Rated PG-13 - Running Time: 2:07 - Released 11/19/99

I tried to have a good attitude about the new James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough. Surely, I thought, this one will have some redeeming qualities. Surely the writers will at least attempt to rise beyond the hackneyed stereotypical consciousness that has plagued the franchise since its early days in the '60s. Surely, I thought, it'll be better than Tomorrow Never Dies.


I knew before the first 20 minutes had passed that this film, directed by Michael Apted (of the 7-Up series) and written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Bruce Feirstein, contained the same tired formula we have come to know and loathe from the Bond series. Convoluted plotlines, high-tech gadgetry, gross sexism, and stuff blowing up. I have no idea why so many men like this stuff. But what I really can't fathom is why so many women like it. And don't tell me it's Pierce Brosnan.

In this installment, James Bond (Brosnan) is asked to play bodyguard to a young oil baroness named Elektra King (Sophie Marceau) after her father is blown up at MI6 headquarters, Bond's home base. Bond's superior, M (Judi Dench) feels responsible for King's death, because she had advised him not to pay $5 million in ransom money to a terrorist who had kidnapped Elektra. Elektra, who has since escaped and is supervising the construction of an oil pipeline in Azerbaijan, is not interested in Bond's help, but when a bunch of guys in helicopter-snowmobiles try to kill her, she changes her mind.

Soon it is discovered that the kidnapper is none other than Renard (Robert Carlyle, The Full Monty), a heartless killer who has already been shot once in the head. In fact, the bullet that entered his brain is still there, numbing his senses so that he doesn't feel any pain. "The bullet will eventually kill him," says the staff doctor, "but he'll keep getting stronger until then." I can't believe I'm writing this tripe.

When Bond goes to a nuclear missile launch site to find out what Renard is up to, he meets Christmas Jones (Melrose Place's Denise Richards), who, when she's not polishing her nails or making sure her bra is still able to contain her copious bosom, is a nuclear scientist. But a foreman assures Bond that, because he has not had any success getting her in the sack, Ms. Jones is "not interested in men." While constantly trying to dodge bullets and outrun explosions, Bond has to decide who, if anyone, is on his side. And he has to do it quickly, because M has been taken prisoner and given a front-row ticket to the next fiery explosion.

As usual, for comic relief we have good ol' gadget wizard Q (still played by 85-year-old Desmond Llewelyn) who, after 17 appearances in Bond movies since 1967, is threatening to retire, and his replacement-in-training, R (John Cleese), whose clumsy comic style, while mildly amusing, is out of place here. And we have all the preposterous plot devices we would expect from a Bond opus — women who are willing to trade anything for sex, boats driving down the street, helicopters with huge circular saws dangling from them, a submarine doing a nose-dive to the bottom of the ocean, and a high-speed chase inside an empty pipe. We have everything for the man of good taste, provided he has an I.Q. under 37. **½

Copyright 1999 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

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