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It's the longest of the franchise to date (two-and-a-quarter hours) and the first to augment stunts and physical effects with major CGI, though the best fight is traditional: a polite club fencing match between Brosnan and Stephens that gets out of hand and turns into a destructive hack-and-slash fest with multiple edged weapons. Berry may be the first Bond girl with an Oscar on her shelf, but she's still stuck with a bad hairdo as well as having to endure 007's worst chat-up lines. Amazingly, most of the old things here do still work, though it's a shame that director Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors) wasn't given a better script to play with.
On the DVD: Die Another Day arrives on disc in a transfer that makes some of the CGI look less dodgy than it did in cinemas. The first disc includes two separate commentaries: an interesting, enthusiastic technical one with Tamahori and producer Michael Wilson, and a blander drone from Brosnan with input from "bad girl" actress Rosamund Pike. On Disc Two the main extra is "Inside Die Another Day", a 75-minute making-of with the usual 007 DVD extra mix of boosterism and solid background how-the-hell-they-did-it info. The "Region 2 exclusive" turns out to be another making-of, a video diary effort that takes a more interesting, wry approach to the mix of enterprise and chaos that is the Bond production machine. --Kim Newman
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