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France, Thailand, Germany, Mexico, USA, England. . . it all takes place in a global frenzy as Bond (guess who) battles a media mogul, Carver (Jonathan Pryce) an evil media manipulator the like of which we have never seen, carving out a business plan from hell, where he can not only report the wars that sell papers and tv news, but make them happen. Media power as a lethal weapon in the wrong hands; and at the centre of the plot, a US warship sunk by a mysterious enemy, at first thought to be Chinese MIG fighters. A satellite navigation system, stolen and dangerous in the wrong hands, becomes the first clue in what proves to be a war against a determined and well armed foe. Bond is up against an evil empire, and perhaps a beautiful adversary (Michelle Yeoh)– until she proves to be a life saving ally. Almost until the end . . .

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Familiar territory, like watching a weekly soap. . . except, of course, the jokes are even more ‘in’, the action is even more stagey and the stakes are even more …um… unbelievable. But get thee behind me, satanic cynic, for the path to true entertainment of tomorrow lies here. Your big question is (or should be): Is it worth the money again? Well, yes it is, because the director has given Bond a higher action rating than ever, a sort of Roger-the-dodger version of the original original – if you know what I mean.

There are motorbike chases that defy your bum staying on the seat, an aerial stunt sequence that is really exhilarating, many gadget-induced gee-whizz gags and a ride or two in a BMW that is as good as the tour de force Space Tours at Disneyland, and one that will make Merc owners squirm in their squalor. But Bond’s wry lines have become less effective (eg “they’ll print anything these days” – you’ll understand when you see it) and the action scenes become more explosive. Bond becomes more a stuntman than a character, the jokes wearing thin – not all, mind you – and the plot becomes a burp, regurgitating all that has gone before.

Yet, with Michelle Yeoh, we have achieved female equality in both action prowess and entertainment value. Her power comes from her intuition as an actress and her witty intelligence, making Bond seem rather lame for a moment here or there. As for the Pryce-less media mogul, Carver, he is everything evil a real baddie oughta be. But this is far too much analysis, folks, I suggest you get along and give yourselves over to the pleasure of mindless Bondage. It really is good fun.

Be warned: if you start watching this on DVD, you better have gone to the loo first, 'cause it won't give you up for even a minute. This is not like watching a rented VHS, which you can always pause for a break: the irony, of course, is that the DVD pause function is perfect, without the fizzle or the drizzle of the VHS version. But you won't want to use it until you've seen the movie through. Then you may want the commentary version. This is the sort of movie that will drive player sales - with technology in the service of entertainment, cinema quality right at the end of your legs.

My only criticism of this DVD is the poverty of its navigation; the menu is not well developed and is confusing if you want to go back to your original choice. For instance, once you've selected commentary, you can't switch it off except by stopping the whole thing and starting again. Clumsy menu and navigation aside, the DVD lacks language options (other than English) and the commentary replaces what may have been a fascinating Making Of. . . piece. But for sheer movie viewing value, it's fantastic."

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CAST: Pierce Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, Teri Hatcher, Ricky Jay, Gotz Otto, Judi Dench, Desmond Llewellyn, Samantha Bond (no relation!)
DIRECTOR: Roger Spottiswoode

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video
DVD RELEASE: February 1, 1999
RRP: $34.95

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