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Overall Rating
3.23

Awesome: 10.23%
Worth A Look: 25%
Average42.05%
Pretty Bad: 22.73%
Total Crap: 0%

5 reviews, 58 user ratings


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Tomorrow Never Dies
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by Rob Gonsalves

"The usual 007 stuff."
3 stars

Late in 'Tomorrow Never Dies,' the eighteenth James Bond film, my familiar question at every Bond movie arose -- though it was my friend, not me, who posed it.

When Bond (Pierce Brosnan) and his new sidekick Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) had just finished mapping out their strategy, my friend turned to me and said, "Okay, I'm lost what are they gonna do?" Then he answered his own question: "They're gonna go stop the bad guys." Maybe I'm slow, but one of many reasons I'm not a big Bond fan is precisely this: the writers concoct complicated plots (Who's in cahoots with whom? What country are we in now? What exactly does the arch-villain want?) to cover the fact that the 007 films are just a bunch of stunts strung together.

So, okay: As a bunch of stunts strung together, Tomorrow Never Dies isn't bad. The series has found a serviceable 007 in Brosnan, who doesn't make Timothy Dalton's mistake of taking these films too seriously. At the same time, this series serves as a depressing commentary on the state of megabudget action fare: As the genre has gotten cruder and more brutal, so have the Bond films. Long dead is the elegance found in Sean Connery's slow-moving but still entertaining 007 entries. The series has reached the point where a Bond film's simplest, most satisfying moment comes when good old Q (Desmond Llewellyn) breaks out his cool gadgets.

Partly, too, Mike Myers is to blame. I find it hard to buy into 007, even on his own outrageous, borderline campy terms, after Austin Powers so thoroughly lampooned Bond and his imitators. This movie's Dr. Evil is Jonathan Pryce as Elliot Carver, a media mogul who likes to provoke wars and then command full media coverage of the carnage. These post-Cold War villains are getting rather sad, their motivations progressively bland. (No recent Bond villain has matched Adrian Veidt in Alan Moore's 1986 comic book Watchmen, who killed off half of New York with a fake alien landing in order to avert nuclear war.) And let's face it: as a target for satire, the media is so riddled with holes by now that it whistles in a strong wind.

Bond reacquaints himself with old flame Teri Hatcher, who well, don't get too attached to her, put it that way. He also benefits (as does the movie) from the two-fisted help of Michelle Yeoh, an international superstar who gained U.S. cred two summers ago in Supercop. It's great to see Yeoh, but it's also a little discouraging to see her playing a sidekick, however skilled and autonomous, to some mere guy. Give this powerful woman her own movie and let a guy be her sidekick.

Tomorrow Never Dies was directed with no particular flair by Roger Spottiswoode, a once-promising talent (Under Fire) who has resigned himself to impersonal Hollywood stuff. His staging of the action sequences is competent but lacks the snap Martin Campbell brought to GoldenEye. Perhaps the series' most valuable addition is Bruce Feirstein, the humorist who wrote Real Men Don't Eat Quiche and has also worked on the last two Bonds. Feirstein lets characters like Q and Bond's supervisor M (Dame Judi Dench, a welcome injection of cool, intelligent estrogen in this testosterone-drunk series) roll their eyes at Bond's fixation on gadgets, derring-do, and womanizing.

As for that media-evil villain: For a while, Jonathan Pryce seems to be having fun hamming it up, but past a certain point he can't come up with anything fresh, and his performance sputters out. Comparably esteemed British actors can drop into a piece of Hollywood entertainment, relax, and amuse us by amusing themselves (Anthony Hopkins and Jeremy Irons come to mind); perhaps Pryce has trouble letting himself go. He outclasses the movie, and I felt that the vulgar way he's killed off (c'mon, I'm not giving anything away; maybe tomorrow never dies, but Bond villains always do) is fairly insulting. If a villain lives by the media, he should die by the media, not by some big stupid thing that looks like Pac-Man on steroids.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=344&reviewer=416
originally posted: 02/03/07 10:41:01
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell a good bond movie imho 4 stars
7/23/12 Monday Morning They're all starting to look alike. F 'em all! 2 stars
8/30/09 Jeff Wilder Better than Goldeneye. Here we get to the point quickly and Brosnan does good. 4 stars
3/19/09 PAUL SHORTT HEAVY HANDED EXTRAVAGANZA WITH SILLY ONE-LINERS AND A FOOLISH STORY 2 stars
11/10/08 Mark Gibson formula-yes, but at least it occupies 2 hours nicely, villian-terrible. 4 stars
1/21/08 alya de arora i just can say Good Good Good 5 stars
5/08/07 JM Synth A Bond movie which manages to be genuinely bland. One of the very weakest 2 stars
2/18/07 Nick Maday Decent movie, but not one of the better Bond stories. 3 stars
2/16/07 johnnyfog Not bad, despite boring-ass scenes in Japan 3 stars
2/15/07 I Gluck Love Brosnan as Bond, I thought this one was good not great 3 stars
2/03/07 Vip Ebriega Exciting, but lacking on something new 4 stars
1/23/07 Sepi53 Good action, not greatest Bond-film, but Brosnan is good 4 stars
11/11/06 Eden Fairly formulaic. Lacks the energy and style of Goldeneye, has crap villians 3 stars
10/30/06 ProSneakyD Better than goldeneye, a very hi tech bond adventure, but it feels slow & drags on a bit. 4 stars
6/10/06 Yorkee This continues the fresh approach - good effort. 4 stars
5/18/06 Uk_shooter quite a good bond film, but not the best 4 stars
1/03/06 Anthony Feor A good one, but lacking a bit of what Bond is 3 stars
8/26/05 Eden Sometimes gets boring, especially towards the end 3 stars
5/27/05 tony Explosive scenes of martial arts. But sometimes slow. It was an ok film. 3 stars
4/13/05 Indrid Cold Quite weak and forgettable, the villian is oddly unlikeable. 2 stars
2/06/05 Tom Benton Another entertaining, slick and stylish entry in the 007 series ... 3 stars
1/08/05 keithers.. Nice Plot....but starting to slip into die hard style.... 4 stars
8/31/04 R.W. Welch Evil genius out to destroy the world for his own gain, etc.,etc. 3 stars
7/18/04 Daveman Mind-numbingly superificial but at least it's more entertaining than subsequent Bond films. 2 stars
5/08/04 Littlepurch. Not the best but gd. Brosnan says he wants 2 work wif that woman again, I can see why! 4 stars
11/29/03 john a sadly uninspired Bond film 2 stars
11/21/03 rony i never watch james bond, but this ONE I watched for Michelle Yeoh!!!go yeoh!!go yeoh!!^_^ 5 stars
8/02/03 Stefan Halka This film proves that there is more to an action film than action. Like a plot. 3 stars
7/06/03 Paul S. Magic moments: Michelle Yeoh walking down a wall, Yeoh kicking arse, Yeoh`s Q-scene, Yeoh. 5 stars
5/16/03 mr. Pink Okay. not bad. Quite entertaining. Bla-bla-bla 3 stars
1/22/03 Angolmois Bond movies were always shallow, but this one scrapes the bottom of the barrel. 2 stars
12/04/02 Jiz Brosnan's best. The partner thing actually worked, and Stamper's a real badass 5 stars
9/17/02 CVJ Not a very good bond at all Brosnans worst 2 stars
3/02/02 Alan Smithee One of the more underrated bond films. Michelle Yeoh is superb. 4 stars
9/20/01 Butterbean Bronson and Dence were brilliant, but the story wore thin 3 stars
9/09/01 Henry Ginsberg Wicked stunts.The end sequence is as good as any. 5 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) The second time is bad, but the next time is better. 3 stars
6/04/01 keith langman alright movie can't recap the original bond movies 3 stars
2/26/01 Bruce My personal favorite Bond film, Michelle Yeoh is awesome 5 stars
2/16/01 Chris Drake Brosnan grew on me:endearing!Yeoh=Wow,dear Pryce needs new dentist.Great action,esp@Saigon 4 stars
12/01/00 joe at least it's better than TWINE 4 stars
10/24/00 Gremlin The plot's so fucking gay it's ridiculous.The only good part was hot-as-hell Terri Hatcher. 2 stars
6/26/00 Naushad Khanji Brosnin is the worst Bond ever!.The formula looks tired. 2 stars
6/24/00 Terrie Smith Predictable but Brosnan and Yeoh work well together 3 stars
5/29/00 Cooke Bond is awesome. 5 stars
11/19/99 bishopj@pumpkinsfan.com Jesus Christ, this was so sucky and predictable. 2 stars
2/09/99 bond some good action scenes, but overall a crap movie 2 stars
1/10/99 Dasha Pierce Brosnan is the best Bond ever, but the movie was average 3 stars
1/09/99 Jo Mama man wants to take over the world...yadda yadda yadda. VERY predictable 2 stars
12/06/98 Ryano Wai Lin=best female character in Bond movie ever. Brosnan=cool. Movie=Top-notch. 5 stars
10/17/98 Sailor Moonn Ate My Balls If you Goldeneye, then this movie is for you. Pierce Brosnan forever! 4 stars
10/01/98 Paul Maki Without Michelle Yeoh where would this movie be. 5 stars
9/25/98 Des Bromilow It's BOND through and through, what more? 4 stars
9/07/98 BBReBozo Michelle Yeoh = 7 bucks from BBReBozo 4 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Some witty dialogue would have helped 007. Plot was idiotic. 3 stars
8/20/98 The Man With The Helmet Teri Hatcher died. Early. Bravisimo. 3 stars
8/17/98 Johny I think Bond only said like 100 words in this film 3 stars
8/17/98 {{{OZ}}} A dumb premise all around. This franchise is dying. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-Dec-1997 (PG-13)

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