Tomorrow Never Dies

1997, Movie, PG-13, 119 mins


Kinetic, knowing, crammed with high-tech gadgetry and sophisticated in the most superficial sense of the term: What else could you ask of a James Bond picture? Pierce Brosnan's sophomore effort duplicates the virtues of GOLDENEYE: Hong Kong action legend Michelle Yoeh is a phenomenal addition to the pantheon of Bond girls (Teri Hatcher isn't, but she's dealt with expediently), Jonathan Pryce's villain -- press mogul Elliott Carver -- is shrewdly overwrought and, in a clean break from a disagreeable tradition, the movie actually ends when it's over, rather than dragging viewers through a series of bogus -- sorry, bonus -- climaxes that leave them feeling as though they've been hauled through an explosive wringer. Brosnan's Bond delivers a few of the juvenile one-liners for which the series is famous, but the real humor comes from seeing Bond treated with such withering disdain by his cohorts: Q (Desmond Llewelyn), M (Judi Dench) and Miss Monneypenny (Samantha Bond) treat him as though he were a bright but undisciplined adolescent who needs a firm talking-to. Even Bond's new car talks back to him. The plot involves Carver's attempts to engineer a world crisis that will benefit his global media empire, including a fledgling satellite news network. To that end he and his nefarious cohorts, led by psycho Aryan ubermensch Stamper (Gotz Otto) sink a British naval ship and blame it on the Chinese. Pryce has a fine old time playing media megalomaniac Carver as an ungodly hybrid of Rupert Murdoch and William Randolph Hearst by way of Charles Foster Kane: The highlight of his upstart news network's launch is the reading of Carver's declaration of principles. Ultimately, though, the film is forgettable even by the standards of prefabricated pop ephemera. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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