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
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
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
"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