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George At 

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Tomorrow Never Dies

I've said before that OO7 films are like wine. Some get better with age, others are just as you remember them, and others go very bad between viewings.

Like every other Brosnan Bond except "Goldeneye", 1997's TOMORROW NEVER DIES is almost unwatchable with the exception of several scenes.

Recycling the "let's pit countries against each other in a manufactured war" from "You Only Live Twice" thirty years earlier, this entry finds media mogul Elliot Carver in control of the TV and print (remember print?) media, seemingly knowing world events before they even happen.

Carver is well played by Jonathan Pryce, (Evita, Game of Thrones) spending billions to create war between China and the UK.

The film has several things going for it. Brosnan is game in his second outing as Bond. As adept with a machine gun or a Walther as he is with one-liners, he certainly looks the part.

Michelle Yeoh has a major role as his Chinese counterpart and she is terrific in the role. Her action scenes are first rate and she and Brosnan have a great give & take comfort.

But the film around then fails in so many ways.

After a decent, taut opening sequence at an Arms Bazaar, the producers made the disastrous last minute decision to replace the excellent KD Lang theme song "Surrender" (which can still be heard over the end credits) with the lame, boring Sheryl Crow song named for the film. It's one of the worst theme songs ever and after Tina Turner's killer "Goldeneye" theme, a big step backward.

OO7 films live and die on their henchmen. Goldfinger had Oddjob, Mr. Big had Baron Samedi, but Carver has Stamper, a boring muscleman with zero stage presence save his too small t-shirts.

Carver's wife Paris is played by Teri Hatcher, who looks terrific, has some decent moments with Bond but barely registers before she's killed off in service of the predictable screenplay.

Even Judi Dench is wasted with little to do as M but wring her hands over Bond's republic serial-like last minute escapes.

David Arnold's music score was a welcome return to tradition, but rather boring in retrospect.

There are a couple moments in the middle of the film, including Bond escaping in his remote control BMW and a decent motorcycle/helicopter chase through China, that temporarily breathe some life into the proceedings, but for the most part, the film just plays as a tired, weak shadow of previous, much better entrees in the series.

Alas, with only the second film of his four film tenure, Brosnan had already seen his best days in his debut. Of course, we had no idea how much worse things would get two years later with "The World Is Not Enough".

TOMORROW pales next to OO7's yesterdays and gets a C.

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