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Film Review: Die Another Day

Updated on June 12, 2017
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Jason Wheeler is the Senior Writer and Editor at Film Frenzy. He reviews films from across the cinematic landscape.


In 2002, Lee Tamahori released Die Another Day, based on the character of James Bond by Ian Fleming, as the 20th film in the James Bond series. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune, Judi Dench, Will Yun Lee, John Cleese, Emilio Echevarria, Lawrence Makoare and Samantha Bond, the film grossed $431.97 million at the box office.


After a botched mission in North Korea, Bond endures 14 months of torture before he is freed in a prisoner exchange and immediately discharged. Becoming a rogue agent, he finds Gustav Graves, an entrepreneur making a fortune in blood diamonds building a space-based sunlight reflector.


As Brosnan’s last Bond film before leaving the character, Die Another Day is not only Brosnan’s worst film, but is one of the worst films in the series. As the 40th anniversary film, it has some good references to previous entries in the series, where others fail miserably, especially in regards to the main plot. During the Q briefing, Bond comes across the shoe-knife seen in From Russia with Love alongside the jetpack from Thunderball, the yellow driving helmet from For Your Eyes Only and the AcroStar MiniJet, the crocodile submarine, magic rope and five-pointed knife from Octopussy. These are all very clever references, well written into the plot due to how many of them are products of Q Branch and would therefore be stored therein. Another interestingly good reference is Graves employing a Union Jack parachute similar to the one Bond used in The Spy Who Loved Me.

However, there were some references which were employed terribly, such as Jinx walking out of the ocean in a bikini, wearing a white belt and diving knife, reminiscent of Honey Ryder in Dr. No. While it succeeds in referencing the past film, it's done so subtly that it's most likely going to be lost on a majority of the viewers. Bond goes rogue as well, similar to how he did the same thing when M rescinded his license to kill in Licence to Kill, though it comes off as forced in this film. Yet, the most glaring reference is the entire plot. Gustav Graves, a respected industrialist who is really a supervillain with a changed identity, uses diamonds to build a giant laser in space meant to neutralize ground-based military defenses. It’s essentially a complete copy of Diamonds are Forever. In marking the film's 40th anniversary, the film should have had a better plot than one entirely lifted from one of the worst films in the franchise.

Furthermore, using Graves as a villain wasted a perfectly good character along with a fantastic plot. Colonel Moon could have been a fascinating villain without having to transform himself into Graves with his psychotic rage and desire to please his father fueling his drive to reunify Korea. The transition to turn him into a completely different person and villain, a well-respected billionaire who has permanent insomnia and must spend one hour each day in an REM machine to be kept sane, is nonsensical even when looking back at the series' campiest moments.

What could have made the film so much better is if these were two different people working together to achieve the same goal. Moon allying himself with Graves would continue to make him a hypocrite in light of his talk about despising the West and believing it to be beneath him. At the same time, Graves allying himself with Moon would make for a fascinating character of a billionaire choosing to side with the North Koreans. Not only would this make for two interesting villains, it would achieve the same effect with Moon's father as he believes his son to be dead in the beginning and continues to do so after Moon reveals himself, stating it's due to what Moon has become. Turn them into two characters and Moon's father considers his son dead due to him working with a Westerner and Graves is shunned for his alliances, giving the two of them nothing to lose should their plan fail.

2 stars for Die Another Day

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

BMI Film & TV Awards

  • BMI Film Music Award

Empire Awards

  • Best Newcomer (Rosamund Pike)

Image Awards

  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Halle Berry)

Razzie Awards

  • Worst Supporting Actress (Madonna)

The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards

  • Worst Supporting Actress (Madonna)

World Stunt Taurus Awards

  • Best Overall Stunt by a Stunt Woman (Two stunt women fight on an airplane that is about to crash. This fight uses multiple swords and weapons, as well as acrobatic and martial arts moves.)

Nominated for

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Original Song - Motion Picture (Song: "Die Another Day")

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best DVD/Blu-Ray Collection (Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection)
  • Cinescape Genre Face of the Future Award - Female (Rosamund Pike)
  • Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film
  • Best Actor (Pierce Brosnan)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Toby Stephens)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Halley Berry)

BET Awards

  • Best Actress (Halle Berry)

Black Reel Awards

  • Theatrical - Best Supporting Actress (Halle Berry)

Empire Awards

  • Best Film
  • Best Actress (Halle Berry)
  • Scene of the Year (For the sword fight)

Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Awards

  • Best Contemporary Hair Styling - Feature

Italian Online Movie Awards

  • Best Original Song (For the song "Die Another Day"

Kids' Choice Blimp Awards

  • Favorite Movie Actress (Halle Berry)
  • Favorite Female Butt Kicker (Halle Berry)

Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards

  • Best Sound Editing in Foreign Features

MTV Movie + TV Awards

  • Best Female Performance (Halle Berry)

MTV Video Music Awards

  • Best Video From a Film (For the music video for "Die Another Day")

Online Film & Television Association Awards

  • Best Music, Original Song (For the song "Die Another Day")

Razzie Awards

  • Worst Actress of the Decade (Madonna)
  • Worst Original Song (For the song "Die Another Day")

Golden Satellite Awards

  • Best Classic DVD Release (For "The James Bond DVD Collection," volumes 2 & 3)
  • Best Original Song (Song: "Die Another Day")

Teen Choice Awards

  • Choice Movie Actress - Drama/Action Adventure (Halle Berry)

The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards

  • Most Distracting Celebrity Cameo Appearance (Madonna)
  • Worst Song or Song Performance in a Film or Its End Credits ("Die Another Day")

Visual Effects Society Awards

  • Best Special Effects in a Motion Picture
  • Best Models and Miniatures in a MOtion Picture

Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards

  • Best Guilty Pleasure

World Stunt Taurus Awards

  • Best Fight (Two stunt men fight using swords throughout a palace. Fight includes the use of different swords starting with epees and progresses to samurai and broad swords showing the different application for each weapon.)
  • Best Work With a Vehicle (Stunt men drive hovercrafts around a mine field while shooting at each other. Hovercrafts are blown up, flipped and glide over fire and muddy pools. Two stunt men also fight on the moving vehicles. The chase ends when the vehicles crash over a cliff, into a pool of water.)
  • Best Specialty Stunt (Three surfers ride large waves, crossing each other on the face of the wave and moving closely together as they make their way to the beach.)


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