Die Another Day
|Die Another Day (2002) is the 20th spy film in the James Bond series, and the fourth and last film to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond; it is also the last Bond film of the original timeline with the series being rebooted with Casino Royale. In the pre-title sequence, Bond leads a mission to North Korea, during which he is betrayed and, after seemingly killing a rogue North Korean colonel, he is captured and imprisoned. More than a year later, Bond is released as part of a prisoner exchange, and, surmising that someone within the British government betrayed him, he follows a trail of clues in an effort to earn redemption by finding his betrayer and killing a North Korean agent he considers central to his torture.
Die Another Day, produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, and directed by Lee Tamahori, marks the franchise’s 40th anniversary. The series began in 1962 with Sean Connery starring as Bond in Dr. No. Die Another Day includes references to each of the preceding films and also alludes to several Bond novels.
The 2002 film received mixed reviews—some critics praised Lee Tamahori’s work on the film, while others claimed the plot was damaged by excessive use of CGI. Though it received mixed reviews, it was the highest-grossing James Bond film to that date.
James Bond — Agent 007 and sometimes simply ‘007’ — infiltrates a North Korean military base, where Colonel Tan-Sun Moon is illegally trading African conflict diamonds for weaponry. After Moon’s assistant Zao discovers Bond is a British agent, the colonel attempts to escape in a hovercraft. Bond distracts the soldiers with an explosion, which disfigures Zao’s face with diamonds, and takes to another hovercraft to give chase. During the duel with Bond, Moon’s hovercraft plunges down a waterfall, apparently killing Moon. Bond is captured by North Korean soldiers and imprisoned by the Colonel’s father, General Moon.
After 14 months of captivity and torture, Bond is traded for Zao in a prisoner exchange. He is sedated and taken to meet M, who informs him that his status as a 00 is suspended, due to her belief that he may have leaked information under duress. Still bitter over Zao’s release, Bond decides to complete his mission by evading MI6’s security and travelling to Hong Kong, where he learns Zao is in Cuba.
After arriving in Havana, Bond meets NSA agent Giacinta ‘Jinx’ Johnson. Bond follows Zao and Jinx to a gene therapy clinic, where patients can have their appearances altered through DNA restructuring. Bond locates Zao inside the clinic and a fight ensues. Zao flees in a helicopter, but leaves behind a pendant. Bond opens it and finds a cache of diamonds, identified as conflict diamonds, but bearing the crest of the company of British billionaire Gustav Graves.
Bond encounters Graves, along with his assistant Miranda Frost, also an undercover MI6 agent, at Blades Club. After a sword fight, Bond is invited by Graves to Iceland for a scientific demonstration. Shortly afterwards, M restores Bond’s Double-0 status and offers assistance in the investigation.
In Iceland, Graves unveils a new orbital mirror satellite, “Icarus”, which is able to focus solar energy on a small area and provide year-round sunshine for crop development. At midnight, Jinx infiltrates Graves’ command centre in the palace, but is captured by Zao. Bond rescues her, and after seeing Zao talking with Graves, realises that Colonel Moon is still alive. Moon has used the gene therapy technology to change his appearance, assuming the identity of Gustav Graves.
Bond confronts Graves, but Frost arrives to reveal herself as the traitor and the one who exposed Bond in North Korea, forcing 007 to escape from Graves’ facility. Bond then returns in his Aston Martin Vanquish to rescue Jinx, to which Zao gives pursuit in his Jaguar XKR, both cars driving inside the rapidly-melting ice palace. Bond kills Zao by luring him under a collapsing chandelier, and then rescues Jinx from drowning.
Bond and Jinx pursue Graves and Frost to the Korean peninsula and stow away on Graves’ cargo plane. Graves reveals his true identity to his father, and the purpose of the Icarus satellite: cutting a path through the Korean Demilitarized Zone with concentrated sunlight, allowing North Korean troops to invade South Korea and reunite the countries through force. Horrified, General Moon tries to stop the plan, but is murdered by his own son.
A gun goes off, blasting a hole in the side of the plane, causing it to descend rapidly. Bond engages Graves in a fist fight to stop the attack, while Jinx attempts to regain control of the plane, although Frost finds her, engaging her in a sword fight. After the plane passes through the Icarus beam and is severely damaged, Jinx kills Frost. Graves attempts to escape by parachute, but Bond opens the parachute, causing the slipstream to pull Graves out of the plane and into its engine, killing him and disabling the Icarus beam. Bond and Jinx escape the disintegrating plane, using a helicopter in the cargo hold, taking with them a stash of Graves’ diamonds.