The one with the invisible car.Die Another Day is the 20th James Bond film and stars Pierce Brosnan in his last appearance as the character.As per usual for 007, the film opens with a botched mission in which Bond is betrayed and beaten up; This time, the North Koreans get the honor. Freed after 14 months of torture via a prisoner exchange, Bond is aghast to learn his freedom was purchased at the cost of his adversary, a war criminal named Zao, walking off scot free. Discharged by MI-6 and receiving a predictably chilly reception from M ("Why didn't you take your cyanide?"), Bond becomes a rogue agent and resumes hunting for his quarry.Following Zao's trail leads him to Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens), a wunderkind entrepreneur who's made a fortune in blood diamonds and is building some kind of space-based sunlight reflector which in no way resembles a death ray.The film holds many vignettes to previous Bond outings, such as Brosnan playing the 'loose cannon' in the tropics (Licence To Kill), Halle Berry exiting the water in slow-mo (Dr. No), a diamond-encrusted sky laser (Diamonds Are Forever), and action scenes bordering on self-parody (Moonraker).
All Just a Dream: It's implied that the title sequence is a product of 007's mind as he is being tortured.
Artistic Title: An extremely kinky version in the opening credits, where Bond is being tortured in the background while naked chicks made of ice, fire, and electricity are writhing around in the foreground. It veers into horrific territory with the implication that this is what Bond is hallucinating during the torture.
Asshole Victim: The rude guy that Bond knocks out to get himself on the island.
Beam Spam: Bond fights Mr. Kil in a room full of out-of-control laser beams.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted when Bond is released by the Koreans looking like he'll shout "WILSON!". In truth, it is downplayed in that he's in remarkably good shape for someone who's endured 14 months of imprisonment and torture.
Borrowed Biometric Bypass: After Mr. Kil meets his end by way of laser, Bond tries to drag his corpse over to a hand scanner. Jinx decides to cut out the middle man and laser off his hand.
Call Back: Jinx emerges from the water in the same manner — and bikini — as Honey Ryder from Dr. No.
The film is full of these to the previous films. Given that this was released for the 40th anniversary of James Bond, it's likely this was intentional.
The Cameo: Madonna as Frost's fencing instructor. Thus far she's the only theme song singer to make an appearance in the film, unless you count Sheena Easton singing the For Your Eyes Only theme onscreen.
Cold-Blooded Torture: Suggested that Bond endured one of these in the very trippy opening sequence. His examination post-release supports this; scorpion poison was involved.
Bond pretends to be an ornithologist, a nod to his origins as he was named after an ornithologist named James Bond.
Fleming took the name off a book he had, rather than any particular shout-out. The book he picks up in the office of his Cuban contact may well be that book - if you freeze frame you will notice the author's name has been defaced.
Defiant to the End: Noted of Bond when all he has to offer after months of brutal torture is a snarky one-liner.
Dirty Communists: North Korea's military eagerly supports the conquest of Japan and South Korea through Colonel Moon's plan. It's stated at least once that there was a coup by the hardliners before the invasion, presumably to avoid implicating the entire country as Card-Carrying Villains.
Evil Is Deathly Cold: The film's second half is full of ice motifs, even taking place in Iceland in a literal ice palace. Incidentally, this is the first hint that Miranda Frost is going to be trouble.
Faux Action Girl: Jinx talks a good game but only manages to defeat a secretary in hand to hand combat. The kind of fencing done in the Olympics is more akin to waving a car antenna around than any sort of combative fighting, so beating an Olympic fencer with real weapons is hardly the pinnacle of achievement.
Frickin' Laser Beams: Bond fights Mr. Kil in a room full of out-of-control lasers slicing everything up. It's pretty insane and even if impractical, it's a pretty good visual.
Gatling Good: Zao's Jaguar has a Minigun mounted on top, complete with the usual inaccurate firing rate. Zao must have Steel Eardrums as it's firing from right behind (and just over) his head.
Hoist by His Own Petard: At the end of the film, Graves' electric suit only works against him, as Bond uses the button on that suit to electrocute him, thereby resulting in him being killed by the plane engines.
Hurricane of Puns: The amount of innuendo between Bond and Jinx may drive your head into the screen. Even for a Bond movie, it's a lot.
Implausible Fencing Powers: Yes he's James Bond. No, it's unlikely that either his military or his MI 6 training including anything on using several different types of longswords. The same can be said for Gustav Graves, who, despite having a fencing instructor around, would not have learned anything useful about heavy sabers, katanas, hand-and-a-halfs, etc. As above, what Miranda Frost would actually be good at, Olympic fencing, has very little inherently to do with battle-grade weapons.
Informed Ability: Frost. Said to be a gold medal standard fencer, in her one battle she swings wildly with minimal effect and is murdered for her trouble.
Innocent Innuendo (Somewhat): Though what they're doing is hardly innocent, the end sequence of Bond and Jinx playing with diamonds is made to sound like something else from outside.
Irony: Bond being tortured by a beautiful Korean female officer. Take that you decadent Western womanizer!
It's Personal: Bond desires very strongly to avenge himself on Zao.
Katanas Are Just Better: In the epic swordfight between Bond and Gustav Graves, at one point Graves gets hold of a katana and promptly chops Bond's sabre in half with a single blow. Curiously, they both pass up katanas in favor of longswords for the final duel.
Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow: Subverted. After Bond arrives in Hong Kong and has had a proper shave and some new clothes, it seems like he tries to seduce the Asian masseuse that was sent to his room. Then he takes her gun and reveals her as a Chinese operative.
The book James carries around to maintain his cover as an ornithologist is written by a real-life person named James Bond. And the author's name is how Ian Fleming came up with the fictional character's name.
New Era Speech: Graves gives one when he presents the power of Icarus to General Moon.
Not So Different: Gustav Graves states that his persona is based on James Bond. Ironically, it's made him the toast of England.
Poor Communication Kills: Colonel Moon's plot would have never gotten off the ground had the CIA not withheld vital information about his time outside North Korea. The CIA knew of Frost's association with Moon through the Harvard fencing team, but kept it from MI 6 because they feared there was a mole in their organization, thereby preventing them from fingering her as the very mole the CIA feared.
Poorly Disguised Pilot: In addition to being a celebration of the series' fortieth anniversary, the producers wanted Die Another Day to set up a new series starring Jinx. As it turned out though, the mixed reception of this film combined with the catastrophic reaction to Catwoman killed off any chance of the Jinx series taking off.
During the climax on the plane when Graves throws out one of the parachutes is very similar to the climax in Air Force One when Korshunov throws out the last parachute out the plane before fighting Marshall.
Bond's Virtual Reality mission is based on the stage "King's Ransom" in the Nintendo 64 game The World Is Not Enough.
Whole Plot Reference: While the villain's motivations are different, the scheme itself is taken wholesale from Diamonds Are Forever: From using diamonds to build a giant space laser Kill Sat for neutralizing ground-based military defenses, to the villain impersonating a respected industrialist.