James Bond Retrospective: Die Another Day (2002)

The Bond Villain After the weak villains of the previous two films, Gustav Graves is a more interesting character in a similar vein to Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye. The sneering entrepreneur is closer to Bond in age, size and intellect making the two men different sides of the same coin. Played with relish by Toby Stephens, he imbues Graves with an arrogance and self-confidence that make him and Bond very alike. His over-reliance on technology, echoing the flaws of the film itself, is ultimately his downfall but he is at least given a more complex back-story than is afforded many Bond villains.

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(On discovering Gustav Graves' real identity)

James Bond: So you live to die another day.

Graves€™ real identity, hidden by years of DNA gene therapy is that of the North Korean Colonel Tan-Sun Moon. Played by Will Yun Lee, Colonel Moon only appears briefly in the pre-credits scene and hovercraft chase. The weapons and conflict diamond dealer is a fairly one-dimensional character and it is only later in the film when it is revealed that he has returned from the dead in the guise of Graves that his character is given a deeper meaning and status. Moon and Grave€™s lead henchman, Zao is another character who has undergone facial reconstruction following his run-in with Bond during the opening scenes where he is scarred by diamond fragments. As Zao€™s treatment is interrupted in Cuba he is left with a colourless complexion and silvery eyes giving him a very distinctive look and a reason to hold a grudge against Bond. Played by former model Rick Yune, Zao is given little to do and it is only his involvement in the car chase across the frozen ice lake that makes his role really worthwhile. In a brief role, Grave€™s other henchman is the aptly named Mr. Kil. His appearance in yet another CG enhanced sequence sees Bond and Mr. Kil dodging laser beams during a fight in Graves€™ ice palace. Mr. Kil is eventually killed when Jinx points a laser beam at the back of his head. Following his death, Jinx and Bond use a laser to cut off his hand to gain access to Grave€™s personal quarters.

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Mr. Kil: I€™m Mr. Kil.

James Bond: Now there€™s a name to die for.

The Bond Girl Giacinta €œJinx€ Johnson, an NSA agent and Bond€™s companion on his mission to stop Graves is supposed to be a strong independent female in the Wai Lin mould from Tomorrow Never Dies. Sadly she is does not even come close and is actually a very thinly drawn character proving that there is more to being a memorable Bond girl than just looking good in a bikini. Fresh from winning an Academy Award, Halle Berry should have been a very sound choice to bring depth and personality to the role but instead she creates an unlikeable character who brings little to the film. It is hard to believe that prior to the film€™s release there was so much confidence in her character that there was talk of her starring in her own spin-off movie.

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James Bond: Do you believe in bad luck?

Jinx: Let€™s just say my relationships don€™t seem to last.

James Bond: I know the feeling.

A much more interesting, multi-layered character is provided by Rosamund Pike as Miranda Frost, an undercover agent working for MI6 posing as Graves€™ girlfriend and PA. Frost€™s ambiguous loyalty to both sides gives her the edge over Jinx playing both Bond and Graves off against each other. She is the real villain of the film and is far more manipulative than Graves making her one of the more memorable Bond girls of the Brosnan era.

Chris Wright hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.