With Casino Royale, 2006 Daniel Craig took up the reins of Ian Flemming’s James Bond, Agent 007. While there are many new firsts in the latest Casino Royale, this writer thought this a fitting time to look back to start of Pierce Brosnan’s reign as everyone’s favorite original action hero, Agent 007, James Bond.
GoldenEye debuted in 1995. Has it really been that long ago that Brosnan picked up the mantle? Timothy Dalton, George Lazenby and Roger Moore had all worn the mantle, with Moore carrying it for the longest stretch, but it was time for a new Bond and Pierce Brosnan was his name.
This film also saw the introduction of Sean Bean, Famke Janssen, Izabella Scorupco, Alan Cummings, Joe Don Baker along with Robbie Coltrane and Judi Dench into the Bond films history. Coltrane would reprise his character in The World Is Not Enough, and Dench is the new “M,” Bond’s superior at MI6. Also notable is the theme song GoldenEye, sung by Tina Turner and written by Bono and The Edge, of U2. Additionally noteworthy: this is the last Bond film to be viewed by its namesake producer, Albert R. Broccoli.
The storyline is true to Flemming’s style- On a mission in the USSR, Bond thinks his cohort, Agent 006, has been killed by a Soviet officer. Nine years later he may have the opportunity to avenge that killing while pursuing the theft of the access codes and keys to GoldenEye, a secret Russian space-based EMP generating satellite. Judi Dench acquaints herself well taking up the role of M, going head to head with the Bond mystique and establishing the rules of operation as the new head of MI6. The first woman to hold that position. There are ruffled feathers abounding!
Sean Bean is wonderful as the one-time cohort, Agent 006. As 007 comes to know his real motives and agenda, a battle of wits is set in motion and a friendship is irrevocably destroyed. Famke Janssen is top notch as bad girl villain, Xenia Onotopp, jet fighter pilot, race car driver and vicious lovemaking assassin. It’s hard believe that this hellcat would become Dr. Jean Grey of The X-Men, years later.
GoldenEye is action-packed fun. From high explosives and higher-still dangling heights, to car and tank chases through the streets of St. Petersburg, you’re drawn into the drama and the thrill of the hunt. Alan Cummings is cut to the T as the computer geek Boris who is made to pay for his bad boy hacker attitude. And the Bond penchant for notable quotes that play on the sexual edge are wonderfully on display here. There’s one especially wicked I’ll let you find for yourself.
One thing you will note watching GoldenEye is that being Bond is a physically demanding calling. Heck, being in a James Bond film as a villain, femme fatale or even Bond’s love interest, will likely place you in some very demanding situations. Ms Janssen is seen actually driving a speeding Ferrari as it careens seemingly out of control. Brosnan’s commitment to the role is also demonstrated early in some of the opening fifteen minutes of the film. I wouldn’t spoil it for you but do note that he’s doing those stunts himself and a few times, you do hear him grunt at the impact.
Pierce Brosnan held the James Bond mantle from 1995 to 2006. That’s quite a record. As Daniel Craig takes the helm, may he be blessed with strong writing, good direction and stamina. Agent 007 is always in need of those straits. To paraphrase the British, “Long live Agent 007, Pierce Brosnan! All hail Agent 007, Daniel Craig!”