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Die Another Day

A sincere apology from a repentant film critic.

Prague TV
By Jeff Koyen Add to favorites email print this article Share on FaceBoook

Die Another Day
Directed by Lee Tamahori
Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens

Dear Vin Diesel:

In my review of XXX in Pill #17, I called you a fuckwit. A couple months later, Iím a little older, a little wiser, and I realize that I was too harsh. Itís just that ... Well, I was aghast at the mind-boggling stupidity of your movie. My pain started with the first idiotic action sequence and didnít stop until that last scene when you were balling Asia Argento down on that tropical island. The whole thing was just horrible. It really did suck nuts.

But I just saw the new James Bond movie. And, Vin, dude, I want to apologize.

I realize now that you didnít target man-boys who enjoy extreme sports. You targeted man-boys who enjoy extreme sports video games. XXX was successful because thereís a legion of action-thirsty guys grown fat and rendered moronic by daily doses of Play-station. They fucking love you, man.

Theyíre also going to love Die Another Day.

When your character Xander Cage was called a new James Bond, that was totally cool with me. I wasnít defending Bond when I called you bad names. That wasnít my inner Bond fan lashing out. I donít even have an inner Bond fan.

Sure, I watched Sunday marathons of Goldfinger and Thunderball and Dr. No as a kid. Sean Connery was a great charismatic action hero. He was fun to watch because his Bond did things that ordinary men couldnít. His stunts were unlikely and impressive, but not impossible Ė like watching an Olympic athlete.

The new James Bond, however, like your Xander, bends the laws of physics. He jumpstarts a helicopter in freefall. He surfs a tsunami using a curved piece of sheet metal. Heís even got an invisible car.

Heís like Wonder Woman! How cool is that?

Actually, itís not very cool at all. Itís stupid.

Vin, I wasnít picking on you or your genre. Iím not a highbrow guy. I nod off during Bergman all the time. I can only name one or two Godard films. A night of Italian neo-realism? Iíd rather sniff your crack.

I love bad films, really. My all-time favorite movie is Mad Max. I loved Resident Evil and Reign of Fire this year. Iím too stupid to follow any plot involving more than three main characters, and even then they better not talk too much.

Die Hard. Thatís a good bad action movie. Predator is another. And Predator 2. And Die Hard 2. (But not Die Hard 3.) The Hunt for Red October. These are the godheads. Theyíre enter-taining and escapist. For new movies, Iíd allow that The Bourne Identity and even The Sum of All Fears are good enough to watch with a Sunday afternoon hangover. Die Another Day isnít even in the same universe. Itís dopey. Itís silly. Worse, itís boring.

And the plot! James Bond has been captured and tortured by those axis-of-evil North Koreans. Fearing heís been compromised, his bosses decommission him. But Bond wonít take this laying down, oh no, he wants justice! He travels to Cuba, has a mojito, balls Halle Berry and stumbles upon a black market medical center that can transplant DNA (!) in order to transform, say, a North Korean bad-ass into a British jerk-off. Soon, heís battling the bad guy in an ice palace that looks like the Sydney Opera House dome by way of Supermanís Fortress of Solitude.

Itís that bad. If I was a James Bond defender, Iíd be even more upset. Youíre allowed to be an idiot, Vin. Youíre not crapping on a tradition Ė youíre extending it. Watching the new James Bond movie is like inviting a dog to Christmas dinner and watching it piss on the carp.

What Iím trying to say is that in a back-handed and accidental way, the reviewers and catchphrasers were right. Xander Cage really is the new James Bond. If by ďnew James BondĒ they mean a charisma-free, arrogant dick chasing stupid villains while performing ridiculous, implausible and unexciting stunts.

You should definitely feel better about yourself, Vin. Apparently youíre just as good as James Bond after all.

Apologetically yours,

Jeff Koyen

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