Tomorrow Never Dies
"Tomorrow Never Dies" is a good Bond movie, but a better action movie."
- James H.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Producer: Barbara Broccoli, Anthony Waye (line), Michael G. Wilson
Writer: Bruce Feirstein
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher, Ricky Jay, Götz Otto, Joe Don Baker, Vincent Schiavelli, Judi Dench, Desmond Llewelyn
Running Time: 119 min.
Plot: A British Naval frigate is lost inside Chinese territorial waters. In one of the most potentially explosive incidents of the late 20th century, international tensions soar. The slightest wrong move could bring devastation all over the globe.
Elliot Carver could not have planned a better way to boost ratings and secure new markets for his global satellite television network. In fact, Carver - who prefers to create the news rather than report it - is in possession of the vital navigational instrument that triggered the incident. And he's not giving it back. If tensions should escalate to all-out war, ratings would go through the roof. Carver's global daily paper and satellite television system would make him the ultimate media overlord for the new millennium. Unfortunately for Carver, someone is watching. Despite all his shadowy maneuverings, only one man is capable of stopping this deviant plot and change the course of history in the name of profit and power. His name? Bond. James Bond.
JAMES H'S REVIEW: I'm torn. I don't know how to review this film. Do I look at it from an HK film standpoint' Or a Bond film standpoint' I think I'll go with the latter.
"Tomorrow Never Dies" is the second Bond film starring Pierce Brosnan. The plot concerns a media mogul, played wonderfully by Jonathan Pryce ("Brazil", "Evita"), who wants to start Word War III so he can get higher ratings. It is Bond's job to thwart him.
By this point, Brosnan seems to be more comfortable with the character than he did in the previous film, "GoldenEye". Bond has now become his own, adding elements of Connery and Moore. As Bond, he's not as good as Connery, better than Moore and on par with Dalton (although very different).
The supporting cast is very good too. As I mentioned, Pryce is great as the eccentric and maniacal Elliot Carver. Teri Hatcher (of "Lois & Clark" 'fame') plays an old lover of Bond's who is now married to Carver. It's good thing she's not in it very long, because her acting skills are less than great. She does, however, do great job of looking pretty.
But it is Michelle Yeoh, from "Police Story III" and "Wing Chun", who steals the show (and thus fulfills the HK requirements which allows this film to be a part of this site). She and Brosnan have great chemistry (unlike he and Izabella Scorupco in "GoldenEye"). Yeoh plays Wai Lin, Bond's counterpart from the People's Republic of China. The two actors have great scenes together, and Yeoh even has her own scene to showcase her talent as an action hero.
Speaking of action, there's plenty of it in this film. Almost too much. The writers seem to go a bit overboard at the end, the finale does rag on just a little bit. The car chase in the parking garage is fantastic, though unbelievable. There are some really good shootouts in the film. As an experienced director, Spottiswoode knows what he's doing. The film is slick and fast paced.
I'm glad David Arnold was given the chance to do the score for this film. "Tomorrow Never Dies" is the first Bond film in a while to have a traditionally Bond-sounding score. Arnold mixes familiar Bond themes with a techno/electronica beat, and it sounds better than ever.
Now a word or two on the DVD. I purchased the Special Edition DVD, which is loaded with extras. Not only does it contain the widescreen version of the film (in Dolby Digital 5.1 no less), but it has two audio commentaries, an isolated music track, two trailers, a music video (albeit a crappy one) and a 45-minute documentary-type featurette on 007. It looks and sounds great, although not as good as the "GoldenEye" DVD. Pick it up if you get the chance.
"Tomorrow Never Dies" is a good Bond movie, but a better action movie. All of the usual elements we've come to expect are here: Q, Moneypenny, M, fast cars, gadgets, beautiful women. The only problem is that it's all formulaic and been done many times before, but it is done expertly.
JAMES H'S RATING: 8/10