a critiQal film review Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

  • DVD
  • Blu-Ray

Plot: Media mogul Elliot Carver (Pryce) wants his news empire to reach every country on the globe, but the Chinese government will not allow him to broadcast there. Carver doesn't take no for an answer and plans to use his media empire to fuel flames of war between the Western world and China. Thankfully, James Bond (Brosnan) is on to the insane news tycoon and travels to China to stop him with the help of Chinese secret agent Wai Lin (Yeoh).

Reviewed
460 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 18s)

With the latest Bond movie (Spectre (2015)) now available to own, we decided to go back and review another Bond film. But which one? Thanks to Amazon Prime, we settled on Tomorrow Never Dies (since it showed up first). Would Pierce Brosnan’s 2nd outing as the famous spy be as entertaining as the first?

Pierce Brosnan, since back in his “Remington Steele” (TV) days, has always seemed a shoo-in as Bond. Suave and sophisticated, he seems to embody the cool charm that previous Bonds like Sean Connery exuded. Having him play the iconic spy seemed like a dream come true for fellow 80’s youths. Thankfully, he doesn’t disappoint in this 2nd outing, playing Bond to a tee. His forays are a bit reminiscent of the old days of Bond, as his quiet, collected exterior belies the weapon he actually is. He can charm his way through situation after situation, and even the villains are surprised with his calm.

The Bond girls step it up a notch in Tomorrow Never Dies. While Teri Hatcher plays her part just like the Bond girls of yore, Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)) steps up and actually contributes a great deal to the action portion. Rather than just being more arm candy for Bond, she kicks butt and takes names right alongside him. That follows a pattern with Brosnan’s Bond. Unlike previous versions (aside from the rather manly Grace Jones in A View to a Kill (1985)), these Bond films have no problem with putting a woman in the action, having her old her own, and bringing her own style to the films. Sadly, that has seem to fallen by the wayside in Daniel Craig’s Bond films, and it’s a big piece of what’s missing in those films.

The villain, unfortunately, is a bit of a joke. While Sean Bean was able to provide a formidable foe for Bond in GoldenEye (1995), Jonathan Pryce’s Elliot Carver is a bit of a joke. A nerd at heart, his dreams of global dominion in the press seem rather ridiculous. It’s only his grunt worker, Stamper (played by unknown Gotz Otto) that really seems to be a threat for Bond. Thankfully, he manages to be the evil henchman the film needs, and makes up for Pryce’s wimpy character.

While the storyline of a media mogul trying to take over the world seems a bit more appropriate these days (ahem…Trump), it still seems like a rather thin plot for a Bond flick. Thankfully, the addition of the strong Michelle Yeoh and the action-packed sequences Bond fans look for, help to make the film worth watching. With the debonair Brosnan at the heart of it, Tomorrow Never Dies, will have viewers fondly remembering the pre-Craig Bond days…and wishing Brosnan was still in the role.

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