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ISSUE 116 VOL 10 PUBLISHED 12/6/2002

Critic's Corner

By Molly Bayrd
Executive Editor

Friday, December 6, 2002

As most James Bond fans know, there is one cardinal rule that prevails over all others when it comes to the sleekly seductive spy: one should never expect much more from the 007 movies than a wildly outrageous plot, fantastic explosions, fabulously gadget-saturated cars and scantily-clad women. If viewers approach the latest installment to the Bond series, "Die Another Day," with this mentality, they'll not be disappointed. In "Day," Pierce Brosnan returns for his fourth try as the sexual innuendo hurling, smooth-operating British agent. Turning out a solid performance that eradicates his poorly acted turn as 007 in 1999’s "The World Is Not Enough," Brosnan establishes himself as the second-best Bond to save the world. Though he will never usurp Sean Connery’s coveted position as the most suave requester of a martini "shaken, not stirred," Brosnan is a dashing and well-suited runner-up. Does anyone even remember George Lazenby, anyway? History has revealed that despite 007's sophisticated, unflappable demeanor and coolness under pressure, he cannot always carry the movie by himself. It goes without saying, then, that the film must include a devastatingly gorgeous, yet gutsy leading lady. Halle Berry fills this role in "Day" with a sharply unabashed attitude as the sleek American agent Jinx. Though she was likely not selected for the role because of her perfectly honed acting talents, Berry is eye-candy with edge; she can still beat up the bad guys with complete finesse in spite of her tight clothes and inappropriate footwear. Perhaps the first Bond girl to use a "yo mama" joke, she is the craziest thing to hit the screen since Pussy Galore in 1964’s "Goldfinger." Reprising her role as Bond’s secretary Moneypenny and stepping into Desmond Llewalyn’s shoes as agent Q are Samantha Bond and John Cleese, respectively. Both actors contribute considerably to the humor of the film; Moneypenny attempts to act upon her longtime infatuation with 007 via a virtual-reality headset, and infallible contraption-creator Q frustratedly dubs James "Double-Oh Zero." Their wisecracking quips create a nice, wholesome buffer amidst the lewd (but expected) double entendres put forth by Berry and Brosnan. The real stars of the film are the amazing cars that pop up in almost all of the locales visited by Bond. Though Zao, one of Bond's arch-nemeses, drives an unbelievable Jaguar (decked to the hilt with weaponry of all sorts), Bond’s is the car that really sticks out. Well, not exactly. The car has invisibility capabilities, so its beauty can only truly be appreciated when the mechanism temporarily fails in a one-on-one car chase with Zao. Still, it is a great concept, right? This movie is pure, unadulterated fun  as long as one is able to suspend disbelief and dispel any personal hopes for an Oscar-worthy screenplay. There are enough explosions, cars and half-naked chicks to make this movie every guy's dream. But ladies, have no fear  even if you do not have that "thing" for Pierce Brosnan, at least you get to watch an ugly guy get "iced." Literally.

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