CNN Showbiz

'Goldeneye': 007's license to thrill renewed

November 21, 1995
Web posted at: 7:30 a.m. EST

From Movie Reviewer Carol Buckland

(CNN) -- James Bond's latest outing is big, and it's brash -- in short, it's double-oh-fun.

Bond. James Bond.

The big question is how is Pierce Brosnan as Bond? Let me start by confessing that for me, there's only one cinematic Bond. That's the original, Sean Connery. George Lazenby was, well, those of you who suffered through his solo outing as 007 can fill in the blank. Roger Moore was amusing in a stiff, male mannequin kind of way, but I never believed him for an instant. As for Timothy Dalton, he needed to lighten up; after all, 007 isn't Shakespeare!

I thought Brosnan was a not-so-hot pick for Bond back when he was originally selected, which was during the days of his role of Remington Steele. He was too lightweight, too pretty. Now, though, with a few extra years on him, to say nothing of some extra emotional heft, he's probably the best choice around.

kiss

He doesn't have Connery's clout or charisma, but he's suave, debonair and a killer with a quip. Box office-wise, he'll have the ladies turning out in swooning droves.

The plot of "Goldeneye," like all Bond stories, is convoluted. Russian traitors have seized a top secret space device that's capable of knocking out all the electronic circuits in a given target area. Consider killing all the computer data in New York or London or some other metropolitan area. This would result in an informational-cum-financial chaos.

villains

There aren't that many bad guys in "Goldeneye." The main villain is Sean Bean, of "Patriot Games" fame. He's cast as a turncoat, who is out for revenge. Bean is not as outrageously flaky as Christopher Walken in "Living Daylights." But he's no Dr. No or Mr. Goldfinger, either. If you want to see Bean shown to far better advantage, one should watch the "Sharpe" series that occasionally turns up on PBS's Masterpiece Theater.

There's also Robbie Coltrane, who does an amusing turn as a Russian mafioso who forms a brief alliance of convenience with Bond. If you want to see him do something brilliant, check out your cable listing to see when A&E is playing the "Cracker" series from Britain. Coltrane plays a forensic psychiatrist who drinks too much, is addicted to gambling and screws around. He's also bloody brilliant at his job.

As for the Bond babes? Well, happy to report, the ladies are lovely, and, in one case, lethal, while 007 remains as much of a sexist pig as ever. Izabella Scorupco is the Russian computer whiz who aids 007; she's no nerd! She even gets to snap at James a few times for his Neanderthal behavior.

The best character of all is Xenia Onatopp (such a subtle name), who is played by the gorgeous Famke Janssen. Xenia is a babe-in-black killer who gets off on pain -- her own, and everybody else's. She also has as assassination technique that makes you wonder if she's been working out with the Thigh Master.

stunt

The stunts are generally well staged, especially a fast and funny car-versus-tank chase through the streets of St. Petersberg. There's plenty of bang-bang, boom-boom, most of which is punctuated with semi-clever wisecracks from Bond.

Everything seems a tad old-hat, however. The early Bond films pioneered the big-budget action stunt. Nowadays, everybody does them.

The opening titles are so-so. The theme song, which was written by Bono and the Edge and is performed by Tina Turner, with great vibrato, is OK, but not terribly memorable.

All in all, "Goldeneye" is good, retro-style entertainment. It polishes up the 007 franchise in slick style. Bond will live on, at least for one more sequel.

"Goldeneye" is rated PG-13, for the violence (the body count seems higher than in past Bond films), some sexual innuendo and situations, and some mild cursing.



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