Spymaster tries the Thighmaster
It may have been 7 years between Bond movies but other than Pierce Brosnan replacing Timothy Dalton as Britain's most famous agent not a lot has changed when it comes to "GoldenEye", well other than Judi Dench taking on the role of "M". The storyline is still very typical James Bond, the action is the stuff of escapism rather than reality as are the gadgets, plus of course there are attractive women and plenty of witty one lines. You could say that basically the franchise had a face lift but that was it and as such everything should be okay. And for the most it is, Brosnan basically qives us a Bond more akin to Roger Moore, dashing, daring and a deliverer of diabolical quips, the action is spectacular the women are beautiful but at 130 minutes "GoldenEye" is too long and at times drawn out.
When James Bond (Pierce Brosnan - Mrs. Doubtfire) witnesses a Russian base destroyed "M" (Judi Dench - A Handful of Dust) and the British Government believe a top secret Russian weapon called "GoldenEye" has fallen into the wrong hands and he is dispatched to Russia to try and stop whoever it who has stolen it before it brings economies and countries to their knees. But Bond finds himself up against a villain who seems capable of predicting his every move as well as a femme fatale called Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen - X-Men: The Last Stand) who is sent to tempt and terminate him.
Now I actually liked what Timothy Dalton brought to the Bond franchise and felt it was a shame when they replaced him but then in Pierce Brosnan they found a good replacement. He's good because in a way Brosnan plays Bond like Roger Moore did, but before the franchise had turned into a self parody with diabolical quips and outrageous action and storylines. It certainly means that for those who enjoyed the mix of action and humour from the Moore era will enjoy what Brosnan brings because as it is more of the same just a different model.
And talking of different models we also have Judi Dench as "M" and Dench's casting is brilliant because she basically plays "M" as being very cold, not charmed by Bond the ladies man. Yet at the same time you get that moment, a brief slip when having told Bond she wouldn't think twice about sending an agent out to die she warmly says come back alive. It is a brilliant opening to what could build to a fascinating relationship between "M" and Bond.
In many ways "GoldenEye" is really about these changes, the new actors and what is really little more that a facelift. As such the storyline to "GoldenEye" ends up being less important as it generated enough moments for Bond to deliver some one liners and some over the top action. But in a way the storyline which sees Bond heading to Russia ends up messy because not only does it go on too long but tries to over complicate things to make something which is simple seem more interesting. You could say too many characters, too many side stories and whilst it means we get some fun cameos and small parts for the likes of Robbie Coltrane, Alan Cumming and Minnie Driver they just end up feeling like padding.
But it has to be said that during the 80s the Bond movies changed as the storyline became less important and with the action being more important and "GoldenEye" is full of action. Now there is some great action, stunning car driving, gun fights and explosions all adorned by some good special effects, none more so that the opening with the dam scene. But then some of the action goes too far and a certain freefall after an out of control plane is far too over the top.
What this all boils down to is that "GoldenEye" is a good James Bond movie, and with a facelift it feels fresh with exciting action and the comedy element toned down but not completely removed. But it's problem is that it just goes on far too long and feels painfully drawn out as a simple storyline is made more complicated with extra characters and sub stories which end up pointless.