Die Another Day

Maybe I’ve seen too many James Bond movies by now, or maybe the trouble with this 20th installment is that the filmmakers are trying too hard to top the excesses of the predecessors. I suppose that the baroque North Korean villains here might serve to inspire enlistments for a theoretical World War IV, assuming that we’re still around to enjoy such a caper. And I guess that if you can manage to overlook how much Pierce Brosnan is beginning to resemble Fred MacMurray, you might find this 007 romp more neat than ridiculous. The problem for me is that the story is so entirely at the service of the special effects. I like Halle Berry a lot, but neither she nor the other deadly sex object, Rosamund Pike, seems to be having much fun. With Judi Dench, Toby Stephens, Michael Madsen, and John Cleese. 123 min. (JR)

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