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Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Superficial Bond Reviews --- #18: Tomorrow Never Dies

Disclaimer: This Bond Review and (almost) every Bond Review following this one, will be extra superficial, due to the indisputable fact that the Bond series peaked with Goldeneye, and any further in-depth analysis of the franchise will thus be viewed as meaningless.
* So Tomorrow Never Dies, eh? Woo hoo!
There's a nuclear threat in here, and that's good. International intrigue is what I like to see, and that always comes with nuclear missiles. Chinese and Brits and Americans and whatever, just aching to nuke the shit out of each other - that's Bond territory.

* Alarm bells are ringing when James Bond shows himself and punches out some cigarette smoking bad guy and simply goes: "filthy habit".
What? No! You smoke, man. You are a smoker! What does this mean? Are they trying to tell us that Bond never smoked? Or even worse - did Bond quit, and then became an asshole about it? Either way, it's a load of politically correct crap that doesn't belong here.
And what's with the line "filthy habit"? What was the writer thinking? That's not a dry, witty quip - it's just a humorless statement. No word play, no nothing.
Humorless and politically correct. Sheesh, I can't wait for the rest of this movie.

* The main bad guy, Elliot Carver, is a mean-spirited media mogul, and the movie seems to try to make some kind of statement about media manipulation, I guess.
It's hard to be sure, because Jonathan Pryce overacts so badly that I have a hard time focusing on anything else than his ridiculously arched eyebrow. Yes, he actually does the villain arch - perhaps he thought he was in Spy Kids, and not in a Bond movie.
Thankfully for him, he's surrounded by other, useless people - like the overacting Dr. Kaufmann, who belongs in an Indiana Jones movie; and the spray-tan robo-Kraut named Stamper, who really belongs in the German techno band Scooter.

* Along with the overacting comes the over-ridiculousness (ahem) that is often expected in Bond movies. There's a stealth boat, which I guess is OK, but then there's this stupid super-drill that chews its way through ships' hulls and seems to operate outside the laws of physics. Whenever I see that thing, I arch my eyebrow in disbelief, like some kind of Spy Kids villain.

* Teri Hatcher somehow pops up in TND, and we're told that she and Bond had a deep and meaningful love affair once upon a time. I have an easier time believing in an anti-gravity super-drill, especially when I notice how saggy Hatcher has become.
An actress nobody has given a crap about since she hung around with the dude with his underpants on the outside. Great casting, people.
Michelle Yeoh, though - she's something quite different. She plays a good, strong, character; she's a gorgeous, elegant woman; she has the ability to kick all kinds of ass.
She could kick Bond's ass (although I have to give props to Brosnan's fighting in here), and she could definitely kick Carver's ass, even if he displays some truly awesome skillz at one point.
Oh, the irony. What may be one of the - if not the - most impressive Bond girl of them all - wasted on a mediocre Bond movie.

Wai Lin: Whose motorcycle is this?
Bond: It's a steam engine, baby.
Wai Lin: Whose steam engine is this?
Bond: STFU already!

* Nobody has understood the significance of the Bondmobile, and I'm getting tired of pointing it out. However, I am also stubborn, so I will go on:
In Tomorrow Never Dies, they're sticking to their whore contract with BMW, and this time, they're taking the full step into lunacy.
Oh, it's not the car per se. It's a really boring model, dull enough that I won't bother looking it up, but still better than the horrible, blue BMW Z3 from Goldeneye. Where that car could've belonged to a dot com billionaire, this model could've belonged to a banker. Bland though it might be, at least it has a really cool remote control function, and its own kickass scene in a parking garage.
No, the true BMW horror comes in the shape of a motorcycle. Bond & babe have this crazy-ass rooftop chase scene on a motorcycle, and what vehicle is chosen for this particular event? Why, if it isn't the largest, clunkiest, least maneuverable lump of metal in the area!
Director: "We need a light and nimble motorcycle for this scene."
BMW guy: "Nein. You vill use tis von right here. Ve pay you."
Director: "Yes, Sir."

When sponsorship starts to interfere with logic and really sticks out in your movie, you might as well step into those pumps and call a whore a whore.

* Oh, and the uninteresting bad guy and the henchman I don't care about probably die in some violent, semi-ironic way that I can't remember.
I bet the goddamn drill is involved somehow.

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