GoldenEye (1995) (PG-13)

There's a reason that "GoldenEye" looks so vastly different than all the other Bond movies that have come before it. Between the last film "License to Kill" and this one, there's a gap of six years. It's the longest stretch between movies in the series. Whatever the reason, whether it was replacing Timothy Dalton or finding a director, the franchise plods on undaunted.
What John Glen and Timothy Dalton did for the series, "GoldenEye" negates with its first ten minutes. It's much like how "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" expanded the emotion of the series, only to get Roger Moore following up with bad film after bad film.
The movie takes us back to Russia, back to criminals trying to rule the world, back to the basics. Pierce Brosnan enters as 007, referencing more of Sean Connery's portrayal of the man than any other actor.
In the movie's prologue, Bond is breaking into a chemical plant in Russia with the intention to blow it up. While there, he meets up with agent 006 and they proceed with their plans. It doesn't take too long before their presence gets picked up. Soon Russian soldiers come pouring into the room where Bond and 006 are. A few rounds of gunfire and some fast running later and 006 is captured, putting Bond between a bomb and a hard place.
Distracting and evading, Bond gets out alive; but 006's fate is not so great.
Apparently elated by his hasty retreat, Bond celebrates by defying the laws of physics. After he's done with that, taking a victory lap around the decimated facility, the main titles scroll up and we all breathe a sigh of relief that Maurice Binder's monotonous silhouettes are gone.
Nine years later, Bond is over the memory of his dead comrade. He speeds along a European mountain road (as we've seen him do in many other films) with a woman who's filling out a psych evaluation on him. She's not too excited by how fast he drives, particularly when another car goes shooting by and a race ensues between the two. The other driver is a beautiful woman who seems like she's got a few screws loose.
Still, after the car chase, the woman lets Bond know that she's going to have to be perfectly honest in her evaluation.
Ah, but she is a weak-minded woman and ice-cold champagne will make her change her mind. Well, that and a quick trip to the backseat of the car.
For as much alluding as the previous movies have done, "GoldenEye" is by far the most sexually overt of the lot of them. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does give way to a S&M style sex scene in which Famke Janssen screams and claws her way to orgasmic climax. It's supposed to be slightly humorous...I'm not sure that it succeeded.
The woman who was driving the other car is named Xenia Onatopp (Janssen) and she doesn't give in to Bond's "gentleman" ways of seduction. She likes it a little loud and rough...which is what we see later.
Onatopp is a character that Bond feels needs more scrutiny (take that however you will). He follows her and gets to see her steal a helicopter, while he remains helpless.
Onatopp, companioned with General Arkady Grigorovich Ourumov (try saying that five times fast) make their way to procuring a doomsday device known as "GoldenEye". Finding the machine and activating it, the duo make their escape, not knowing that they have left two programmers alive, fleeing for their lives.
"GoldenEye" introduces Judi Dench as M which is the biggest improvement in the series in a long time. Her curt, no-nonsense manner makes her the right amount of sanity to the picture.
Still, the ludicrousness of it all just builds and builds to an anti-climatic crescendo. What's enjoyable about watching the movie is how a tank rips through walls and how an explosion sends an entire structure to its foundation. What's not fun is the throwbacks to older Bond movies. If you lined the Bond movies up, "GoldenEye" goes along and plucks something from every one. These are not subtle references, they are taking literal scenes and plot devices from their own series. There have been mild reproductions in the franchise, but it doesn't really compare to this.
Pierce Brosnan is an okay Bond; but the most enjoyable scenes from "GoldenEye" involve fast camera work and Famke Janssen's psychotic performance.
Also included in the movie is Alan Cumming as a computer nerd/perve. If you're used to seeing him covered in blue paint and transporting, this is a disappointment.
Better luck next time.

Score: ★★½

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