Die Another Day

James Bond returns in an unconvincing digital makeover

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OPENED NOVEMBER 20, CERT 12A, 135 MINS

The 20th Bond film (and Brosnan’s fourth) is a curious affair. On the one hand, Brosnan’s portrayal of Her Majesty’s favourite assassin goes from strength to strength. He’s still the big-screen secret agent to beat and the only Bond to matter since Connery. On the other, Kiwi director Lee Tamahori plays to very few of Brosnan’s strengths, burying the Irish charmer under (quite literally) a tidal wave of digital effects.

As with previous Brosnan outings, Die Another Day opens promisingly with some robust pre-credits stuntwork and an intriguing first half hour: Bond is abandoned by Judi Dench’s hard-faced M and left for dead in a North Korean prison. However, once our tortured hero is released and goes after evil megalomaniac Gustav Graves (a splendid Toby Stephens, looking every bit like the snarling bastard son of Patrick McGoohan), the action descends into a relentless orgy of computer-generated set-pieces that transform Die Another Day into the least believable Bond since Moonraker. An interesting attempt to update the Fleming formula, but a failure nonetheless.

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