After GoldenEye made some substantial changes, the second Pierce Brosnan-fronted James Bond movie settles into the groove of unspectacular convention-adhering that has marked the series for the last couple of decades. Tomorrow Never Dies is pretty much what could be expected from a new James Bond movie, and while there are expected rewards in that, there's also a fair share of predictability and squandered opportunities. This time out, Brosnan is up against a media mogul (Jonathan Pryce) who, by controlling the news, seeks to control the world. In the course of his pursuit, the special agent discovers that Pryce has married an old flame (Teri Hatcher) and that high-kicking Chinese spy Michelle Yeoh is following the same trail. Aside from perpetuating the myth that Great Britain actually plays a meaningful part in the field of world politics, the Bond films are best known for their familiar pleasures: elaborate stunts, ludicrous love scenes, implausible gadgetry, and snappy one liners. All that's here, but by sticking to the formula so religiously, Tomorrow Never Dies sells itself short. The banter, for instance, is filled with so many over-scripted double-entendres that the film occasionally seems to be a strange revival of some forgotten Restoration comedy. Plus, the fact that thoroughly self-sufficient Hong Kong action star Yeoh is brought on board primarily to be rescued by her Anglo counterpart speaks to a dangerous lack of vision on the filmmakers' part. It certainly doesn't help that the not-very-sultry Sheryl Crow provides the not-very-sultry theme song.
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