Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Will The Real James Bond Stand Up Part V-Pierce Brosnan’s “Die Another Day” (2002)-A Film Review

Will The Real James Bond Stand Up Part V-Pierce Brosnan’s “Die Another Day” (2002)-A Film Review 

DVD Review

By former Associate Film Critic Alden Riley

Die Another Day, starring Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry 2002      

I have been warned off, warned off complaining about the loss of my hard-fought for title of Associate Film Critic which was leading me with Sandy Salmon’s retirement to being the Senior Film Critic pretty soon. As anybody who has been paying attention to this space now knows there has been a just completed internal power struggle and the creation of a new regime under the leadership of site manager Greg Green. Greg, although fobbing off the decision officially on his rubber-stamp Editorial Board, has abolished titles under some obscure democratic theory that every writer, young or old, male or female, gay or straight, white or not, should just write under their God-given names (his term) and that alone.

That is one thing I have been warned off of talking about in this by-line. The other the current campaign to obliterate the name and the work of the former site manager Allan Jackson in the name of “leaving the past behind,” “moving on” or whatever the day’s excuse for creating non-persons is like this was the old-time Soviet Union and Allan, yes, Allan Jackson, was like his buddy, like some latter day Leon Trotsky knocked off his pedestal by an avenging angel Stalin (and his minions). I said in my last review, my review of beautiful James Bond worthy Pierce Brosnan’s The World Is Not Enough that while the amnesty Sam Lowell negotiated for pieces in the pipeline prior to the agreement lasted I would use this space as a bully pulpit to cry shame on those who want to liquidate the memory of Allan Jackson. (I have also mentioned that due to some crazy things Allan did to me, made me do, last year out of hubris there was no love lost when he went into exile rumored to be out in Utah somewhere after the purge so this is bigger than a personal issue, a lot bigger.)          

Here’s the funny part, not laughter funny either I was not warmed off by Greg Green. Greg wouldn’t do that he would have one of his lackeys on the Ed Board like Lenny Lynch or “Timid” Timmy Walton give the axe. No I was warned off by Sandy Salmon, warned off by none other than my old “boss” and fellow combative in this so-called titanic struggle between my sweet baby James Pierce Brosnan and his hoary old goat ready for assisted living quarters Sean Connery Bond, the guy who started the whole twenty-plus episodes back in 1949 or some time like that. Sandy, an old defender of Allan Jackson in the internal fight, apparently has gotten weepy Sean Connery-like now that Greg and the toadies have pulled the hammer down. Have implied you are either with us or against us and if you are against us then you will have fun reviewing re-runs of I Love Lucy or worse reviewing super-hero comic book figures made into films. Whatever, I will not bow until I am sure that the amnesty is over and I have to toe the line, or else. And maybe I will take the “or else” road.    

I will never forget that Sandy had taken my side on one of the immediate causes of the internal fight last year when Allan had gone over his head and ordered me to write a stinking review about a has-been blues singer, a girl from Texas, Janis Joplin, whom I had never heard of but who was supposed to be some mover and shaker in the 1960s when a lot of the older writers for this blog got their starts in life-and never forgot it or let us forget it. But this warning off business is way beyond his grade level-now. I won’t say more but it is rather indicative that Sandy’s bowing down to the powers that be now kind of puts paid to his devotion to the old tiger Sean as Bond, James Bond.

In any case I have review to do and I might as well get to it. Although both Sandy and I should be heartily fed-up with this by now pabulum Bond series since with the exception of a few name and bad guy organization changes, a few less dumb but beautiful young women who last read a book in about 1980 and more agent-like women, a sea-change number of high tech gizmos and a revolving door of male stars to carry the water in the role they are all the fucking same. The same no matter how much dough, moola, kale, they make for their production companies.     

Take this 2002, damn I almost forgot the name, Die Another Day, too bad they couldn’t fork up some script-writer dough for some real title better than grade school choices. That 2002 should ring a bell since that is post-9/11 axis of evil time with one of those axes being North Korea this time rather than the old tired out Soviet Union-China-SPECTRE bashing. Here a rogue Harvard-educated, that tells a lot, North Korean colonel named Moon with influence in high places is running a scam operation to deal with conflict diamonds in order to amass a ton of dough to act the rich spoiled boy wonder of the world. He is aided by his comrade the nefarious Zao. This pair is on Mister Bond’s hit list since they have had him captured, imprisoned and tortured to perdition for fourteen months. The big story here though is that Jimmy has been betrayed by somebody in MI6, been done in by one his own. He righteously seeks revenge and maybe stop the conflict diamond trade and save the known world in the bargain.

When that Colonel Moon and Zao disappear (you can see the film if you want to know how and why) after a losing fight with Jimbo they reappear in Cuba (always need to the get the commie, even if tame commie angle in these never forget the Cold War that spawned you sagas) with genetically altered faces, more Western less Asia faces, to start their activities to destroy Western Civilization as we know it. Of course these post-World War II days dinky shrunken British Empire secret agents don’t have that game to themselves. The NSA have their agent, beautiful, smart, resourceful and bed-worthy under the silky sheets Jinx, played by foxy Halle Berry on the case. (You don’t even have to ask whether James and Jinx hit the sheets nor do you have to ask whether his female adversary, he MI6 agent who betrayed him, who is helping the Colonel and Zao is to be found in his bed since our James is an equal opportunity bed-mate.)

The long and short of it is the Colonel and Zao (and their female playmate) all go down in the mud after a million fights, scrapes, collisions and those best laid plans of mice and men of Colonel Moon and his cadre go asunder. As James and Jinx go under. Here’s Pierce’s beauty. Who wouldn’t go crazy to have a secret agent who can surf, fly an airplane, or any flying object, a hovercraft, ski, leap tall buildings at a single bound, drive every kind of exotic car, hold his breathe forever under water, drink hard liquor, hit the sheets with smart and/or evil women and never put in an expense account. All for her majesty. Sean would go dizzy just thinking about that, except maybe to hit on that eye candy who hasn’t read a book since 1949.       

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