Tomorrow Never Dies [1997]

Pierce Brosnan returns for his second stint as James Bond (after GoldenEye), and he's doing it in high style with an invigorating cast of costars. It's only appropriate that a Bond film from 1997 would find Agent 007 pitted against a media mogul (Jonathan Pryce) who's going to start a global war (beginning with stolen nuclear missiles aimed at China) to create attention-grabbing headlines for his latest multimedia news channel. It's the information age run amok, and Bond must team up with a lovely and lethal agent from the Chinese External Security Force (played by Honk Kong action star Michelle Yeoh) to foil the madman's plot of global domination. Luckily for Bond, the villain's wife (Teri Hatcher) is one of his former lovers, and at the behest of his superior M (Judi Dench), 007 finds ample opportunity to exploit the connection. Although it bears some nagging similarities to many formulaic action films from the '90s, Tomorrow Never Dies (with a title song performed by Sheryl Crow) boasts enough grand-scale action and sufficiently intelligent plotting to suggest the Bond series has plenty of potential to survive into the next millennium. Armed with the usual array of gadgets (including a remote-controlled BMW), Brosnan settles into his role with acceptable flair, and the dynamic Yeoh provides a perfect balance to the sexism that once threatened to turn Bond into a politically incorrect anachronism. He's still Bond, to be sure, but he's saving the world with a bit more sophisticated finesse. In addition to theatrical trailers, this special edition DVD comes with a feature-length audio commentary by director Roger Spottiswoode, more commentary by stunt director Vic Armstrong and producer Michael G. Wilson, a storyboard overlay that compares action-sequence concepts with final footage, a 45-minute "Secrets of 007" featurette covering the evolution of the Bond character, and an isolated music-only track with an interview of composer David Arnold. Bond would be proud.--Jeff Shannon

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