OK, just two more Brosnan Bonds left but I’ve heard these last two are rough-going so I’ll be sipping on some Sierra Nevada Torpedo during this recap to take the edge off. I also have to say that while I think Brosnan is a pretty solid James Bond, the movies he’s appearing in are not particularly good, so that sucks for Brosnan. I’m sure he cries into his money-stuffed pillow every night over it.
We iris-open in on Bond dashing across a street in Bilbao, Spain with the Gehry-designed Art Museum in the background, which is unbelievably beautiful–like a crumpled-up silver piece of paper. And one quick cut later he’s in an office with a bunch of menacing dudes in suits while he enjoys a cigar. It’s some sort of money exchange and Bond makes some sexist quip about checking figures because the accountant is a woman and he’s a pig, and Bond also wants information about who killed some dude. Turns out these are Swiss bankers and Bond gives them some shit while the Swiss banker threatens to kill him over…something. I’m not sure. But whatever, Bond just beats the shit of all of them and holds a gun to the Swiss banker demanding the name of the dude who killed some other dude or whatever. He’s about to tell Bond, but the accountant lady throws a knife into the back of the banker’s neck and runs off. Bond’s about to be shot by another dude but a bullet flies through the window and takes that guy out. So that’s that? I have no idea what’s going on.
It doesn’t matter: Bond ties a rope to one of the fellas he just iced and the other end to himself, smashes open a window with a briefcase full of money, and jumps out the window. The dude wakes up, sees himself being pulled across the room, holds onto a table leg, which snaps, and Bond glides safely down to the street.
At M16 Headquarters in London, Bond stacks fat piles of cash and Moneypenny looks happy to see Bond, going back to their little flirty dynamic. Bond dickishly gives her an empty cigar tube but she throws it in the trash because he’s a dick, and inside M’s office, Sir Robert King and M are enjoying a little laugh when Bond comes in. This is the dude’s money that Bond was retrieving, and M is old pals with this crusty old dean. M pours Bond a drink and she asks what the fudge happened in Bilbao, anyway? Bond says I have no idea, but let’s just keep bulldozing forward with some exposition about pipelines. Bond sees something suspicious on his skin after he gets some of his drink on his fingers and runs to get to the money, which is fucked up in some way. King gets to the money and for some reason his pin activates the money, which explodes. The hole in the wall created by the blast has an assassin shooting into the building from a boat. The assassin lady fires on Bond and blasts off while Bond takes an experimental superjet boat out of Q’s lab to chase after her, leaving Q to shout, “Stop! Stop! It isn’t finished! D’oh,” which is pretty funny.
Just a superspy chasing after an assassin in a jet boat on the Themes, nothing to see here.
So it’s a boat chase on the Themes, and this is very well shot but it’s still a chase scene so what the hell am I going to say about it? Bond’s jet boat is keeping up with the other boat a little too well and they’re splashing a lot of water around. I also didn’t know that London had canals like Venice. Then again, I’ve never been there so how would I? He launches over the boat he’s chasing, doing spins in the air, and the assassin lady starts zooming away because Q’s jet boat is just too damn fast! She starts shooting goddamn charges at Bond’s boat, blowing up a bunch of stuff along the way, and the James Bond music is distracting electro in this scene.
Finally, the assassin’s boat smashes through explosive barrels that halts Bond’s progress seemingly, but he just takes another route. And he splashes some traffic dudes putting a boot on a car because fuck those guys. Launching through a boathouse, onto the street where he has forward momentum despite not having wheels, the cops (I’m sorry, bobbies) start chasing him as he drives through a restaurant, which is ridiculous, and then back on the water he goes. Assassin Lady and Bond go head-to-head as Bond fires fucking torpedoes at her, but she ducks them like aces. They follow her and blow up her boat, but fortunately a balloon is just sitting on the side waiting for her to take off. Bond grabs one of the mooring lines as she takes to the air and she starts firing shots at him. Bond says hey, I’ll help you lady, just tell me who you’re working for, I’ll protect you, trust me guy. She says, “Not from him,” and shoots one of the fuel tanks, blowing herself up. Bond falls and falls and lands on something that he then rolls and rolls down. He finally catches himself on a rope, goes, “Huaah!” and that’s the end of the opening action sequence, which is a really lame ending as far as James Bond openings go.
♬ Up, up and away/My beautiful, my beautiful balloon ♬
The opening credits start and it’s a bunch of naked ladies swimming in and out of lava, which is weird. The song sounds like what a lot of music sounded like in 1999 that wanted to sound like trip-hop but was too pop to do that, so instead it just sounds like how everything on VH1 sounded like back then, which is fine by me because I desperately miss the 90s. I’m wondering who the vocalist is since I can’t place the voice and the opening credits are OK I guess, but again: very 1999. Is it Shirley Manson from Garbage singing? Hey! It is! And in fact, the credit song was by Garbage! Nice. Good job, me.
OK, movie proper begins at a funeral for that Sir King fellow that blew up in the beginning and M is standing there looking mournful. A young lady is there, and it turns out to be King’s daughter, Elektra (GET IT?). At M16 Headquarters, Scotland, which is in a goddamn castle, some chumpy frump starts explaining how Bond realized the money was coated in an explosive material while M looks mortified throughout. All of the agents are wondering who the hot fudge did this, and M says this will not stand, we will not be terrorized, etc. Bond has his arm in a sling and looks similarly dour. Where’s your quip now, Bond? Smug. Everyone gets a dossier except James and this pisses him off, but they say tough luck, Bond, this is because you’re on medical leave.
So Bond goes to a doctor and tries to seduce her to give him a clean bill of health and I guess sexual harassment laws don’t exist for Bond. So this doctor/model starts stripping off clothes and they get down to business. Right after a funeral. Very classy, Bond. Bond comes across Q’s insane lab here at the M16 Scotland HQ and Q is all pissed off because that insane jet boat was supposed to be Q’s retirement fishing boat because Q is going to go hard ‘til the day he dies. Q then introduces Bond to his replacement, who’s John Cleese! Cleese acts very Cleese-like and I don’t mind this replacement because I love John Cleese. Cleese gives Bond some shit, which is nice, and shows off his new sweet ride, the BMW Z8. Q gives Cleese some shit, as well, because Q just can’t stop, won’t stop. Cleese also shows Bond a cool coat that works as a protection sphere and Q just makes Cleese look like an ass because he’s OG. Q says pay attention, 007: I’m retiring. Bond looks genuinely hurt by this pronouncement. Q then presses a button and lowers into the floor. So, goodbye, Q? Me sad now.
RIP Desmond Llwelyn (1914-1999)
Bond’s on a computer watching video of Sir King’s daughter Elektra having escaped a hostage situation some years ago where the ransom was $5 million, and she apparently shot her way out of the situation. Bond thinks this is all kind of suspicious so he checks to see the currency exchange rate between pounds to dollars, which at the time was in the US’s favor, but that has changed these days. Anyway, Bond finds this all suspicious somehow and he goes to M saying there’s something weird going on here. M says shut up, 007, but Bond’s like what the hell happened? M says after Elektra was kidnapped, her father tried to deal with it on his own, but he fucked up so he came to me. Since we don’t negotiate with terrorists, says M, she told King not to pay the ransom. So M used the girl as bait. Bond says the money in King’s briefcase was the exact same amount as the ransom amount for his daughter, and the terrorist is back. I’m not sure what any of this has to do with each other, but I’m also typing while watching this so I’m sure I missed something.
CUT TO some place where they have a hologram of Renard, “The Anarchist,” a chaos-focused terrorist and the dude that kidnapped Elektra. Apparently this dude has a bullet in his head and his senses are all screwed up: no sensation of touch or pain and no need to sleep. I guess getting shot in the head makes you a super-being. So Bond says there’s one person left for this guy to get revenge on: Elektra. Just then, M gets the report that clears Bond for duty by the doctor, which also includes the comment that he has “exceptional stamina,” because there hasn’t been enough sexual punnery happening yet. So anyway, Bond’s sent to Azerbaijan, where Elektra has taken over her father’s construction of something-or-other. Oil derricks? Because all I’m seeing is oil derricks. Oh right, pipelines, I forgot.
Bond zooms down the road in his BMW Z8 and watching a copter with a bunch of giant buzzsaws pruning the trees, and when he reaches his destination, he’s greeted by Ms. King’s security chief, who says they’re having some problems with the locals. I see a bunch of people protesting and wonder if Donald Trump just took office or something. Anyway, Elektra goes up to some holy man who brings her up to this insane temple carved inside the mountain and Bond eavesdrops because he’s a spy and all. All of the people look pissed off but the holy dude comes out, says something to them, they all cheer, and I guess she canceled the whole “let’s drill through these people’s holy land” so I guess she’s not like Trump. Bond and Elektra introduce each other, they talk about the new pipeline they’re putting in and that they should try to preserve the past. Whatever, lady: we need oil. She asks Bond if she ever lost a loved one, and fortunately he doesn’t answer that because I can’t hear about goddamn Tracey anymore but just says that he’s there because M thinks that she may be in trouble. She laughs this off.
More pipeline talk and how there are competitors after her, wondering why the fuck Bond came this way to bother her. He shows the fake pin that was on her father when he was blown up and she says nah, I’m fine, buzz off dude. But Bond says no dice, lady, I’m sticking with you. CUT TO a helicopter as they go check out some shit up in the mountains. Since the wind’s too strong, she just jumps down with skiis on from like a 10 foot drop onto the snow and Bond follows. Some aerial nice skiing scenes are shown and it’s pretty nice looking. Again: big fan of skiing scenes in Bond movies. These two flirt a bit and survey the pipeline that she’s going to build and she’s very proud of building oil pipelines on pristine land.
“This is a wonderful vacation we’re having.” “I’m working, James.” “Work, vacation, it’s all the same to me.”
Just then, a bunch of dudes in para-planes start descending and Bond tries to lead them away. They start dropping grenades on Bond, and he’s now being chased by para-planes with grenades while skiing down a mountain so I’m perfectly fine with this. A few of them drop their parachutes and their carriages turn into snowmobiles and they chase Bond that way while also above and a lot of ordinance is being detonated for this. Bond gets to a cliff and one of these fuck-os goes right off the edge. Fortunately, this guy has a backup parachute and just keeps flying. Bond skis some more down this dangerous slope and one of the para-planes goes right for him, so Bond jumps off the side of the cliff, slashing the dude’s parachute on the way down, which makes this guy crash into another para-plane. This sets off a mini-avalanche, but fortunately Bond has that neat coat that makes a protective bubble. He punches a hole out of that mess while Elektra freaks the fuck out for a minute. But he says be cool, baby, we’re fine: I’m James Goddamn Bond.
CUT TO Baku , where Elektra’s swanky pad is, and she’s resting in her room and beckons James. She asks who’s trying to kill her and he says I don’t know, lady, what am I, the Wikipedia of Who’s Trying To Murder Elektra King? But after I find him, he’s taking a one-way trip to Deadsville. She then says stay with me, and he says sounds good but I’m on duty (for once). After a smoldering look, Bond splits while she emasculates him. This almost works, but Bond is actually being a professional for once.
James Bond: Professional (once every 30 years)
Well, for a while, because CUT TO a casino and there’s Bond in a tux, where he puts on his x-ray specs and checks out a dude strapped with guns and scopes out some babes in their underwear because he’s a perv, after all. With his not-at-all suspicious-looking blue sunglasses, he sees that everybody in the place–women and men–are all carrying heat. Bond tells some big, bald goon that he wants to see Sarkovski, but the guy gives him shit so Bond beats the hell from him, pins the dude to the bar with a knife through his tie, and then a dude that looks like Sisqo (timely reference!) takes him to the back room. Oh yeah, it’s Valentin Sarkovski from last movie. Bond holds a gun on everyone because he’s finally learning his lesson so Valentin makes his literal paid whores leave the room so Bond and he can have a private chat.
Bond drops a piece of fabric that has a symbol on it that has something to do with the Russian SS or some crap. Valentin implores Bond to have a drink while he spills some exposition all over the place. They drink and talk about the bad dude in this movie and what’s up with that fuck. Meanwhile, Bond spots Elektra walking through the casino, so he zips downstairs and asks what the Dickens she’s doing here. Valentin goes up and gives her a kiss on the hand, asking that she take her dead father’s place at the special table in the back. She chooses one card, high draw for a million bucks. Bond’s like hey lady, why you acting so cray-cray? And she says I only feel alive when I’m in danger, so she and Bond have a lot in common after all. They draw: she gets a queen of hearts while Valentin draws the ace of clubs, and there goes a million bucks pretty damn quickly. She seems happy though, mostly because she’s a trillionaire so who cares, but Bond’s like I’m not comfortable with you, which makes her like him even more.
Pictured: Elektra tipping the doorman $80,000.
Out in the woods, there is fire everywhere and the Big Bad emerges from the shadows. The guy with the bullet in his head, Whatshisface, The Anarchist. Renard. He’s pissed that everyone isn’t dead like he asked so the dude he put in charge of this is going to get his raspberry jelly brains blown all over the place. One of his associates say that they should scrub the plans since it’s all fucked, but The Anarchist makes the bad dude he’s about to kill hold a hot rock while they shoot the associate. I don’t know; they barely introduced any of these people because names are a myth at this point.
Back at Bond’s hotel room, he and Elektra had just gotten down because Bond’s only human, after all–a very weak-willed human with sex addiction issues. They kiss and flirt like sociopaths would and go back to sex because when in Bond’s bed, may as well keep going until you’re both murdered in your sleep. Later, Bond asks how she survived her kidnapping: she said she seduced a guard, got a gun, and then shot her way out of there. Kind of sounds like Bond’s M.O., honestly. These two are pretty similar weirdos. They should both be chemically castrated for the good of society.
But nuts to that: Bond’s already back on the job, this time breaking into some goddamn place with a lock-pick looking for God knows what in King’s offices. The guy who just got his hand burnt comes into the office, but Bond’s already outside and now snooping around his car, where he finds the dude that was just shot. I guess he’s taking this dead guy’s place in this whole wacky affair. Burnt Hand gets back in the car and drives to an airfield and goes to retrieve the body but there’s Bond just kind of laying in the back. So Bond kicks him in the throat and shoots him twice. Good thing the movie didn’t even bother to introduce this character! He dumps him in the dumpster and Bond takes over his identity. Jesus cripes, lots of identity-switching in a short amount of time. Bond walks into a plane like he knows what the hell’s going on and off they fly…
To Kazakhstan (MY WIFE!) for some shit, who knows? And then we see a nuclear lab somewhere with nuclear things happening. Bond pulls up and continues to fake his way in as a doctor and it’s goddamn more chit-chat. I guess they’re retrofitting Russian missiles with nuclear bombs and hahahahaha it’s Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist! She looks more like Lara Croft than a scientist. And her name is Christmas fucking Jones! What the fuck, movie? Jesus, why would you cast her in this role? She’s like the least believable person in the universe to play this role. What a fucking joke.
“Imma nuke-u-leer fizzafizz! Tee-hee!”
Sooooooo Bond goes underground to deal with whatever the hell’s going on in this movie, which I can’t discern anymore because they just keep cutting from one situation to another without any explanation, but I’m sure it will all make sense eventually. Somehow. ANYWAY, he comes across a bunch of Russian creeps getting a nuclear missile together and that creep Renard is there, so Bond whips out his gun and starts squeezing his shoes. Renard laughs and says Bond, you fool, you already helped me out by bringing that explosive money to King, you stupid pig. But Bond’s all pissed off and the bomb is getting ready to go while Renard says hey dude, I’ve already had Elektra, and I mean sexually, you crumb bum. Bond gets ready to blow this dude’s head off but Denise Richards bounces into frame with some guards calling Bond an impostor. So Bond is taken hostage while Denise–I mean Christmas Jones (Jesus Christ…) just goes bluh bluh bluh because she has no idea where she is at any given moment. Renard says let’s keep going, but the Russian Army dude says no way, Jose, shit’s getting nuts. Let’s just calm down and figure out what’s going on. Then Renard blows him away.
And you thought your boss wasn’t open to feedback…
Bond gets out of his predicament and for some reason goes to save Christmas, so they jump down into the missile well and Christmas manages to get a single line of dialogue out without it having to be fed to her phonetically. Bond jumps out of this mess and goes after Renard while Christmas Jones…climbs some scaffolding. More shooting and Renard ices one of his men because he’s the worst, and at no point do I feel like this is a James Bond movie anymore. It’s just shooting and grunting and more shooting and goddamn Denise Richards dressed as Lara Croft.
Speaking of which, she hot wires some mess that I guess is going to help things and Renard gets himself into a bulletproof elevator (?) with the missile, and ruh-roh! He set up a timed bomb for Bond to chew on. It explodes, and Bond…what the fuck? Bond jumps on a sliding track while holding two chains and somehow out-slides a fireball. What the fuck am I watching? Everything explodes like it’s a Universal Studios attraction and Christmas and Bond get onto a rocket elevator (?) that gets them to the surface. The missile silo explodes and Christmas Jones looks like she’s never run before in her life. A plane takes off with Renard aboard and everything explodes forever. Christmas says all the warheads have locator cards so we can track them, but Bond pulls it out of his pocket and she looks at him like he said a word more than three syllables long.
Back at M16 HQ, Elektra video-conferences and says Bond is missing, so whoopsie. I’m guessing that Elektra is a bad guy at this point because she requests that M come personally. So cut to Elektra’s gigantic house where she’s just hanging out in her PJs and somehow James Bond is already back there. How? Did he teleport? What the fudge? Bond says hey lady, what the fuck are you up to? Renard seemed to know a hell of a lot about me and you’re the one who could have known that stuff. He drops the Stockholm Syndrome card on her to reveal her potential motivations for helping this bullet-brained nutjob and this earns him a smack across the chops. This lady is also not a very good actress. Who is she? Have I ever seen her in anything again? The rumble of thunder in the background lets me know that this is all supposed to be very heavy and sad or whatever and she answers her ringing phone. Apparently Renard just killed 10 people at the pipeline and Elektra lets Bond know that M is coming in to save the day.
So M is at the pipeline with Bond, who looks like a wounded puppy, and she’s all pissed off but Bond says look, Elektra seems like she’s the bad guy in this movie, so let’s be a little more wary of her, eh? M says no way, jerkface, and for some reason Chistmas Jones is here. HOW DID SHE GET HERE? WHY IS SHE THERE? Whatever. Elektra says hey, believe me now? But of course he doesn’t because he’s not a moron. Anyway, the nuclear warhead’s in the pipeline. And Christmas Jones says he needs her help to defuse the bomb and Denise Richards acts like she’s flipping through a catalog instead of acting in a major motion picture. Hearing her talk about having a degree in nuclear physics is very unbelievable, as if she had just heard those two words put together for the first time.
They get in some weird zip carriage that can fly through the pipeline towards the bomb, and noone of this actually exists, right? I couldn’t imagine. Bond and Christmas get on the rocket sled that has the bomb on it and they find that the controls are jammed with no brakes. Meanwhile, Elektra’s looking mighty suspicious in the cutaways. Probably because she’s evil.
The blank stare and slack-jawed wonder of a nuclear physicist, everyone!
More shit keeps happening while they fly along their rocket sled and just to make sure the audience knows Elektra’s evil, they keep cutting back to her looking suspicious just in case the audience hasn’t figured it out yet. Then Bond and Christmas realize there’s not enough plutonium to go nuclear in the bomb but the charge is enough to kill them both. So Bond tells her to let it blow and to jump. Off of the rocket sled thing. That’s going like 80 miles an hour. They jump and roll around a little bit instead of just exploding like cantaloupes dropped from the top of a tall building like they would in real life. Maybe it’s because Christmas knows a lot about physics.
Anyway, the stupid bomb goes off, everyone thinks Bond is dead, M looks sad, and Elektra seems pretty happy about all of this. Elektra presents M with a gift from her father, and it’s his pin. His real one. So Elektra lets her know yeah, I’m the bad guy, and her goons kill everyone in the room except for M. M gives her a nice smack across the face and is taken hostage. Back at the pipe, Christmas and Bond get out unscathed and tries to bring Christmas up to speed which will take some doing. Blah blah something about plutonium, Christmas has no idea what’s going on, for some reason she’s responsible for the plutonium (WHY?), and Denise Richards honestly delivers her lines like they put peanut butter on top of her mouth to get her mouth to make it look like she’s speaking. Bond gets in contact with his team, who lets him know that M is missing, and Bond’s off to get caviar(?). Sure,why not.
In Istanbul, we see Elektra and Renard having a swell reunion as he shows her the plutonium. They both love death and murder and everything else completely fucked up in reality, and Elektra shows off M to Renard because these people are complete twists. I pause the movie for a moment and am dismayed to find another 40+ minutes left in this. Just as I was getting back into the swing of things with Bond, the last movie was meh and this one is absolutely sub-par. Anyway, this is all about how pissed off she is about what she felt like was being abandoned when she was kidnapped, and Renard is just a twisted freak in general, saying that because M left her at the mercy of a monster like him, M’s to blame. Renard wah-wahs about his own fate and puts a clock in front of M, saying that by noon the next day, M’s going to die. Oh noes!
And Dame Judi Dench wonders why she agreed to be in these films in the first place. Then she remembers: lots and lots of money.
We’re “treated” to Elektra and that freakjob Renard in bed, and apparently she feels sad that Bond’s dead. What the fudge is this? Are we supposed to feel sympathy for Elektra now? Come on, movie, pick your tone and stick with it. The woman who plays Elektra is off-putting in her looks to me. She has dead eyes or something. M uses a stick to get the stool holding the clock closer to her but what a goof! She knocks it over. As Q would say: D’oh.
CUT TO The Caspian Sea, where some shit’s going on at the docks. Valentin hobbles his way into the caviar factory while we spot Bond’s sweet ride across the way. One of his goons immediately calls Elektra to let her know that Bond’s alive, and inside Valentin’s office is Christmas Jones, but guess what fuckhead? Bond’s there, too. Holding a gun to Valentin, Bond asks what’s going on with him and Elektra and smashes him into a shelf of caviar. Bond says hey dummy, there’s a fucking nuclear bomb out there, and that pruning helicopter from earlier decides to drop in and cut the office in half. It goes for another pass and Bond just kind of shoots at it with his handgun like a silly Billy. He runs across the dock to get to his car but a missile(?) blows the dock up in front of him. Jesus, it’s nothing but action sequence after action sequence in this movie. It’s exhausting to write about. Almost as bad as describing a car chase.
I guess Bond can have his car drive itself like the fucking Batmobile in this movie, and there are even some horn stings on the soundtrack in this part that harken back to the original Batman TV series’ music. Bond hops in his car and backs up and then launches missiles at the helicopter and it explodes. And then blows up the dock. But the saw-copter chops his car in half, and Bond quips, “Q’s not gonna like this,” and I like that if only for the passing mention of Q. I wonder what Q’s doing right now in the film’s universe? Did he fix his jet boat and now he’s scaring the hell out of everybody on a lake somewhere as he laughs maniacally behind the wheel? I’d like to think so. Christmas and Valentine try to escape but drop into the water below in his Rolls Royce because the pier was cut, and Bond opens a gas valve and shoots it with a flare gun, which blows up the saw copter.
RIP Saw Copter (1999)
Now stuck in a vat of caviar, Bond asks Valentin what’s going on and Christmas Jones tries to quip but fails miserably at it. Some crap about smuggling machinery for her and it’s located in Istanbul. The walls start creaking and the entire structure that they’re in collapses, but they do an ADR line for Valentin so we know that he’s still alive somehow. I guess CUT TO Istanbul again and my God, when is this movie going to end? In the murky waters below, a submarine lurches forward, and I guess that’s where the goddamn nuclear bomb is.
So Valentin is still alive because Bond and Christmas are being shown around his secret lab or whatever, I don’t know, and it’s Valentin’s nephew the smuggler that has a submarine. What? OK movie, I can’t take it anymore, but just keep throwing your nonsense plot together as you go along. Every time Denise Richards says a line, she keeps using discourse markers like “yeah” and “sure,” which is not how a nuclear physicist would probably speak. It’s very distracting. And also: WHY ARE WE STILL THROWING IN MORE PLOT? There’s still a goddamn half hour left in this movie and now we have a submarine that’s Valentin’s nephew’s (the smuggler), who has been hired by Elektra to smuggle black market items for her, but really it’s part of The Anarchist’s plot to destroy Istanbul with a nuclear bomb while M’s being held hostage as part of a revenge scheme and holy moly, things are getting WAY TOO CONVOLUTED.
Pictured: A breakdown of this film’s plot.
Elektra and her goon come in and when M asks what time is it, Elektra sets the clock onto her jail cell bar and says, “It’s time for you to die,” but M’s been in the spy game for a long time, so she just puts the GPS card into it for power and it immediately lets Bond know where she is. But now Valentin is dead because his shitty bodyguard planted a bomb in his HQ. Christmas and Bond get out alive, only to immediately be taken hostage themselves. And then on the sub (ugh), the crew is dead while Renard gets his bomb in place. Jesus. Why.
Bond is brought to Elektra’s castle while she and The Anarchist share a tender, insane moment together by the submarine. I guess the whole plot is just to do something really awful and fuck everything up for everybody. Elektra goes back to get a last-minute villain monologue in and sends Christmas to Renard so she can become twisted, too. Bond drops the title here, calling it a family motto (which is true: it’s canon that “The World Is Not Enough” is Bond’s family motto, but who cares at this point?). He’s strapped into this crazy old torture device that starts breaking his neck with every twist, and Elektra gives Bond her insane reasoning for all of this and really pats herself on the back for her evil. Turns out she’s the mastermind, not Renard. And she’s a fucking coo-coo pants to boot.
Bond tries to reason with her, but she’s getting weirdly sexual about the whole slowly strangling Bond to death with an old torture device. But before he’s strangled to death, gunfire erupts outside and somehow, SOMEHOW, Valentin is still alive. How? HOW? Whatever; he bursts in and shoots everybody in sight, including his traitorous henchman. He realizes the submarine workers and its driver are dead, and instead of shooting Elektra, he gets shot by her, and NOW he’s dead. Right? I guess not, since he’s alive enough to aim his cane gun at the wrist strap keeping Bond tied down. Now with one hand free, Bond kicks away Elektra, gets out of his strangle strap, gets a gun, and chases after her. She runs up a spiral stairwell and keeps saying crazy shit like, “James, you can’t kill me, not in cold blood,” which, why do you think that? On his way, he frees M, then catches up to Elektra.
With her at gunpoint, he hands her a walkie-talkie to call off the bomb, but she smiles at him like this is all a big game. Rich kids, amirite? She gets on the horn and she keeps saying that he won’t kill her, then tries to tell Renard to let the bomb go off, so James shoots her immediately. I mean, come on lady, after all of this you don’t think he won’t shoot you? RIP Crazy Lady.
“Farewell, my sweet, homicidal monster. I loved you the most.”
Bond dives off the balcony into the water below where the sub is and swims onto it before it submerges. He kicks a guy in the face and gets below, asking where Christmas is. He finds her, grabs her hand, and they go off to I guess stop this crazy thing. How long left to go now? 15 minutes? OK, I can live with that.
Anyway, Bond and Halloween Smith sulk about the submarine and I don’t know what to tell you: stuff happens. They want to get the sub to the surface to bring the Navy to them. Bond takes over the controls and the sub starts to surface, so Renard races around and starts shooting, blowing away one of his guys that Bond’s using as a human shield. They breach the hull with their idiot gunfire in a pressurized cabin and the sub goes sideways. Bond and Mother’s Day Johnson hold on while shit goes sideways, literally, and they hit the bottom of the bay’s floor. Renard starts climbing while the sub starts flooding. It reminds me of like when they would climb up the side of the wall in the old Batman show (second reference in this recap!) and they’d just tilt the camera sideways.
None of this stops Renard, who’s getting the bomb ready, and Bond needs to get there to stop the whole nuclear destruction thing. Apparently Bond can hold his breath for five minutes underwater because he swims up the side of the submarine and gets in through another open hatch to where Renard is and swims aimlessly around a little while Christmas Jones just kind of starts drowning where she is. I guess whatever they were doing worked because Bond gets to the reactor and drops on Renard before he can put the final rod in to start the reaction. But he has to pause killing Renard so he can save Christmas Jones from drowning or whatever.
But The Anarchist sure wants to set this bomb off, so he kicks and punches Bond a bunch and they both strangle each other for a while before Bond lets him know that Elektra’s dead. This just makes him go crazier and he locks Bond up so great job, James? But fortunately some gas hose thingy comes untethered and Bond grabs it to shove it back into place so the reactor doesn’t overheat or something. I’m not sure. But whatever it is, Bond pressurized the middle cylinder that makes it blow out and impale Renard. However that works. Why explain to the audience what’s happening, after all? Apparently even if the sub explodes, the nuclear materials are safe inside, so sez Bond, and he and Christmas swim to the surface without getting the bends.
He just really liked that picture of the guy catching a cannonball in the stomach.
Back at M16 HQ in Scotland, M asks if there’s any word, while Christmas and Bond sip champagne in front of fireworks. Bond quips, “I always wanted to have Christmas in Turkey,” and she says, “It’s time to unwrap your present,” and we get an infrared image of the two of them doing it. Great. Glad I saw that. And then they’re naked and kissing and I swear to fucking God, the worst goddamn last line I’ve ever heard in these Bond movies happens when he says to her, “I thought Christmas only comes once a year.” Jesus Christ on a cracker, Bond.
- The unappealing actress that played Elektra is Sophie Marceau, a French actress whom I’ve only ever seen in one other film, Lost & Found, that stupid David Spade movie from the mid-90’s. After this she went back to making films in France. Good riddance.
- Denise Richards is hands-down one of the least natural actresses I’ve ever seen. They didn’t even use her for her looks as a Bond Girl but unsuccessfully tried to make her a useful Bond Girl. Wrong move, movie. This was a career highlight for her; after this, she went back to making dreck. Not that this wasn’t dreck, of course.
- I’m really going to miss Q; he’s been the one element of this franchise that I can honestly say never got old to me. He was funny, sometimes bonkers, and never taking any of Bond’s shit. It’s sad to find out that instead of retiring peacefully and enjoying his golden years, the actor who played him died in a car crash shortly after the release of this film. RIP, Q: you will be missed.
Oof, this movie. Not since Thunderball have I had to pause watching one of these out of sheer exhaustion. Because I’m writing this while watching it, I couldn’t follow all of the details and was often confused as to what was going on exactly; since I wasn’t going to go back and find out, I just let it slide, which may be why I come across even dumber than usual in this recap. While I guess a lot of people think this movie is just OK in the Bond franchise, I heavily disliked it. I kept asking myself, where’s James Bond? Because this isn’t the James Bond I know or like. This is just an action movie with Bond’s name attached to it. It could have been literally anybody in this movie–Schwarzenegger, Van Damme, Stallone–and it would not have missed a beat. And I don’t like that because that’s not what I watch Bond movies for: I watch it for a cool, collected spy who always has a quip and a dry martini close by, who figures out the plot with his cunning and skill, and saves the day at the end mainly through hand-to-hand combat and a good plan. Instead, I get Pierce Brosnan running around shooting at everything and everybody. That’s not fun; hell, that barely qualifies as “action.”
It’s been said before many times, but Denise Richards is terrible in this movie. She’s terrible in everything she’s in, but it really shines through in the context of a Bond film. Being 28 at the time, she is far too young to be the lead nuclear physicist on a project; even if she was, Richards doesn’t have the gravitas or studiousness that somebody that young would have to achieve such an advanced role in her career. Instead, she comes across like a 10-year-old play-acting and guessing at what a nuclear physicist would sound like. Which is to say she’s not good at it.
The Elektra character could have been interesting, but there was something about Sophie Marceau that I really disliked. I get that she was a villain, but I mean there’s something about her face I don’t like. Does that make me shallow? Of course it does, but then again it’s my blog so them’s the rules.
I don’t know; this just doesn’t feel like James Bond anymore. One more Brosnan movie to go before I get to Daniel Craig’s, and I hear the next one is dreadful. See you then, Planeteers. The power is yours! (Nuclear power, that is.)
If you read my recap and conclusion, I bet you can tell that I disliked this film immensely. And you’d be right! One out of four Bonds. Terrible show, old sport.
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