|"The World Is Not Enough"
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Reviewed by Carlos deVillalvilla
Nifty gadgets. That's why we see Bond movies. That and the outrageous stunts, fabulous action sequences, droll witicisms ... and oh yes, the babes.
The 19th Bond movie finds our man James looking out for a wealthy heiress by the name of Elektra King (Sophie Marceau). Bond feels responsible for the death of her father at the hands of a crazed terrorist named Renard (Robert "Trainspotting" Carlyle). As "M" (Dame Judi Dench) was a personal friend of her father and that the murder took place at MI6 headquarters, she sends all the dogs after Renard.
Renard is unique in that a bullet fired by an MI6 agent has entered his brain and is slowly killing him. At the same time, it renders him impervious to sensation of all sorts, making him stronger with each passing day. Renard is out to steal a nuclear weapon from one of those pesky ex-Soviet republics. I won't tell you how everything turns out; suffice to say that there follows mayhem of all shapes, sizes and description.
Bond gets lucky with a number of buxom women that would keep most of us awake nights just considering. And, of course, he saves the day after a final battle with Renard, while aboard a sinking submarine.
If you like Bond movies, this one isn't going to disappoint. Pierce Brosnan is more comfortable than ever in the role, and he has settled into it commandingly. There's more sexual tension between him and Moneypenny than there's been in the Brosnan Bond movies, which is welcome, and we get to see a LOT more of M, which is a great thing. Dench makes a formidable M.
On the down side, this is the last appearance of Desmond Llewellyn as Q, making him the last of the original cast to depart. Llewellyn exits gracefully, but not before bringing aboard ex-Python John Cleese to replace him.
As is typical for Bond movies, great casting in the recurring roles.
Carlyle makes a terrific Bond villain, one who at the end turns out to be flawed and human, making him one of the better villains to come down the pike in a long time. Guest appearances by comedian Robbie Coltrane as a Russian mobster (previously seen in "Goldeneye") and musician Goldy as a bodyguard are memorable. Denise ("Starship Troopers") Richards is unfortunately miscast as a buxom nuclear scientest. She, like Marceau, is pleasant on the eyes but is given little depth with which to work.
"The World Is Not Enough" suffers, like most modern Bond movies, from the lack of a cold war. There is no evil empire to oppose; consequently, the movies lack the world-shattering urgency of such classic movies as "Goldfinger," "Thunderball" and "Diamonds are Forever." Still, Bond soldiers on in an era when spies seem to be anachronistic. Bond's anachronisms hold up, however, which is why the series continues today.
As sheer entertainment, the Bond movies are among the best bets on a continuing basis, as dependable as taxes and April 15. It's truly amazing that the series, nearly 30 years and lots of different Bonds into the fray, is as consistently good as it is. The fact is, we need that kind of dependability in our lives. Presidents may come, monarchs may go, but Bond lives in a world that we remember and long for; one in which virile men can seduce gorgeous women by virtue of their sheer manliness, where bad guys always get their just desserts and a well-chosen witticism can deflect a bullet from its path.
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