6. Toby Stephens As Gustav Graves aka. Colonel Tan-Sun Moon/ Die Another Day (2002)
A North Korean Army Colonel falls to his presumed death to re-appear as a British Diamond Magnate. It has a ways to go on the James Bond movie plots worth giving a rats ass about. But I can work with it. Except the filmmakers didn't. They left it at that. This Bond film had a lot going for it, and I am not talking about Madonna as a fencing coach. Bond is on a mission that goes bad and is caught by the North Koreans. But not until after Colonel Tan-Sun Moon dies in a hovercraft that goes over a cliff. Bond is tortured for roughly 14 months then released as part of a prisoner exchange. Not a bad setup for a Bond film. We are left with Zao as the presumed baddy, and a mole in MI6 itself. A good plot to work with and expand on. But then the filmmakers tried to get clever with the villain. Don't get me wrong, the surprise that Moon is alive could have been an awesome plot twist. But it wasn't. In the greenhouse at the ice hotel when you discover Graves identity, you should have been taken aback. But you're not. In a plot where everybody's character is something other than what they seem, it doesn't pop out as a big moment. And then take the lines they've given him. They are some of the worst one liners ever. And considering all the Bond films have a lot of one liners, that is an achievement. Just take the scene where Graves shows off Icarus to the N. Korean Generals. It is so cringey and cheesy, I doubt anyone could have pulled it off. "The western spy runs but he cannot hide." "Time too draw the line." "Global warming is a terrible thing." I watched this one again a couple days ago, and I was so uncomfortable watching this scene I caught myself teeth grinding. But I don't blame the actor. He can only do so much with lines of this craptastic magnitude. And lets talk about Icarus. The most powerful weapon in any Bond film. Able to take out nuclear weapons in flight. Yes, the plot of conflict diamond smuggling for this purpose is straight out of "Diamonds Are Forever (1971)," but Bloefeld didn't complete his before Bond stopped him. It is awesome to see this weapon in action. Yet it is given to a villain who you don't give a rats ass about. In a movie with a plot you don't give a rats ass about. And then the scene where he sees his father again should have been this great moment. But it lacked any connection between the two characters, cause they never spent time truly showing Graves as the exiled N. Korean. You only think of him as Gustav Graves. There is no Connection to Col. Moon. In fact Gen. Moon was correct. The Colonel is dead. The attempts to make him more than Graves, were only successful in diluting the film. And in the end it diluted Graves as a good villain.