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Overall Rating

Awesome: 34.52%
Worth A Look42.86%
Just Average: 13.1%
Pretty Crappy: 5.95%
Sucks: 3.57%

3 reviews, 66 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"The first Brosnan Bond, and the best."
4 stars

As the 1990s' reboot of 007 in 'GoldenEye,' Pierce Brosnan is under at least as much pressure as Roger Moore was when he took over. But, like Moore (at least in the '70s), Brosnan wears the pressure gracefully.

When Moore became James Bond, in 1973's Live and Let Die, George Lazenby had already failed to fill Sean Connery's tux; Connery returned for one (supposedly) last appearance in Diamonds Are Forever and then bequeathed the franchise to Roger Moore, who did something very smart. Realizing that many 007 fans wouldn't accept him either, Moore projected a certain indifference -- "Who cares if you like me? I'm Bond now. Deal with it" -- that worked quite well as Bondian insouciance. In his own style, Moore was true to Connery's cool impassiveness, and he outlasted Connery (until his indifference festered into boredom). Then came Timothy Dalton, a fine, classically trained actor who took the role altogether too seriously (this from the man who'd seemed able to camp it up in 1980's Flash Gordon); he outlasted Lazenby by one film. Now comes Pierce Brosnan, who would have been Bond instead of Dalton if he hadn't been tied to Remington Steele. He stands in relation to Moore and Dalton the way Moore stood in relation to Connery and Lazenby, and there's the added pressure of proving the Bond franchise still has legs.

Should we care? I don't have an emotional stake in James Bond. The movies are essentially Cold War cartoons having no more to do with reality than Boris and Natasha, and many of the 007 films have a lot of dead space in between the outlandish stunts. The latter isn't true of GoldenEye, which, under the direction of Martin Campbell (No Escape), moves like a bullet. And Brosnan, like Moore, understands that Bond isn't a serious endeavor. The idea is to have fun in the role and look slick doing it. He does. GoldenEye isn't anything great, but it's certainly one of the least boring Bond entries (how's that for damning with faint praise?), and Brosnan takes much of the credit. Some of Bond's demons parallel Brosnan's (Bond lost his wife in On Her Majesty's Secret Service; Brosnan lost his wife to cancer), and Brosnan brings this to Bond without making a big point of it or weighing the action down. Bond's womanizing and brutality, we realize now more than ever, were cemented when he lost the only woman he would ever truly love.

Oh, yes, and stuff blows up too. GoldenEye delivers the goods -- the massive set pieces so absurd the audience laughs and gasps at the same time. If you blink, you miss the plot, which has something to do with computers and big weapons and a scheme to wipe out England's economy. (If the movie is a big hit, it can only reflect the deep American concern about the well-being of British finance.) Sean Bean, unmemorable as the terrorist villain in Patriot Games, is equally forgettable here as the renegade Agent 006, the big arch-villain this time. He has issues with Bond dating back to a shared botched caper, and he sports a Blofeld facial scar that makes him no less boring. His cohort is Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), a hyperventilating man-killer who crushes her victims between her powerful thighs. This is perfectly in keeping with the Bondian take on sexual women: They're fine if they can be seduced; if they're the seducers, watch out. The woman-who-can-be-seduced here is Izabella Scorupco as Natalya, a smart Russian computer hacker. Think Sandra Bullock in The Net with a Natasha accent. Perhaps the biggest challenge Bond faces in GoldenEye is how to peel off all of Natalya's layers of frumpy clothes.

All this, and stuff blows up, too. If the Bond films have one saving grace, it's their escalating game of "We bet you haven't seen this before, or if you have, you haven't seen it this ballsy." GoldenEye sets the tone right off the bat, when Bond hops onto a motorcycle, chases a pilotless plane off a cliff, goes into free-fall, catches up to the plane, slips behind the controls, and pulls it out of a certain crash. Even Indiana Jones would be impressed. Indy would, however, know what to do with the tank near the end. When 006 seizes Natalya, Bond comes after them in a massive Russian tank, bashing through cars on the street and finally derailing a train. Brosnan (in his close-ups, anyway, when we're not watching his stunt doubles) plays these scenes wittily, striking the ideal balance between self-aware parody and focused seriousness. So does the director. GoldenEye in general is fast and light.

Is this what movies were meant to do? It's what Bond movies were meant to do, anyway, and though the 007 movies feel less liberating and fresh now that we routinely get a dozen big, dumb spectacles a year, at least the Bond revival may show Hollywood how it should be done. If the series can stay as painless and mindlessly engaging as 'GoldenEye,' it has a future.

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originally posted: 01/23/07 20:48:48
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User Comments

3/24/18 morris campbell dull bond film imho 1 stars
3/08/17 Louise (the actual one) Great stuff. A lot of explosions, yes, but not as over-the-top as the recent Craig Bonds. 5 stars
8/28/12 roscoe after 1stscene, first hour is hard to watch. delays the action for too long. 2nd hour great 4 stars
7/23/10 bagwell5 One of my favorite Bond films. By far Brosnan's best. Sean Bean makes a great villian 5 stars
8/29/09 Jeff Wilder Brosnan's good. But the movie's more concerned with in-jokes and updates than telling story 3 stars
11/30/08 the dork knight Still the best of the Brosnan Bonds. Great casting all around 5 stars
11/09/08 Mark Gibson its great enjoyable, fast and furious. regenrated bond for the 90's 5 stars
1/26/08 Pamela White One of Bond's best plots 5 stars
8/31/07 mrsinister Thigh-crusher Jean Grey and Brosnan save an otherwise boring movie. 3 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Everything is going as it should be, maybe even a bit more. 4 stars
2/15/07 johnnyfog Sean Bean gets typecast for the first time! Oh, and killer thigh lady=awesome 4 stars
10/29/06 ProSneakyD Pierce explodes bond into the 90's, highly thrilling adventure but has some low points 4 stars
9/11/06 Eden Simply the best Bond movie 5 stars
8/20/06 Sepi53 Top Bond film, Pierce Brosnan rocks! 5 stars
6/04/06 JM Synth Enjoyable, but rather old-fashioned and out-of-step. A step back of sorts from Licence 3 stars
5/21/06 Yorkee Brilliant Brosnan!! - Welcome back James - Loved it. 5 stars
1/02/06 Anthony Feor Another home run by Peirce 4 stars
11/19/05 chris great film 5 stars
9/02/05 ES The best bond ever made, Famke is hot & the multi-player video game was highly addictive 4 stars
8/25/05 Eden Golden - best Bond of them all 5 stars
5/26/05 tony We have now seen the best bond..BROSNAN. My favorite Bond flick 5 stars
2/05/05 Tom Benton One of the best Bond flicks ever ... Brosnan is spectacular ... clever and excellently done 4 stars
1/07/05 keithers.. A amazing comeback for bond...the best Bond film with Brosnan 5 stars
12/05/04 sbpat21 Bond. Brosnan is Bond. 4 stars
8/17/04 Destiny Pifer one of my fav james bond movies! 5 stars
8/02/04 P.Rodriguez All James Bond movies are S#$T!!!!. 1 stars
7/17/04 Daveman Has more going for it in terms of plot than more recent installments but Bean sucks. 3 stars
5/31/04 Nobody Bean a good villain...but Boris steals the show. 4 stars
5/07/04 Littlepurch. This and 'The World is Not Enough r the only two good Brosnan films,bt they certainly r gd! 5 stars
2/16/04 Stefan Halka Too much emphasis on plot and not enough focus on action made this film dull to me. 3 stars
11/29/03 john a step in the right direction to the return of 007 in a great movie 4 stars
7/06/03 Paul S. Classic scenes: bungee jump,M & Bond`s talk,Xenia,Boris messing with Bond`s pen,Trevelyan 5 stars
4/14/03 The Talking Elbow Screw the nitpickers, this is the greatest action movie ever made. 5 stars
3/14/03 TAG Although I miss Dalton, Brosnan made a solid debut in his first Bond outing. 4 stars
3/02/03 The Talking Elbow The best 90s bond movie, actually ranks above many of the older bonds, and a damn good film 5 stars
12/08/02 Zargo pretty ok bond flick 3 stars
12/03/02 Jiz It had Boris and the tank scene. Other than that it sucked ass. 2 stars
11/26/02 moviemachine Great Bond film. 5 stars
9/16/02 CVJ Brilliant Brosnan the best Bond since Connery but still not as good as Him 5 stars
7/19/02 ! Best 007 movie since years 4 stars
5/26/02 R.W. Welch Face it. Nobody around now can play Bond. Past time to retire it. 3 stars
3/01/02 Alan Smithee One of my personal favorites of the Bond films. Extremely well done in every respect. 5 stars
10/22/01 Tam Usual SFX-packed action fare. Poor character development and silly plot. 2 stars
9/19/01 Butterbean Bronsan was born to play Bond. The dry spell since Connery ended here! 5 stars
9/09/01 Henry Ginsberg The best Bond movie since Dr.No. 5 stars
8/06/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) I love it. But, after the first billion times you see it, you get soincredibly tired of it! 3 stars
7/09/01 TLsmooth The reason they make movies like this: PEOPLE ARE FUCKING MORONS. 1 stars
10/23/00 Gremlin Best Bond movie in my opinion. Must see for anyone who likes a good action movie. 5 stars
5/28/00 Cooke This is the best one. 5 stars
3/27/00 Richard Wright Not a good film, or even a good Bond film. Predictable story, Lame one-liners. Bad job 007. 2 stars
2/05/00 Kyle Broflovski I always though Pierce Brosnan would make a perfect Bond. :-) 4 stars
10/24/99 BBReBozo Brosnan rules. The red-head is the hottest Bond broad ever. 4 stars
9/05/99 the Grinch Brosnan's too plastic. Too many gizmos and not enough wits. 2 many xplosions. okay to rent 3 stars
6/14/99 Dylan Best Bond for aeons. 4 stars
3/18/99 Dave Chambers Very good for Pierce Brosnan's first Bond Movie 5 stars
3/12/99 Claude Derralt Great Film. Bond IS back and in great form. 5 stars
1/14/99 Dasha Pierce Brosnan is the BEST Bond! 4 stars
1/11/99 I.P. Freeley Great! Just great! Kick-asstoys and FX, what more cna you say? 5 stars
12/04/98 Jules Over the top. Even too much for a Bond flick. 2 stars
11/20/98 Slupet lots of cool toys and explosions, what more can you ask for? :) 5 stars
11/12/98 Waldo Mitty Great puss 4 stars
10/24/98 Patrick888 Superb re-launching of the series and great debut for Brosnan 4 stars
10/24/98 Johny Should (and could) have been better 3 stars
10/24/98 Sissel Fantastic 5 stars
10/24/98 Negative Creep Since Bond entered the 90s his adventures got bigger yet boring, This film is Like Dull Sex 3 stars
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  17-Nov-1995 (PG-13)


  21-Dec-1995 (PG)

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