Flat, distressingly witless -- To put it bluntly -- the thrill is gone. Nobody did it better. But that was then.
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Pierce Brosnan has mastered every smidgen of 007 schtick, making the role more thoroughly his own than any actor since Sean Connery -- still the best of the batch -- decided to call it quits.
Surely it will not be giving things away to tell you there's absolutely nothing new about the latest episode.
Tamahori pumps a tremendous amount of energy into his Bond movie, and it's an electrifying ride.
The result is the niftiest Bond movie in years -- fresh, funny, and jammed to the rafters with demented stunts, Boys'-Own gadgetry and brazen promiscuity.
The many shots of characters operating devices with remote controls will do little to quiet the complaints that the films have started to resemble video games, and the same can be said of the proliferating digital effects.
Every hero needs to be revitalized by a little humiliation, and for at least the first 40 minutes of Die Another Day, Bond's dressing-down seems to do him and the movie franchise a world of good.
Aside from a jarringly fake computer-generated avalanche scene that momentarily challenges the necessary suspension of disbelief, the big-bang set pieces are superbly crafted.
The new movie lacks something, a special something. It's a quality that has characterized some of the best of the first 19 Bond movies: extravagant ludicrousness.
The savviest and most exciting Bond adventure in years, and that's because there's actually something at stake in it.