The first Bond movie to be made without Cubby Broccoli at the helm, as he had died not long after finishing “Goldeneye”, “Tomorrow Never Dies” saw Brosnan’s Bond pitted against Elliot Carver, a media baron and megalomaniac who wants to pit the UK and China against each other to remove the current political system in china which is blocking his media empire from entering the country.
Bond collaborates with Colonel Wai Lin, a martial arts expert and Chinese agent who is also investigating Carver and the pair of them manage to board Carver’s undetectable stealth ship. Bond sabotages the stealth technology rendering the ship visible and the Royal Navy attack, while Bond dispatches Carver and his henchman Stamper.
Newcomer Roger Spottiswode was chosen to direct after Martin Campbell declined and the film was rushed into production before the script had been satisfactorily locked down, causing Pierce Brosnan and Jonathan Pryce some concerns over it’s content. Unable to use the new studios built for the previous film, the production team relocated to Pinewood’s 007 stage once more as well as locations in France, Bangkok and Portsmouth.
Jonathan Pryce relished the role of Carver, giving him a manic edge but managing to stay the right side of parody, giving a pitch perfect performance. Teri Hatcher, famous on TV for playing Lois Lane in “The New Adventures of Superman” made the leap to film in her role of Carver’s trophy wife, Paris, who has a history with Bond.
Michelle Yeoh debuted as Wai Lin paying great attention to her action sequences and Gotz Otto landed the part of Stamper, bringing the requisite sinister menace to a well written part. David Arnold provided the soundtrack after being recommended by John Barry and the theme song came from Sheryl Crow. The media reported that there had been problems on set with Brosnan, Terri Hatcher and the director falling out but this was denied by all parties.
A memorable set piece is that where Bond and Lin escape from carver’s HQ by using a massive banner of Carver’s face and abseiling down the side of his skyscraper while hanging on to it and there is a fantastic car chase around a multi storey car park ending with Bond pitching his remote controlled BMW off the edge of the building and through the window of a conveniently placed car hire showroom. But the humour always complements the drama, never detracts as with some of the Moore entries and Brosnan shows that he is capable of playing all the facets of Bond with great skill, never putting a foot wrong.
Though lacking the confidence and charm of “Goldeneye”, the film is an excellent second outing for Brosnan who had become widely accepted and well liked in the role. It grossed slightly less than its predecessor but critical reaction was good, with many reviews praising the satirical character of Carver, who was loosely based on real life media baron Rupert Murdoch. Its action packed and laugh out loud funny in places, recommended.