** Fontaine's Guide to Making a Hollywood Action Movie **
1. Start off with a bang, no matter how implausible the bang may be.
2. Remember to tell your audience exactly what is happening, even when it looks stupid. For example, you should tell your audience that the action is taking place in "A Terrorist Arms Bazaar on the Russian Border."
3. Devise an intricate, enigmatic movie opening - make it look very high tech, very stylish, even if it is 10 minutes long and makes no sense at all.
4. When staging a car chase, make sure there are explosives conveniently along the way so that the hero may make use of them to thwart his pursuers. Also make sure that no matter how fast and blindly the hero drives, he can always find a way through the clutter.
5. If you're going to use a Chinese female martial arts character, make sure she yelps "YA!" every now and then so people know she is a Chinese female martial arts character.
6. Besides the head honcho, there must be a second villain. He must be extremely diabolical and he must always carry a menacing look about. He of course, will die at the end.
7. Ah, now comes the tricky part. The "Grand Finale." Shootouts and explosives are a must (of course, the hero must never get shot no matter what, and the explosives must be conveniently out of the way). To create suspense, the head villain must hold the hero at gun point, but he must always be too talkative for his own good. He must die in a gruesome way.
8. To appeal to female audience members, stage a romantic ending.
As I've said, I've never seen a Bond movie before - and honestly if this is what a Bond movie is, I'll wait for the videos from now on, thank you very much. "Tomorrow Never Dies" is visually exciting, that I must grant it. Pierce Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh are in classic James Bond and Bond Girl mode (that is, of course, according to my impression); as they shoot down bad guys, escape explosive, and engage in romantic affairs without ever looking unkempt or harassed. Suavity is a must for Bond people. There are enough cool gadgets, and of course, a GREAT car scattered throughout the movie to keep us interested; there are enough laughs (especially, IMO, the embarrassed assassin guy in the hotel) to keep us from falling asleep. But otherwise, I'd take a John Woo movie over this anytime. The storytelling is slack, the action sequences mediocre and seemingly recycled, and the plot predictable. Jonathan Pryce (Elliot Carver) isn't at his best here, and Teri Hatcher (Paris Carver) seems like a brunette version of Marita Covurrabias (Laurie Holden), the airhead informant lady on "The X-Files."
But I can't really complain about a Bond movie. I suppose it's supposed to merely entertain - intelligent or not. At times I get that irritating feeling that the producers think that the audience is composed solely of idiots and 11 year olds. I did get a kick out of the banter, the gadgets, and the Bondisms. I admire James Bond like a parent does a little child. If only "Tomorrow Never Dies" were as smart and thrilling as its main character.
RATING: C+ (First viewing, 12/19/97)
*Perhaps my favorite line in this movie is Bond's "Never argue with a woman: they're always right." >: )