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Tomorrow Never Dies

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Tomorrow Never Dies

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Michelle Yeoh
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 119 Minutes
Release Date: December 1997
Genres: 007, Action, Suspense, Thriller

*Also starring: Joe Don Baker, Teri Hatcher, Jonathan Pryce, Ricky Jay, Judi Dench, Gotz Otto, Desmond Llewelyn, Vincent Schiavelli

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

In one of the key scenes in the latest Bond movie, Bond's new gadget-laden and remote-controllable BMW engages in a car chase and demolition derby. "Unsafe driving can void your warranty," chirps the car with ironic sincerity.

The beauty of the James Bond films comes from their lack of pretensions. Campy fun from beginning to end, they provide energetic and forgettable entertainment for the masses.

The picture's title, TOMORROW NEVER DIES, makes about as much sense as the movie, which isn't required to make any. Bond films, starring Pierce Brosnan these days, are for showing off whiz-bang technology and for action sequences. They never take themselves seriously, and the dialog, this time by Bruce Feirstein, always has some nice one-liners to tickle your funny bone.

As Elliot "There's no news like bad news" Carver, Jonathan Pryce throws himself into the role of media baron and villain. Not content to report the news, Carver wants to create an incident that might set off a world war just so that he can cover it first when he launches his satellite news service.

(And that's not his only malevolent tendency. "Are we ready to release our new software?" he asks one of his minions, who replies, "Yes sir, and it's full of bugs so we can release upgrades for years." This delicious but out-of-place piece of dialog has little to do with the news business, but it sure did raise the roof in our Silicon Valley audience.)

The original Bond movies were considered sexually daring. Today, they are remarkably tame. With strategically placed bed sheets, with wet tee shirts that are not quite see through, and with camera cutaways just before anything revealing is shown, they stay firmly in the PG-13 rating territory.

With a secret army of Aryans and a Roto-rooter torpedo, Carver tries to make the British and the Chinese each think the other side is making hostile gestures. Bond and Chinese agent Wai Lin, played by martial art, action film star Michelle Yeoh, thwart Carver just in time to save the world. (Gosh, I hope I didn't give away the ending for you.)

"The key to a great story is not what but why," Carter lectures. And the why of any Bond picture is to show how our hero can battle a hundred men and survive. With a bravado motorcycle chase and with non-stop action, director Roger Spottiswoode delivers. The package isn't much, but it is entertaining.

TOMORROW NEVER DIES runs a little too long at 2:03. It is rated PG-13 for violence, mild profanity, and sexual situations, and would be fine for kids around eleven and up.

Copyright 1997 Steve Rhodes

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