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November 26 - December 3, 1999

[Movie Reviews]

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The World is not Enough

Formulaic? Of course. Entertaining? You bet your Aston Martin. Actually, 007's famous car is now a souped-up BMW, but little else has changed in James Bond's modus operandi over the past 19 films. He's still his old globe-trotting, gadget-using, babe-shagging self. The plot this time around involves an Azerbaijani oil pipeline and a pilfered Russian warhead -- the latter to be deployed to protect the interests of the former. Bond must match wits with Renard (the ubiquitous Robert Carlyle), a terrorist who, following a botched assassination attempt, has a bullet in his brain that makes him impervious to pain. Joining 007 for the ride are Renard's former kidnap victim Elektra King (radiant Sophie Marceau) and a voluptuous but underwhelming Denise Richards as, incredibly, a nuclear physicist. Her name is Christmas Jones -- leading to horrifying Bond quips like "I was wrong about you . . . I thought Christmas only came once a year." Supporting alphabet includes an underused Judi Dench as M and, of course, still-spry Desmond Llewelyn (Bond film veteran since '63) as Q.

Some things never change. It's ironic, then, that one of the first sights in the film is Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain -- juxtaposing such a famously radical concept with such a rote movie only calls attention to TWINE's limitations. Nonetheless, director Michael Apted manages to pack enough flash into the film to excite even the most jaded critic. Pierce Brosnan supplies 007's requisite unmussed smoothness, and the nifty action and effects (an acrobatic jet-powered-boat chase, some monstrous helicopter-mounted circular saws), though predictable, fulfill the promotional promise that "there is still one number you can always count on."

-- Michael Miliard

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