Director: Martin Campbell
Screenplay: Jeffrey Caine and Bruce Feirstein
Stars: Pierce Brosnan (James Bond), Sean Bean (Alec Trevelyan), Izabella Scorupco (Natalya Siminova), Famke Janssen (Xenia Onatopp), Joe Don Baker (Jack Wade), Judi Dench (M), Robbie Coltrane (Valentin Zukovsky), Tchéky Karyo (Dimitri Mishkin)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Year of Release: 1995
Country: USA-UK
It's been six years since James Bond drew his Walter PB-K on the silver screen, and since that time there has been such a drastic change in the state of the world that one is forced to ask the question: "Is there room in the 90's for 007?" In today's post-Cold War politically correct environment, James Bond does not seem to have a comfortable niche. As the new female M tells him to his face, "Mr. Bond, you are a sexist, misogynist dinosaur."

But really, who cares?

People don't go to a James Bond film with political correctness on their minds, and those that do are in the wrong place. James Bond films exist to give the audience a two hour thrill ride, and "GoldenEye," the seventeenth installment of the three decade old series, does just that.

Since Bond temporarily left the cinema, the likes of Bruce Willis' "Die Hard" series and Mel Gibson's "Lethal Weapon" films have upped the ante in the action film genre, daring each succeeding film to be bigger, bolder, louder, and bloodier. Earlier Bond films paved the way for these modern 90's explosion-fests, so it is only right that he continues to give them a run for their money.

James Bond has a new face with Pierce Brosnan, who is following a two film stint by Timothy Dalton. Sean Connery has always been the Bond favorite, but Brosnan proves himself to be more than a worthy competitor. He sweats more and shaves less than his predecessors, and at forty-two years of age, he might seem a bit old to be starting his Bond career; but somehow this age seems almost appropriate. Brosnan embodies all the elements that make Bond what he is, including being handsome, cold, and (dare I say it?) a bit politically incorrect.

Bond's often cool demeanor and his avoidance of serious relationships have come under fire in recent years, but the film addresses the question openly, making the point that these are the very characteristics that have kept him alive for so long. One of the strengths of the film is its willingness to face the issues upfront without challenging Bond's integrity as a long-standing character.

"GoldenEye" has the usual entourage of depraved villains. It is often said that films of this sort are reliant not on the hero because he is always the same, but rather on how notorious and evil the bad guy is. The most memorable baddie of this film is Xenia Onatopp, a female Russian assassin who kills her male victims by, shall we say, provocative means. Because James Bond is such a widely recognized womanizer, it is only appropriate that his arch nemesis is so often a female.

After six long years, it was good to see James Bond back in action. "GoldenEye" ranks with some of the best Bond films of all time because it was traditional enough to leave 007's character alone, but intelligent enough to deal with the fact that he is in new surroundings. The action is over the top, the women are gorgeous, the locations are breathtaking, and all the pistons are firing in this film.

There is just no substitute for 007.

Reprinted with permission The Baylor Lariat

Overall Rating: (3)

James Kendrick

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