“Tomorrow Never Dies”
Bond: Pierce Brosnan
Classic, Cheese, or Crap?: CRAP
“Tomorrow Never Dies” is easily my least favorite Brosnan Bond. I will quickly cede that “Die Another Day” is a worse film (I mean, a MUCH worse film), but that movie has such a cheese factor going for it that I enjoy watching it more.
“Tomorrow Never Dies” is a Bond movie that actively irritates me. One of the few in the series that make me mad. There are a handful of quality elements that are wasted here, and then some things that outright poor. And at the end of the day, it takes itself very seriously, so it’s hard to have fun with it.
My chief complaint with “Tomorrow Never Dies” is the villain, Elliot Carver, played by Jonathan Pryce.
Carver pushes the world to the brink of World War III in order to sell newspapers. Oh, ok, he’s got a whole media conglomerate going, so it’s not just newspapers. But you get the point. Now, granted, he’s certainly not the first Bond Villain to threaten the world for the sake of personal profit… in fact they all do in some way or another. But no one has ever done it in such a petty fashion. Steal a nuke! Build a space laser! Cause an Earthquake! Put fake newspaper headlines out and earn cable tv rights in China?? What the hell is that??! Plus, Pryce seems like a squirmy little toad of a man. Not that a lot of Bond villains could face off against him physically, but it just seems as if he should be an accounting manager and not a villain on a global scale.
My second complaint is Wai Lin, played by Michelle Yeoh.
Now, Yeoh is fine as an actress, (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is one of my favorite movies of all time) and an excellent martial artist. But as a Bond girl? Not so much. That’s not my main complaint though, there are actually plenty of Bond girls who aren’t up to snuff throughout the course of the series.
No, my main complaint is that her character is Bond’s equal in the movie… and in some ways shown to be a better combatant than Bond himself. Bond is and should always be a solo artist (in the field, at least). I don’t need or want to see him “teamed up” with anyone for long. And I especially don’t want to see a scene WITHOUT Bond, like the one we got here where Michelle Yeoh demonstrates her martial arts abilities against like 5 or 6 guys while Bond is offscreen. Bond should never be offscreen during an action sequence, let alone upstaged during an action sequence. I mean, Bond has never been shown to have that kind of fighting prowess. What the hell…
There are things I enjoy about “Tomorrow Never Dies” that keep it from being ranked in my rankings at the bottom of the barrel, though. Chief among them is the all too brief role Terri Hatcher plays as one of the best “Sacrificial Lambs” in the series. She and Brosnan were so excellent together in her few minutes onscreen that I consider not having her as the main Bond Girl in this movie amongst one biggest production gaffes in series history. There’s also a couple of fun moments when Bond is driving a remote control car. And I suppose the Saigon helicopter chase is a decent enough action sequence.
But when you can’t get behind the plot, the villain, the Bond girl, and the tone of the movie (if you’re going to be serious, you have to seriously be good), it’s just too much to overcome. Production values, a couple of cool elements, and Brosnan as Bond save this flick from the bottom of the pile, but this is one of my least favorite Bonds.
Tomorrow may never die, but this flick was DOA.