After a solid first two entries (GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies), the Pierce Brosnan era of James Bond films started to stumble a bit with this third go-round before completely self-destructing with Brosnan’s fourth and final bow as 007, the genuinely wretched Die Another Day. The World is Not Enough revolves around the assassination of a billionaire, Sir Robert King, by a an ex-KGB agent known as Renard (Robert Carlyle) and Bond’s assignment to protect King’s daughter (Sophie Marceau), whom Renard had previously held for ransom; along the way, 007 uncovers a plot to increase petroleum prices by initiating a nuclear meltdown in Istanbul — and beds a nuclear physicist named Christmas Jones (Denise Richards). There are things to love in this overblown mess, particularly Carlyle’s intense and melancholy performance as a villain who literally feels no pain, but it’s sloppily written and unimaginatively directed — and Richards makes for one of the worst Bond girls of all time (this twentysomething airhead in the short shorts and tank top is supposed to be a nuclear physicist?). World does have one of the best-ever Bond quips, though — after romping between the sheets with Dr. Jones, 007 slyly observes, “I thought Christmas only comes once a year.” Ah, female orgasm humor!
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