Finally. Finally, a James Bond movie has a strong female character who is not evil.
But this is the only point where Tomorrow Never Dies (United Artists) breaks 007 tradition. Countless gadgets, beautiful women clad in black clingy things, an amazing car and action that leaves viewers with bleeding cuticles still fill the film.
This, the 18th installment in the longest-running, most-successful film franchise, begins as most Bond films do – with an awe-inspiring feat. The whole world is saved from mass destruction. Then, on to the drudgery of defeating yet another evil – the media.
Media tycoon Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce, Evita) sets up a war situation with China in William Randolph Hearst-style. By sending a British naval ship off course with a satellite encoder, Carver puts it in enemy waters. And Chinese MIGs take it out. By orchestrating the encounter, Carver gets the scoop, making himself a very powerful man.
For his 16th time as Q, Desmond Llewelyn outfits Bond (Pierce Brosnan, Golden Eye) with beyond cutting-edge technology for his new mission: to discover how the ship got off course, who did it and why. Armed with a remote control Beemer and various other nifty devices, Bond travels to Hamburg for a party in the name of Carver.
Coincidentally, he runs into an old flame, Paris (Teri Hatcher, “Lois & Clark”), who is married to the media baron. Along with this chance encounter, he meets Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh, Supercop), China’s equivalent to James Bond. Both on the same mission, Bond begins to persuade the talented young woman to team up with him.
Lin made this Bond movie distinctive. Her fighting strength and resolve not to jump into bed with Bond (until the end) make her more interesting to watch than scantily-clad Hatcher. Couple her witty comebacks with her stunts and she almost could have stolen the movie from debonair Brosnan.
The effects were, of course, amazing. The dialogue was, of course, trite. And Brosnan was, of course, made to be 007 because of his suave manner, dark looks and alluring British accent.
Tomorrow Never Dies is now playing in theaters.