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(1997) (Pierce Brosnan, Michelle Yeoh) (PG-13)

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Action/Adventure: British secret agent James Bond must stop a power hungry media mogul from starting an international war.
Elliot Carver (JONATHAN PRYCE) is a powerful media mogul who's about to launch his Satellite News Network around the world. Needing a story to headline the big event, he decides to instigate a global conflict to boost his ratings. Sinking a British naval frigate and making it appear that the Chinese military was responsible, Carver poises the two countries at the brink of war. The British send their naval fleet toward China, and give "M" (JUDI DENCH), the head of British Intelligence, forty-eight hours to figure out what's going on before they retaliate.

She puts her best agent, James Bond (PIERCE BROSNAN), on the job. Bond, it seems, had a previous romance with Carver's wife, Paris (TERI HATCHER), and he meets her at Carver's inaugural festivities. Carver suspects Bond isn't the banker he claims he is, and thus has Mr. Stamper (GOTZ OTTO), his head of security, and his other henchmen rough up Bond. Agent 007 escapes, however, and eventually teams up with Chinese agent Wai Lin (MICHELLE YEOH).

Working together they have many close calls, but fortunately "Q" (DESMOND LLEWELYN) has outfitted Bond with many useful gadgets and weapons that allow them to escape. They discover that Carver's techno terrorist, Gupta (RICKY JAY), has prepared a missile to strike Beijing that's destructive force will eventually lead to Carver's complete media control in China. As Bond and Wai Lin face ever increasing dangers, they get closer to finding Carver and stopping his plan.

If they're fans of other James Bond movies, they probably will. Teri Hatcher (from TV's "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman") may also draw in male teenage viewers.
For intense sequences of action violence, sexuality and innuendo.
  • PIERCE BROSNAN plays the secret agent who drinks a little and fools around with the women, but mainly fights and kills many of the bad guys to prevent war from breaking out.
  • MICHELLE YEOH plays a Chinese agent who also fights and kills several people and is a take charge type of woman.
  • JONATHAN PRYCE plays a power hungry media mogul who nearly starts a war and kills many people just so that he can boost the ratings for his new satellite news network.


    OUR TAKE: 7 out of 10
    Here's the recipe for making the longest running movie series in cinema history. Take one sexy, debonair British secret agent and throw in several beautiful, often exotic women for him to bed. Add a dash of bosses who only use initials for names, and mix in a secretary (now personal assistant) named Moneypenny. Stir in liberal amounts of cool gadgets, cars, and exciting stunts. The yield: One James Bond movie.

    For the past thirty-five years, audiences have delighted in watching Bond beat the bad guys, seduce the women, and always manage to escape a wide variety of dangers to return again and again for more international action-adventures. That pretty much sums up this, the eighteenth installment of the Bond series, "Tomorrow Never Dies," and this latest offering should please its fans.

    Pierce Brosnan returns for his sophomore outing as 007, and seems more at ease with the role than he did in 1995's "Goldeneye." While the argument will never cease regarding who is or was the best at playing Bond, Brosnan is the man now, so everyone out there accept it and give it a rest. Still -- and quite amazingly for the series -- he's the sixth actor to inhabit the role (after Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and...David Niven in the Bond spoof "Casino Royale" -- at least we didn't include Woody Allen who played Jimmy Bond in that same film) and he's definitely one of the best.

    Brosnan proves again that he's much better than the previous Bond -- Dalton -- who was too serious and often looked stiff playing the secret agent. What he brings to the screen is more of a human Bond, one that does get beaten and scuffed up, and who needs a drink after a serious fight. Of course that doesn't mean he's sore or bruised afterwards, but at least he's not so much the impervious agent as in the past. Interestingly, had it not been for contractual problems back in the 80's, this would probably have been Brosnan's fourth time playing 007, but his role on the TV show "Remington Steele" got in his way. Being such a good fit in the part, however, Brosnan probably has the role to himself until he grows tired of playing it.

    Teri Hatcher and Michelle Yeoh fill the shoes of the likes of Ursula Andress ("Dr. No"), Maud Adams (three Bond films), Jill St. John ("Diamond Are Forever"), Britt Eckland ("The Man With The Golden Gun") and many other women Bond has seduced or been seduced by over the years. Hatcher (of TV's "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman") isn't given much to do other than look pretty, and surprisingly leaves the picture rather early on.

    Yeoh, on the other hand, pumps some new energy into the series. A Hong Kong actress with plenty of action/martial arts films under her belt, she's best known in the U.S. for co-starring with Jackie Chan (and doing her own stunts) in "Supercop" (where she went by the name Michelle Khan). As she proved with Jackie, not only can she hold her own, but she's probably the most beautiful female action star in the business. Hmmm, I wonder why they picked her for a James Bond movie.

    Judi Dench and Desmond Llewelyn return as the characters "M" and "Q" respectively, with Dench returning with Brosnan for the sophomore take, and Llewelyn making this sixteenth appearance as Bond's gadget and weapons expert. With "Q" come the gadgets, and Bond's best for this movie is a remote controlled new BMW. Equipped with a literally shocking security system, Bond can drive the car from both inside as well as outside it. In one of the film's more thrilling moments, Bond tries to drive the car out of a parking garage (using just a touch pad remote control) while avoiding the many bad guys -- most of the time from the backseat.

    Being a Bond film, there also have to be many wild stunts, and this film is certainly filled with them. Most fun is a sequence where Brosnan and Yeoh -- who are handcuffed to each other -- must drive a motorcycle through the streets of Saigon while avoiding gunmen and a pursuing helicopter. Since they're connected at the wrist, they must ride with both driving with one hand each, or with her straddling his lap watching for the pursuers behind them. The sequence is quite thrilling and funny at the same time. With the appearance of Yeoh, some martial arts scenes had to be added and they're quite exhilarating as well, and would certainly make Jackie Chan proud.

    There are also some humorous moments, with the film taking obvious pot shots at real-life media mogul Rupert Murdoch (head of rival movie studio, 20th Century Fox) with Carver having lines such as "There's no news like bad news." You can almost see him thinking of a Fox-like exploitive TV show, "When Animals Attack James Bond." Microsoft's main man, Bill Gates, is not beyond reproach either, and one moment skewers him as well. When Carver asks a computer programmer whether a software program is ready for delivery, the man says that it is, but it's also purposefully filled with "bugs" so that users will have to upgrade year after year. There are also a few double entendres and lines of sexual innuendo, but surprisingly not as many as in previous efforts.

    What's more evident are the obvious product placements (another way a movie can get necessary production funds). Besides the obvious BMW plugs (in motorcycle and car form -- the latter from Avis Rent A Car), there's Bond's Ericcson phone, his Smirnoff vodka, and brief glimpses of an Omega watch as well as Heineken beer. What's missing is the Visa check card (recently seen in heavy co-promotional TV ads), although at one point Bond does ask Wai Lin whether a person who wants $5,000 accepts checks.

    Helmed by director Roger Spottiswoode (who's last well known theatrical release was Sly Stallone's "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot"), the film certainly isn't as good as the old classic Bond films with Connery or yes, even Roger Moore (the early ones). The plot, with Jonathan Pryce as a media mogul wanting to start a war just to get a higher audience share is a bit thin and silly. Nonetheless, it serves its purpose for moving the story along and allowing all of the traditional Bond elements to be utilized.

    Being the eighteenth installment, and with nearly every variation of villain, story, and gadget having previously been used, the film has its work cut out for it. Yet "Tomorrow Never Dies" still manages to be entertaining. Perhaps that's because the audience knows what to expect from a Bond film and as long as it delivers a close semblance of that, we'll be satisfied. Sure it's goofy, outrageous, and nowhere near realistic. That's what makes it so much fun, however, and fans of the series should find this to their liking. We give "Tomorrow Never Dies" a 7 out of 10.

    If you've seen any other James Bond film, then you'll pretty much know what to expect from this latest entry. Bond drinks a little, fools around with the women a little more, but mainly fights and kills many bad guys. While there's little bloodletting (as in most other Bond films), the level of violence seems to have been stepped up in this film. Many scenes are riddled with the firing of machine guns and other weapons when the characters aren't punching or kicking the daylights out of each other.

    Some scenes may prove rather suspenseful for some viewers, but there's nothing that's frightening -- it all comes from action-oriented events. Like other Bond films, the profanity is rather light, and while there is some sexual innuendo and activity, it's pretty tame compared with what's seen in similar action films. Still, since many teens will probably want to see this film, you should look through the material to make sure it's appropriate for them or anyone else in your family.

  • We see two glasses of wine or champagne near a bed that Bond's in with a woman.
  • People drink at Carver's reception and Bond has a martini while Paris has champagne.
  • Bond drinks several shots of vodka after getting beaten up.
  • Bond finds what appears to be drugs in a wall safe (very briefly seen cocaine or perhaps heroin).
  • We see several dead bodies throughout the film.
  • Bond is a little bloody after a fight.
  • A man is killed in a printing press and we see his blood on the papers flowing through it.
  • We briefly see a shot of some blood after a throwing star has impaled a man.
  • Bond has a few slight bloody scratches on his face.
  • A man's arm is bloody while fighting with Bond.
  • Obviously Carver and his men have both as they prepare to have the world go to war just to give them higher ratings and worldwide media control. By doing so, they're responsible for many deaths.
  • Viewers may find scenes listed under "Violence" as tense.
  • Bond must get away from a weapons "bazaar" before an incoming missile destroys the area and sets off several nuclear weapons. He takes the jet they're attached to and must not only avoid the incoming missile and another fighter, but also the copilot of the plane he's flying.
  • There are several scenes where Bond sneaks around offices or buildings and may be caught at any moment.
  • There are also many scenes where Bond is pursued by the villains that come off as quite suspenseful (in an action oriented way).
  • A self-proclaimed assassin confronts Bond and prepares to shoot him.
  • Bond and Wai Lin find themselves trapped underwater in a sunken ship.
  • Bond and Wai Lin hold onto a torn away strip of a several story banner on the outside of a building that's ripping down toward its end.
  • A helicopter aims its blades down at Bond and Wail Lin who must avoid being hit by them.
  • Bond fights with a bad guy while Wai Lin is trapped underwater.
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Knives/Spear Gun/Grenades/Missiles/Various other explosive devices: Used to threaten, injure or kill many people. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "Balls" (testicles) and "Bastard."
  • Some kids may want to imitate all of the fighting and shooting in the movie (particularly Michelle Yeoh's martial arts moves).
  • None.
  • There's a moderate amount of action-oriented suspense music throughout many scenes in the film.
  • None.
  • 1 possible "s" word, 7 hells, 2 damns, and 1 use each of "Oh my God," "Christ," and "Jesus" as exclamations.
  • There's the standard Bond opening credits scene where scantily clad or nude women (with designs "painted" onto their bodies to partially cloak their nudity) dance during the credits. Due to the lighting, etc... not much is really seen.
  • We see Bond in bed with a woman and their bodies are intertwined, but we can't see anything due to strategic positioning of their sheets. When she (a professor) tells him that he's progressed quite well, he says that he's always enjoyed "studying a new tongue." Moneypenny then tells him on the phone, "You were always a cunning linguist, James."
  • Paris and other women show some cleavage in the dresses they wear.
  • Bond and Paris kiss and he undoes her dress, revealing her in just her black underwear and garters (seen from behind). Although we don't see anything else, it's implied that they have sex.
  • When Bond tells M he's not sure whether Paris remembers him, she says, "Remind her. Pump her for information." Ms. Moneypenny then chimes in, "You only need to figure out how much 'pumping' is needed" (sexual innuendo).
  • We see the bare butt of a child who's being bathed in an outdoor area while we somewhat see Wai Lin's breasts through her wet shirt as she and Bond cool off in an outdoor shower.
  • A Russian man smokes, as does a security guard later in the movie.
  • None.
  • Media moguls and their influence over what we hear and consequently believe.
  • Bond knocks out several men and shoots at others as he gets into a jet fighter. Several explosions blow up equipment and vehicles, and Bond fires the jet's machine guns at people and more vehicles, resulting in many deaths. He fires several missiles that do the same and then an incoming missile blows up the entire area.
  • Bond then avoids another fighter that fires on him, and must deal with the copilot in his plane who tries to strangle him. He ends up killing both assailants.
  • A guided steel-toothed torpedo chews its way through a ship and its many decks, resulting in the ship sinking and some sailors dying.
  • A jet fighter is blown up with a missile.
  • Mr. Stamper uses a machine gun to shoot the survivors of a ship that's recently sunk.
  • Paris smacks Bond when she sees him for the first time in many years.
  • Some men attack Bond in a soundproof room. One hits him with a baseball bat while others kick him on the ground. He eventually fights back and beats up all of them, sending one crashing through the large glass window.
  • Carver's men open fire on Bond with machine guns in an office building where he fights with several of them.
  • James finds that Paris is dead.
  • Carver's men fire machine guns and use sledgehammers on Bond's BMW, but without success.
  • An assassin is shocked by Bond's gadget/phone. Bond then shoots the man dead.
  • Bond fires missiles from his car into other cars, blowing them up. Others fire machine guns, as well as a rocket, at Bond's car, blowing up others.
  • Mr. Stamper shoots a fisherman with a spear gun.
  • Bond and Wai Lin fight several more people who fire machine guns back at them. While doing so, Bond stabs Mr. Stamper in the leg.
  • Carver's men fire at Bond and Wai Lin as they ride on one motorcycle and are chased by a helicopter that eventually crashes and blows up.
  • Wai Lin uses martial arts to fight several men where they throw many punches and kicks.
  • Mr. Stamper grabs Wai Lin and bangs her head on the ceiling.
  • Bond stabs a man with a knife and shoots another with a machine gun.
  • Carver has one of his own men shot (when he no longer needs him) and then a grenade planted by Bond explodes inside a ship.
  • Wai Lin hits a man with a throwing star that impales him.
  • Wai Lin and Bond shoot several more people dead inside a boat.
  • A steel-toothed machine shreds a man (not seen).
  • Bond fights with another man and stabs him several times but the man keeps fighting back.
  • The fire from a launching missile kills a man and a ship is blown up, killing anyone who was left alive inside it.

  • Reviewed December 15, 1997

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