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Die Another Day

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Die Another Day is the 20th James Bond film (22nd if you include Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again[?]). It stars Pierce Brosnan (as James Bond), Halle Berry (as "Jinx") , and Rosamund Pike (as Miranda Frost).

Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers.

The plot, reminiscent of Moonraker, GoldenEye[?], and the loose Austin Powers parody The Spy Who Shagged Me[?], involves billionaire businessman "Toby Stephens" (who, through supposed medical wizardry, is actually a North Korean soldier) who builds an orbital mirror system that can focus solar energy on a small area - supposedly to light the Arctic nights but actually a superweapon designed to destroy the DMZ that separates North Korea from the South. Bond, with the aid of NSA agent Jinx (Berry), defeats the soldier (whose other major technotoy is an exoskeleton equipped with a high-voltage electric weapon) and prevents global catstrophe, along the way bedding both Jinx and Stephen's assistant, the blonde ice queen Frost (who in a succession of twists is first revealed to be working for MI5, then as a double agent for Stephens).

The movie departs from the usual Bond formula in several ways. The movie starts with an action set-piece which, instead of a comic ending, ends up with Bond captured by the North Koreans, after which he is tortured for 14 months, depicted in a stylized manner through the title sequence, ending only when he is released in a prisoner-exchange deal. The psychological consequences of this torture are however not explored in the rest of the movie. The movie also shows some attempts to improve the appeal of Bond to younger people, featuring two separate scenes of Bond surfing, a more contemporary[?] soundtrack, and extensive use of The Matrix-style slow-motion pans. However, it also features many, many references to each of the previous Bond films which were eagerly picked out by fans.

Critical reaction to the film was mixed, even allowing for the typical disdain of action films held by many reviewers. Many felt that it was merely a tired retread of old ideas, and the attempts to appeal to a younger audience were unsuccessful. Berry's performance was heavily criticised by many reviewers. Some also felt that the extensive use of CGI special effects detracted from one of the major appeals of the older films - that the stunts[?], however preposterous, were actually performed. Some of the CGI was poorly done (notably the second surfing sequence).

It has been suggested that Richard Branson was the inspiration for the Stephens character.

The title track was performed by Madonna, who had a small cameo as a leather-clad fencing instructor in the movie. It also used The Clash's "London Calling" in one sequence.

The film united opinion across the Korean peninsula[?] for once, with the North unhappy with its portrayal as a brutal, war-hungry state, whilst many South Koreans were offended by a sex scene conducted in a Buddhist temple and a scene where an American officer issues orders to the South Korean army in their defence of their own homeland.

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