I almost wish I could review this one in two parts, as it really is two different movies. For the first half of its running time, Die Another Day is one of the best James Bond movies I’ve ever seen. For the second half of the movie, it is one of the worst, as it absolutely falls off a cliff.
We start off with an excellent opening action scene with Bond taking on an entire North Korean army and almost getting away, followed by a creative use of the title sequence as Madonna’s Die Another Day track plays over shots of Bond being held prisoner for 14 months and systematically tortured.
This is not something you expect to see in a Bond movie, and it sets up a darker much more serious kind of film than we wind up getting.
The movie sadly goes haywire as soon as Halle Berry (through no fault of her own) pops up out of the water in homage to Ursula Undress in Dr. No. At that point this ceases to be a new and interesting James Bond movie and turns into a Roger Moore styled cartoon complete with an invisible car, an ice castle, and a giant space ray with the power to cook the entire planet.
And to top it off, the CGI here was so lazily and ineptly done that you can almost see the green screen in some shots. Of all the James Bond movies, this is the one that frustrates me the most because of the potential it had to really be something. Potential that wound up being absolutely squandered.
Even the cast is squandered here. Halle Berry, a terrific actress, is given nothing to do except good, which she is perfectly capable of doing, but is such a waste with her talents, and veteran character actor Michael Madsen is wasted in a throw-away role as an American FBI agent when IMO, he could have made for a very interesting Bond henchman in a different kind of movie.
All that said, I advise you to watch the first half of this movie, and then turn it off.
Die Another Day gets a one out of five: AWFUL.