By Marc S. Sanders
Pierce Brosnan’s second outing as James Bond is Tomorrow Never Dies and it is his best appearance in the series.
Bond faces off against Elliot Carver (a gleefully bloodthirsty Jonathan Pryce), a global media mogul who enjoys creating worldwide conflict for the best news headlines in print, television and the newfound medium of something called the internet. His pawns are Great Britain and China, and just like any worldwide media mogul he has his own stealth war ship for apprehending missiles and using them against the nations. This ship also has a massive drill that can penetrate a ship’s hull. Oh yeah, Carver also has the means to redirect a sea vessel into enemy territory. Bet Ted Turner or Rupert Murdoch could never do any of these things. Carver also has a big, blond bruiser of a guy called Mr. Stamper (Gotz Otto) – another in a long line of big, blond bruiser guys to face off against 007. Stamper is nothing compared to Robert Shaw in From Russia With Love, though.
Dame Judi Dench is back as M. I like how she holds her own too. As an actor, Dench has such command of any role she plays. If she is in a scene, everyone listens to her primarily. Even in a goofy Bond movie, Dench puts these films above the standard fare.
Teri Hatcher is also good in a small role as Carver’s wife Paris, and a former flame of Bond’s. M encourages Bond to “pump her for information.” Ahem!
With the Brosnan entries from the 90s, the series was updating itself for a more mainstream feel. So the female stand-in is Michelle Yeoh as a Chinese agent named Wai Lin. Yeoh plays one of the best sidekicks/Bond girls of the series. This agent can hold her own while firing off two machine guns, one on each arm and offering up a great display of karate moves. Yeoh works well with Brosnan especially when handcuffed together while riding a BMW motorcycle and evading machine gun toting cars and a massive helicopter terrorizing a bustling Vietnam village. A fantastic sequence.
Before that, Bond pilots his BMW 700 series from his backseat on his cell phone pad, within a parking garage. Bazookas, guns, crowbars, sledgehammers and missiles can’t stop this luxury car though. After all, the Germans do make some of the best automobiles. Another really entertaining action scene.
I think this is a better film than GoldenEye. Brosnan appears more comfortable with the role and his humor is funnier. He rides the motorcycle through a laundry clothesline and Wai Lin tells him to go faster. Bond’s response: “Alright. Keep your shirt on!” I liked it. I was having a good time with the film.
Roger Spottiswoode was the director this time and he does a fine job. All of the action scenes are well orchestrated and edited.
I’ll also give props to Sheryl Crow for her alluringly sexy and haunting title track. I have never forgotten the song since I saw the film.
Tomorrow Never Dies is a great action film worth checking out whether you’re a James Bond fan or not.
I really like this entry.