In his third outing as Bond, Pierce Brosnan sure gave us a good show bringing his trilogy to an end in style with a film that, although not quite as good or memorable as its predecessors, made a worthy conclusion to one of 007's best eras.
Before Die Another Day, that is...
But The World Is Not Enough starts off with one of the longest (and best) pre-titles sequences around: Bond in an MI6 speedboat chasing a female terrorist around The Thames only to end with a hot-air balloon explosion and 007 rolling down the Millenium Dome. Check out Bond fixing his tie while underwater, boating on the road and cheekily splashing parking wardens.
Then the plot kicks in as we learn that Robert Carlyle is Renard, a superhuman dude with a bullet in his head and Sophie Marceau's stripper-named Elektra King is an important part of the puzzle. Along the way, Bond meets Robbie Coltrane's always welcome sleaze-bag Valentin Zukovsky and Denise Richards who plays, ahem, nuclear physicist Dr Christmas Jones. We also meet Q's replacement R (John Cleese) in a genuinely sweet passing-of-the-torch moment.
Oh and Goldie plays a henchman called Bullion.
I don't know why either.
Brosnan by now is clearly very comfortable playing Bond and with M getting captured about halfway through the film, the character is given a bit more to worry about. It's possibly Brosnan's best performance as Bond in that the one-liners are kept on a strict "need-to-pun" basis and the action rarely overshadows the plot leaving him with more than one emotion to sustain throughout.
The film does falter on some levels though: the action sequences, with the exception of the opening scene, all take place either at night or indoors making them feel slightly claustrophobic and it all builds up to a bit of an underwhelming climax. Also, (spoilers) Marceau isn't completely convincing as a real threat despite her character being an interesting and uncharacteristically complex villain. And I'm not being mean but Denise Richards is a nuclear physicist like James Bond is a freakin' virgin. Carlyle's Renard is also criminally underused with very few stand-out scenes depicting why his character is as awesome as the build-up claimed he was.
Not a big fan of this one upon its release, a re-watch did allow me to enjoy it more. It is a good film and a good Bond effort, it just needed a better finish and to do a bit more with some of its main characters. Not the most unique of 007 flicks but a strong outing that's definitely worth a watch regardless.