 finds he's no longer needed by British intelligence and becomes a rogue agent.It's a nifty premise that never pays off.
Sure, it's a lot more interesting thanthe premise of "Agent Cody Banks," in which the CIA trains a teenage operativefor use in the field. But if the central conceit of "Banks" seems a little silly(or tautological, given the recent success of the "Spy Kids" franchise), knowthis: It's actually no sillier than the plot of "Die Another Day." As for tautology,the Bond film knows a little something about that. After all, this is a film thathas the unmitigated gall to employ a giant spaceborne laser as the bad guy's weapon.For those keeping score at home, Dr. Evil sported the exact same plan in "TheSpy Who Shagged Me," only with air quotes. The circle, like the man said, is nowcomplete.
So here's Frankie Muniz as Malcolm in the middle of extreme intrigue,dude. We've got all the Bond tropes in full effect, from the visit to a Q-likegadget guru (Darrell Hammond) to the casino scene (it's with play money) to thedisfigured henchman, the secret lab break-in via air duct, and the useless monorailtransports in the villain's lair.
Even if all of this sounds painfully familiar,it's paced and plotted with more care than any Brosnan-era Bondage. We even getthe groovy babies: For the kids, there's Disney hatchling Hilary Duff, and cladin a collection of dynamite push-up bras and mod pantsuits, mesquite-toned fembotAngie Harmon. She plays Cody's "handler"-a role whose sole purpose is to distractdads from Ms. Duff's preternatural cleavage. Nowhere near as fun or inventiveas the "Spy Kids" pics, but ages 00 through seven will find it shagadelic. Oddlyenough, Madonna is listed as one of the producers. Let's see MI6 get to the bottomof that mystery.