Tomorrow Never Dies

Roger Spottiswoode, UK/USA 1997, 119 mins

"Tomorrow never dies, surrender. Tomorrow will arrive, on time. I'll tease and tantalise, with every lie, till you are mine. Tomorrow Never Dies..."

belts kdlang at the end of the 18th James Bond film, completed in record time after the world-wide success of Goldeneye. The lyrics sum up Bond - the series will never die, and this latest installment in the series is as inevitable as, well, something inevitable. It did arrive on time, despite some on-set problems. It offers just what we expect from a Bond movie - the familiar mix of Bond, Bond Girl, Bond Baddie, Bond Toys, and Big Bangs. In short, it's a goodie.

Ian Fleming's mantra for the original novels was that they were "beyond the probable, but not the possible". This film, although not based on any of the original stories, is certainly closer to possible than probable. The plot is centred round scheming, manipulative media baron Elliot Carver, owner of a worldwide media empire. Denied access to China's growing markets, he orchestrates a conflict in the South China Seas between Britain and China, handily providing camera-fodder for his newspapers and TV stations. Any similarity between Carver and, say, Rupert Murdoch or Robert Maxwell is strictly uncoincidental. Bond is sent in to find out what is going on and to avert disaster.

Pierce Brosnan appears relaxed as Bond, and puts in a steady performance. Carver is a little disorientating as a Bond Baddie - Jonathan Pryce, for all his snarling, plays him as a control freak, rather than as a mad evil baddie. M, Q and Miss Moneypenny re-appear, as do the gadgets, product placements and action sequences.

The real star of the show is Hong- Kong action movie star Michelle Yeoh. She plays Wai Lin, apparently a reporter for the New China News Agency, and Bond's path crosses several times with hers during the film. She kicks ass, literally. Sexy, independent and intelligent, she's a joy to watch, easily the best part of the film.

The tone of the film is lighter, but more adult. It is easily the most violent Bond yet, and it is the first time I have seen a shuriken on screen in a long time, which is either a criticism or a compliment, depending on your point of view. Either way, surrender to Tomorrow Never Dies and you are in for an absolute blast.

Scott M. Keir
EUFS Programme 1998-99