In the most introspective Bond film ever, Pierce Brosnan returns as the dashing agent, who’s been held hostage in Korea for more than a year. Stripped of his “00” status upon his release for allegedly divulging top-secret information, Bond strikes out alone to uncover the traitor who set him up. Crossing paths repeatedly with the mysterious Jinx (Halle Berry), Bond follows a shrapnel-faced terrorist named Zao (Rick Yune) to the lair of boyish megalomaniac Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens), who has devised a diabolical scheme to rule the world. Despite several affectionate nods to bygone Bond flicks, the pulse-quickening thrills, which include high-speed hovercraft and rocket-powered sled chases, are distinctly 21st-century. Only Berry, who trips clumsily over her double-entendre-filled dialogue, mars the near-perfect proceedings. Even so, with guns, gadgets and girls galore, the film delivers the requisite big action and then some.
Kinsey Scale: 3 (Brosnan, who admits he once thought he might be gay, appeared in the drag fest Mrs. Doubtfire and with gay icon Barbra Streisand in The Mirror Has Two Faces. In addition to singing the title song, another gay icon, Madonna, shows up here as a fencing instructor. Stephens appeared in the gay-themed Possession and played Othello in the gender-bending Orlando. Judi Dench, returning as M, was bisexual novelist Iris Murdoch in Iris and Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.
(Appeared in Q Syndicate)