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Film / Die Another Day

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Bond: "So you live to die another day..."

The one with the invisible car.

Die Another Day is the twentieh James Bond film and the fourth and last to star Pierce Brosnan. It is also the final film set in the original series started by EON Productions with Dr. No in 1962 before getting a Continuity Reboot in Casino Royale. It was directed by Lee Tamahori and came out in November 2002. Madonna performed the Title Theme Tune and has a cameo in the film.

The film opens with a botched mission in which Bond is betrayed and beaten up. This time, the North Koreans get the honour. Freed via a prisoner exchange after 14 months of torture, Bond is aghast to learn his freedom was purchased at the cost of his adversary, a war criminal named Zao, walking scot free. Discharged by MI6 and receiving a predictably chilly reception from M, 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), action scenes bordering on self-parody (Moonraker) and many, many more Mythology Gags for the franchise's 40th anniversary.


This film provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion
  • Adaptation Name Change: Elements of the film story were based upon Ian Fleming's original novel Moonraker. As confirmed by Rosamund Pike, Miranda Frost was originally named Gala Brand, which was the name of the Bond girl in the original book. Gustav Graves, meanwhile, is based upon the original novel's version of Sir Hugo Drax.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Sort of. Graves' modified Antonov An-124 carries a helicopter aboard which Bond manages to launch out of it in mid-air.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: In-Universe; Bond experiences this when he sees Miranda Frost's corpse even though he had tried to kill her the instant he had learned that she was the traitor at MI6.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The Ice Hotel.
  • Always Save the Girl: While Graves and his team are preparing to flee Iceland, Bond's priority after he kills Zao should've been to go after them, but instead he rescues Jinx, who was drowning in the melting ice palace.
  • Artificial Gill: Bond uses a rebreather when scuba-diving his way into the villain's lair.
  • Artistic License – Awards: Miranda Frost is described as having won the gold medal in fencing at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games by default, after the real gold medalist's death by drug overdose. While said substances fit a medal revoking transgression, the fact it involves death screws any veracity: either the original gold drugged herself to death before the podium, or died in the 2 years before the film's events - when the International Olympic Committee only strips medals based on the on-site drug tests, or the infractor's own admittance (such as Marion Jones).
  • Artistic License – Biology: The "DNA replacement therapy" manages to top the dubious scientific accuracy of Moonraker, the explanation given by the doctor in charge of it being a textbook example of LEGO Genetics.
  • 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.
  • Beam Spam: Bond fights Mr. Kil in a room full of out-of-control laser beams.
  • Beard of Sorrow: More a Beard of Imprisonment, but hey.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played with; Bond is filthy with a shaggy beard and hair after being tortured for 14 months. This is the character at his most unkempt in the entire series, and audiences at the time were a bit shocked to see him in such a disheveled state. However, Bond is still in remarkably good shape for someone who had endured that type of hell for so long. All it takes are a single shave, a hair cut, a proper dinner, and a change of clothes for him to become sexy again.
    • Miranda slashes Jinx across the stomach during their swordfight. There's no sign of the cut during hers and Bond's love scene even though it would never have healed in such a short time.
  • Big Bad: Gustav Graves/Colonel Moon is the main villain of the film.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Miranda gets stabbed through the heart by Jinx, and yet we don't see any blood emerge from the wound.
  • 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.
  • The Cameo: Madonna cameos as Verity, Miranda Frost and Gustav Graves'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 in said film's opening.
  • Cat Fight: Jinx and Miranda's swordfight on the Antonov. While overall very realistically done, each is still conveniently clad in a tank top to provide some sex appeal.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Aston's Invisibility Cloak. Bond attempts to use it during the car chase/duel with Zao, only for Zao's Gatling guns to disable it. It gets restored later in the scene and allows Bond to defeat Zao when Zao attempts to ram him.
    • The ultra-high frequency single digit sonic agitator unit ring given to Bond by Q. Q demonstrates it on a pane of unbreakable glass. Bond later uses it to collapse a glass floor to escape his captors and shatter the Aston's windscreen to get Jinx into it so can he revive her.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Bond's sheer panic (and later relief) when he attempts to resuscitate Jinx proves that she's not just a notch on his bedpost.
  • Co-Dragons: Zao and Miranda to Moon/Graves.
  • 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.
  • Collapsing Lair: More like melting lair.
  • Composite Character: Colonel Moon is a weird fusion of the literary version of Hugo Drax with Colonel Sun. In true Bond fashion, subtitles on the Region 2 DVD reveal his full name to be Tan-Sun Moon. The name Tan-Sun also appears as a caption on the Region A Blu-Ray.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The gadgets in Q's lab, which include the jetpack from Thunderball.
      Bond: Does this still work? [switches the jetpack on]
    • Q also notes that Bond's watch is his twentieth, and implores him to actually return this one.
    • Bond pretends to be an ornithologist, a nod to his origins as he was named after an ornithologist off a book Ian Fleming had. The book Bond picks up in the office of his Cuban contact is the same book - a Collins edition of the Birds of the West Indies by James Bond (the author's name is removed however).
    • Bond calls sex "The coldest weapon of all." He should know, because Elektra King used it against him in The World Is Not Enough.
    • As seen on the Call-Back section, this film — in honour of the franchise's twentieth — references every single other Bond film at least once and several tips of the hat to the original novels.
  • Conspicuous CG: There's more of this here than perhaps in any other Bond entry. Particularly jarring examples of this include the firing of the Icarus laser upon the Ice Palace, the final confrontation on Graves' plane, the invisibility feature of Bond's Aston Martin, and the infamous wave-surfing scene as Bond tries to outrun a massive wave (the fact that live surfing was utilized in the film's opening scene without the use of any CG makes this even worse for some).
  • Cool Car: Two of them. They also fight.
  • Darker and Edgier: The intro, bordering on Nightmare Fuel. For the first time, the intro is used to advance the film's story rather than just hint at its theme. We get various scenes of Bond's torture, which includes waterboarding and beatings, and those customary silhouettes of nubile women aren't titillating Bond, they're either participating in the torture, soothing him, or might just be hallucinations that he's having.
  • Dead Artists Are Better: Discussed. Jinx is meeting with a surgeon on the Cuban island, discussing a drastic procedure to change her looks. He says that he considers himself an artist, and she remarks that most great artists aren't celebrated until after their deaths, upon which she shoots him.
  • Death by Irony: Graves' parachute is sucked into the turbine of his own plane. Though he manages to hold on, Bond electrocutes him with his own gauntlet, sending him into the rotary blades.
  • Death Ray: The Icarus satellite is capable of shooting these kind of rays, made of concentrated sunlight.
  • 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. Downplayed/averted during the Cuba scenes, even though Fidel Castro was still in charge at the time.
  • Disney Villain Death: Vladimir is sucked out of the plane when the side of it explodes.
  • Disqualification-Induced Victory: Miranda Frost got an Olympic silver medal for fencing, but was upgraded to gold when her opponent overdosed on steroids. Graves, knowing Miranda hated the idea of being second best, arranged for the "accident" in exchange for Miranda becoming his Mole.
  • The Dragon: Zao and Miranda Frost, even though Zao kills a total amount of zero people onscreen. However, M does mention to Bond that Zao had murdered three Chinese agents at a summit.
  • Dress Hits Floor: Miranda, as she prepares to sleep with Bond. Leading to a brief shot of Toplessness from the Back... and then followed by Modesty Bedsheet.
  • Electric Torture: The opening credits imply that the North Koreans also used electric torture on James Bond during his period of captivity, in addition to regular beatings, poisoning with scorpions, and Water Torture.
  • Evil Albino: Zao for most of the second act.
  • Evil Counterpart: Gustav Graves claims to be one of Bond.
    Gustav Graves: When your intervention forced me to present the world with a new face, I chose to model the disgusting Gustav Graves on you. I paid attention to details — that unjustifiable swagger, the crass quips, the self-defence mechanism concealing such inadequacy...
  • The Evil Genius: Vladimir Popov, Gustav Graves' personal scientist.
  • 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.
  • Evil Redhead: Graves has red hair. Seems that he really wanted to ensure his transition from Colonel Moon to be drastically different.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Bond in the North Korean prison grows a beard, and then promptly shaves it off when he gets out.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Trapped on the crashing Antonov, Jinx declares to Bond, "Looks like we're going down together!", with a rueful smile that indicates that she's determined to invoke this trope.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Bond and Frost do this to distract some guards at the ice palace. Being Bond, he has it continue even after the guards leave.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Zao is impaled beneath a large chandelier made of diamonds and icicles.
  • Foreshadowing: The body-altering technology in Cuba, and the savage ferocity with which Gustav Graves attacks Bond in their duel.
  • Fatal Flaw: Gustav is aware of Bond's, Miranda's and his own Achilles' Heel.
    Graves: You see, I have a gift. An instinct for sensing people's weaknesses. Yours is women. Hers and mine are winning, whatever the cost.
  • Flynning: Two examples - Bond fights Graves in a delightfully over the top fight in the fencing club, and then Jinx fights Frost on the plane.
  • 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, but 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.
  • Gentleman Snarker: This is Bond's default setting, but Gustav Graves knows it's just a performance: "The unjustifiable swagger, the crass quips, the self-defense mechanisms concealing such inadequacy."
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Graves invites the fencing instructor to bet on his duel with Bond, she says sarcastically, "I'm not into cock fights." This could be understood as referring to the blood sport between roosters, or her outright calling it a dick-measuring contest.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Jinx is clearly determined to Face Death with Dignity, given her cheerful declaration of "Looks like we're going down together!"
  • Grand Finale: The film serves as the final entry in the Pierce Brosnan-era Bond series. What's more, as Casino Royale explicitly takes place in a Continuity Reboot, Die Another Day also serves as the finale to the entire film series as it has been from day one. The only thing that remains of the continuity that was is the fourth M.
  • Happy Ending Massage: At the Chinese hotel, a masseuse is sent to Bond, compliments of the management. Bond starts making the moves on her, causing her to remark that she "isn't that kind of masseuse." Bond replies that he "isn't that kind of customer," then reaches down and grabs the gun strapped to her thigh. She's actually been sent to spy on him by the management, who are hiding behind a mirror in the room.
  • Have We Met?: The first thing Graves asks Bond, who replies that he'd remember. "Graves", of course, knows perfectly well who Bond is.
  • Hidden Weapons: Peaceful has a gun in a holster around her thigh.
  • High-Dive Escape: Jinx is cornered by the police at a cliff. She first strips to her bikini, stunning them, then jumps into the water near a waiting motorboat.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: At the end of the film, Graves' electric suit is turned against him after he's hanging out of a hole in the plane. When Bond triggers the electrocution, the no-longer-grounded Graves is shocked and loses his grip, getting dragged into the engine.
  • Hollywood Healing: During the film's climax, Jinx is slashed across the stomach by a sword. Soon after, she and Bond celebrate their victory by having sex, and not a single scar is visible on Jinx's naked body.
  • Hover Tank: The hovercrafts, which are actually just that, hovercrafts, but armed to the teeth in a way that one wouldn't begrudge a tank.
  • 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.
  • Hypocrite: North Korean Colonel Moon, having Majored in Western Hypocrisy, fits this rather well. He sees Western culture as being beneath him. He also loves Western sports cars, his chief ally is his British girlfriend, and he changed his whole appearance to a Caucasian magnate to further his plot.
  • Icarus Allusion: Icarus is the code name of Gustav Graves solar energy Kill Sat. During the final battle with Bond, Graves is defeated when his plane flies through the beam of solar energy being projected by Icarus.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Zao is impaled by an ice chandelier about twice his size.
  • Implausible Boarding Skills: In one of the most derided scenes in the movies, Bond uses an improvised surfboard made from the hull of a wrecked ice yacht to para-surf an unconvincing CGI tsunami.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: If the gunbarrel sequence is something to go by, Bond can unholster, whip around, and fire accurately enough to send the bullet straight up the gun of an attacker he previously never saw in one swift, fluid, unplanned movement.
  • Inconvenient Parachute Deployment: During the climactic fight, Bond deploys Graves' parachute, which gets caught by one of the engines of the cargo jet they're in and chews him up. For additional irony, Bond tosses Graves an Ironic Echo of his attempted Pre-Mortem One-Liner as a one-liner of his own and uses Graves' suit's taser function to force him to let go of his handhold.
  • Informed Ability: Miranda Frost. Said to be a gold medal standard fencer, in her one battle she swings wildly with minimal effect and is killed for her trouble.
  • Innocent Innuendo: 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.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Bond's Aston Martin "Vanish", which even he can't help but compliment without a hint of snark.
    Bond: Oh, very good.
  • Ironic Echo: Frost says she's heard all about the infamous James Bond; "sex for dinner and death for breakfast!" She sleeps with Bond that night and tries to kill him the next day, pointing out that it really is death for breakfast.
  • Irony: One of the soldiers torturing Bond is a fairly attractive Korean female officer. Take that, you decadent Western womanizer!
  • It's Personal: Bond desires very strongly to avenge himself on Zao and the person who betrayed him during his mission in North Korea.
  • Jerkass: Mr. Krug, the obnoxious man in Cuba who unintentionally provides Bond with a way into the gene therapy clinic. He's a womanizer, loud and boorish, and threatens to shoot a poor waiter's testicles off if he doesn't do exactly what he says.
  • Just Plane Wrong: Graves' plane undergoes an explosive decompression that sucks everyone minus Bond, Graves, Miranda and Jinx from the aircraft, and none of them undergo the potentially fatal effects of hypoxia at the plane's sustained altitude. Plus, most planes today are designed so that bullets alone cannot trigger such a catastrophic event.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: In the epic sword-fight 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 favour of longswords for the final duel.
  • Kill Sat: The Icarus, which fires a concentrated beam of sunlight. (Tempting Fate with that name much?)
  • Kingpin in His Gym:
    • Colonel Moon, whom we meet using Tae Kwan Do to take out his frustrations on the punching bag he's sewn his anger management therapist in.
    • Gustav Graves also has some fun at a fencing club. We later find that they're the same person.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: At the end of the movie, Moneypenny is caught experimenting with a pair of VR goggles...
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "New watch — this'll be your twentieth, I believe?" This joke works on two levels, as Bond is glib about returning all of Q's hardware in pieces.
  • Made of Explodium: Everything at Colonel Moon's base becomes this once Bond whips out the big guns. An especially egregious moment comes during the hovercraft chase when one craft Bond has blown away lands harmlessly next to a bunker that proceeds to explode seemingly on its own.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: So magical it even allows you to switch racial groups. Also apparently involves LEGO Genetics as it's mentioned to be some form of "gene therapy."
  • Majored in Western Hypocrisy: Colonel Moon, the Trope Namer.
  • Master of Your Domain: Bond is able to lower his heart rate to the point where it appeared that he was dying.
  • Master Swordsman: Yes, he's James Bond. No, it's unlikely that either his military or his MI6 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 sabres, 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.
  • Meaningful Name
  • Messy Hair: Bond was a prisoner in North Korea for 14 months, so naturally his hair becomes untidy and long without any grooming.
  • 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 who was sent to his room. Then he takes her gun and reveals her as a Chinese operative.
  • The Mole: Miranda Frost was the one who revealed Bond's true identity in North Korea.
  • Mythology Gag: Being the 40th anniversary of the franchise, the film includes references to every previous Bond film. Some are more subtle than others.
    • The book James carries around to maintain his cover as an ornithologist is written by a real-life person named James Bond. That book's author's name is how Ian Fleming came up with the fictional character's name.
    • Dr. No:
      • Jinx walks out of the ocean in a bikini, wearing a white belt and diving knife, just like Honey Rider.
      • The electronic sounds heard in the gunbarrel of Dr. No can be heard briefly when Bond escapes the boat-hospital where he is confined.
      • Zao's new appearance leaves him bald with no eyebrows or any other body hair, exactly how Dr. No appears in the book.
    • From Russia with Love:
      • When Bond and Jinx first meet, Jinx says, "My friends call me Jinx" and Bond answers, "And mine call me James Bond." It is pretty much the same exchange as Bond and Tatiana Romanova made: Romanova says, "My friends call me Tania" and Bond answers, "And mine call me James Bond."
      • Bond discovers Chang watching him in his hotel room with a woman, referring to Red Grant and Rosa Klebb watching him in his room with Romanova.
      • The shoe with the poison-tipped blade and the briefcase that contains a hidden knife are seen in Q's laboratory.
    • Goldfinger:
      • When Bond arrives at the North Korean base in The Teaser, he removes his wet suit to reveal a suit which looks more formal, like in the teaser of Goldfinger; just not a tuxedo this time.
      • Bond drives a gadget-laden Aston Martin, complete with ejector seat.
      • Jinx is nearly killed by a laser in Mr. Kil's laboratory.
      • Graves dies almost like Goldfinger, falling from a plane, with the only difference that Graves is sucked by the turbine.
      • When John Cleese's Q tells Bond he learned from his predecessor to never joke about his work, he references Desmond Llewelyn's Q saying "I never joke about my work, 007."
      • Bond wins against Graves in his favourite sport for his favourite commodity, with Graves staking the cash equivalent.
    • Thunderball:
      • When Bond is in the gene therapy clinic, he eats two grapes he takes from a room, like he did at Shrublands.
      • The jetpack is seen in Q's laboratory.
      • Bond employs a small rebreather like he did in that film.
    • You Only Live Twice:
      • Bond fakes his own death so that enemy agents will not expect him just like he did in You Only Live Twice.
      • Scenes of the Icarus' unfolding in space are visible on screens in the ice palace, just like scenes of SPECTRE space ship unfolding in space are visible on screens in the volcano lair.
      • On a meta-level, the bell from which Bond hangs on while Moon falls to the waterfall at the end of The Teaser is the same used in his fake wedding with Kissy Suzuki.
    • On Her Majesty's Secret Service:
      • Graves causes a huge avalanche to try to kill Bond, just like Blofeld did. In both cases, Bond uses the avalanche to cover his escape.
      • Bond's office in Universal Exports can be seen.
      • The uniforms worn by Graves' henchmen are similar to those used by Blofeld's henchmen at Piz Gloria.
      • The acronym OHMSS is visible on a compact disc on Moneypenny's desk at the end of the film.
    • Diamonds Are Forever:
      • Graves remarks "Well, diamonds are for everyone" while fencing with Bond, and in the High Life magazine article about Graves' company, there is a caption that reads "Diamonds are forever, but life isn't."
      • Both films have diamonds being used to build a giant space laser Kill Sat to neutralise ground-based military defences by a villain that seemingly is Killed Off for Real in the teaser, has access to technology to alter his appearance and impersonates a respected industrialist.
    • Live and Let Die:
      • At one point, Bond uses a revolver instead of his signature Walther.
      • Icarus' laser causes a string of explosions in a minefield, similar to the string of explosions caused when Bond detonated Kananga's poppy fields.
    • The Man with the Golden Gun:
      • The villain employs a solar-powered superweapon like Scaramanga, although Scaramanga's was simply a ray gun as opposed to a satellite.
      • When Bond arrives at the gene therapy clinic, he walks through a hallway decorated with psychedelic lights and rotating mirrors, which reminds of Scaramanga's funhouse.
      • Once again, Bond finds himself removing a precious object from the navel of an attractive woman; here is a diamond from Jinx, in TMWTGG it was a golden bullet from the belly dancer, Saida. At least with Jinx, he's just doing it for fun.
    • The Spy Who Loved Me:
      • Graves deploys a Union Jack parachute, just like Bond did in TSWLM.
      • Bond has his final showdown with the villain after an exotic construction of the villain sinks down; the ice palace here, the Liparus supertanker in TSWLM.
    • Moonraker:
      • There is a character named Chang, just like in Moonraker.
      • Both films have a scene where Bond and a villain fight each other over a parachute.
      • Graves' ice palace has an artificial tropical environment. Drax's launch facility in Moonraker was in a tropical environment, the Amazon jungle.
      • Bond and Graves having a swordfight and destroying antiques all around them is similar to Bond and Chang having a fight (in which Chang has a wooden kendo sword) and destroying glass antiques all around them in Moonraker.
    • Moonraker (the novel):
      • Graves has many things in common with Sir Hugo Drax. Such as originally working for a totalitarian regime, having plastic surgery to change his original appearance, becoming a respected billionaire due to mining, actually holding hatred towards the English, is beloved by England, uses his fortune to build a space program to solve the world's problems that is actually a lethal superweapon and having a very extravagant lifestyle.
      • Like Gala Brand, Miranda Frost is cold and professional, rebuking James's advances and actually loving someone else. The only differences are that while Gala warms up to Bond and becomes a valuable ally, Miranda does not.
    • For Your Eyes Only:
      • The yellow diving helmet is visible in Q's lab.
    • Octopussy:
      • Several gadgets from this film are seen in Q's lab: the AcroStar MiniJet, the crocodile submarine, the "magic rope" and the five-pointed knife.
      • Jinx's jump to the sea is similar to Magda's jump from the balcony.
    • A View to a Kill
      • The electronic snooper is seen in Q's lab.
      • Bond ends up suspended from an icy cliff, just like a Russian guard in the pre-credits sequence of A View to a Kill. Afterwards, Bond uses a hatch from the back of a car as an improvised snowboard, much like he did with the snowmobile tread.
      • Bond is detected by the villains using facial-recognition software.
    • The Living Daylights:
      • The first thing shown after the gunbarrel are the North Korean shores, which look remarkably similar to the coast of Gibraltar that appears after the gunbarrel in The Living Daylights.
      • Both films have Bond escaping from a plane with the Bond Girl after a fight that ends with a villain getting thrown off from said plane; Graves here, Necros in The Living Daylights.
      • The Aston Martin has nails in the tires as the Aston Martin used in The Living Daylights.
    • Licence to Kill:
      • Bond goes rogue and M rescinds his licence to kill, just like in Licence to Kill.
    • GoldenEye:
      • Bond's laser watch from GoldenEye returns in this film.
      • Jinx sets the bomb timer to three minutes, just like Bond did in the chemical weapons stockpile.
    • Tomorrow Never Dies
      • The artificial intelligence in Bond's car has the same voice as it did in Tomorrow Never Dies; the only difference is that the Vanish's A.I. speaks with a British accent while the BMW's A.I. had a German accent.
      • Bond is shown to indeed hide a pistol under his pillow, as Paris Carver mentioned.
      • Bond rescues a female agent that he's allied with from drowning in frigid waters, and succeeds in resuscitating her with mouth-to-mouth. Moreover, he thanks a female doctor for giving him the Kiss of Life; he himself offered an underwater version to Wai Lin.
    • The World Is Not Enough:
      • Bond is betrayed by a woman he has slept with.
      • There's a geodesic dome like in The World Is Not Enough.
  • Nepotism: It's pretty obvious that the main reason why Colonel Moon even holds such a high rank in the North Korean military, a position that he then abuses for his own gain, is because his father is a General.
  • New Era Speech: Graves gives one when he presents the power of Icarus to General Moon.
  • No Brows: Zao does not have eyebrows, due to having subjected himself to a gene procedure that was interrupted by Bond. It underpins his Red Right Hand status.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The diamond lasers at the ice fortress apparently have some sort of Party Mode, where pressing a button will cause them all to turn on and start spinning around wildly.
  • Not So Different: Gustav Graves states that his persona is based on James Bond. Ironically, it's made him the toast of England.
  • Not Staying for Breakfast: For once, Bond ends up on the receiving end of this.
  • Oh, Crap!: Zao when Bond shoots down the chandelier above his head, letting out a scream before it impales him.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The epic theme for Icarus.
  • Only One Plausible Suspect: There's only one major character who could plausibly be revealed to be the MI-6 mole, which is exactly what happens.
  • Patricide: Graves/Colonel Moon shoots dead his own father after the man dreads what his son has become and tries to stop his plan that will plunge the world into war.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Colonel Moon's plot would never have got off the ground had the NSA not withheld vital information about his time outside North Korea. The NSA knew of Miranda Frost's association with Moon/Graves through the Harvard fencing team, but kept it from MI6 because they feared there was a mole in their organisation, thereby preventing them from fingering her as the very mole the NSA 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.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Moneypenny uses the Virtual Reality Glasses for a little recreation with a virtual James Bond.
  • Pretty in Mink: The ice palace patrons, and a white fur wrap Miranda wears (the furs were fake, but still counts more as this). The film's costumer said she liked combining the slinky dresses with fur because of the effect it gave.
  • Product Placement: It isn't new territory for a Bond film, certainly, but it was so glaringly obvious in this one that many critics nicknamed it "Buy Another Day."
  • Proscenium Reveal: At one point, Bond is seen engaging in a shootout with intruders in MI6 headquarters. Then he finds someone hold M hostage in her office. He shoots the attacker through M's shoulder, and suddenly everything freezes in time and Q appears, scolding Bond for shooting his own boss, as it turns out Bond is in a virtual simulation in Q Branch's offices.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Bond, as usual, gives one to Graves, with the bonus of turning his own line against him:
    Graves: Time to face destiny!
    Bond: Time to face gravity!
  • Professional Killer: Based on the "cold-blooded" criteria of the trope, Jinx actually outstrips Bond on this score, at least in this film, deciding to crack jokes when offing the likes of the gene therapy scientist and Miranda.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Vladimir Popov, Graves' tech expert. He cheerfully announces that Bond managed to break Graves' own land speed record.
  • Read the Freaking Manual: When Q gives Bond the doorstopper manual for his latest gadget car, Bond tosses it in front of the vehicle's automatic shotguns which promptly blast the manual to shreds.
    Q: Here's the manual, should be able to shoot through that in a couple of hours.
    [Bond tosses the book into the air. The targeting shotguns blast it to pieces]
    Bond: Just took a few seconds, Q.
    Q: Wish I could make you vanish.
  • Reality Ensues: For all the outlandish things that happen in the movie, it shows us exactly what happens to a spy who gets captured in a hostile territory.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: General Moon sent his son to study in the West so he could help bridge the gap between the Koreas, refused to condone the torture DPRK soldiers inflicted on Bond, resisted attempts by DPRK hardliners to launch an open invasion of the South, and finally, tries to kill his own son when he realizes what a monster he has become.
  • Recycled Premise: The Kill Sat is remarkably similar to the one in Diamonds Are Forever. Probably intentional, given that it is the 20th movie and the 40th anniversary, and the whole film is loaded with Mythology Gags. The Spy Who Loved Me, the 10th movie, had a similar deal going, for instance the plot of that film being a Recycled Premise of You Only Live Twice.
  • Red Right Hand: Zao has diamonds embedded in his face from the explosion in the beginning. Meanwhile, Graves suffers chronic insomnia due to the gene therapy and must spend an hour each day in an REM device to avoid going mad.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Bond tries to check into a fancy Hong Kong hotel looking like he had barely survived a shipwreck. He just struts into the lobby like he owns the place, and pays no heed to the shocked gasps or Disapproving Looks of the guests and staff. This is because he knows the manager, who shows up and browbeats his staff into doing as Bond asks.
  • Revenge: Bond attempted to shoot Miranda in the head the moment he discovered that she was The Mole in MI6 who betrayed him, but he failed to get his revenge because Miranda jammed the firing mechanism of his gun the night before.
  • Rogue Agent: After Bond is released from North Korea, he loses his 00 status and becomes a prisoner of MI6 until they can determine just how culpable he was with the information leak that led to the execution of an American agent. Bond manages to escape the British vessel holding him captive, and he operates on his own until M unofficially recruits him to investigate Gustav Graves.
  • Rule of Sexy: There is no valid reason for Bond to be shirtless during his first scene with M (the doctors had already done a thorough scan on his body some time ago, and he was merely resting before M visits him). He later escapes from the warship, and although he's wearing a blue shirt, he doesn't bother to button it even before he enters a posh Hong Kong hotel. For the sake of decorum, you'd expect that Bond would at least cover up his torso.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Chang appears to be just a typical hotel manager who sucks up to Bond. When Bond finds him peering into his room with others, he openly asks "do you really think I didn't always know you were Chinese intelligence?"
  • Sex–Face Turn: Inverted — Frost enjoys her night with Bond, but she's still prepared to shoot him dead the next day.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Bond has four; during his first scene with M, twice when he sleeps with Jinx, and once when he beds Miranda.
    • Zao's chest is bare throughout the gene therapy clinic scene.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Done by Bond in a virtual training scenario to save M, justifying it as being Only a Flesh Wound.
    Bond: Check the replay. You'll find he's dead and she's only got a flesh wound.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When John Cleese walks behind the invisible car, the light refraction makes him appear for a quick second like he's attempting a Silly Walk. Another for Cleese is the just-mentioned "only a flesh wound."
    • 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 Egor Korshunov throws out the last parachute out the plane before fighting Marshall. Had Bond said, "Get off this plane," it would be cooler.
    • Bond's Virtual Reality mission is based on the stage "King's Ransom" in the Nintendo 64 game The World Is Not Enough.
  • The Sleepless: Graves suffers from chronic insomnia as a side effect of the gene therapy he had, and has to spend an hour in an REM machine every day to keep himself from going insane.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Bond's opinion of the new Q. Q's answer is "Still, better than looking cleverer than you are."
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Bond and the new Q still don't get along.
    Bond: Give me the old firing range any day, Quartermaster.
    Q: Yes, well, they call it the future, so get used to it. [takes Bond into a museum of Continuity Nods]
    Bond: This where they keep the old relics, is it?
  • Stock Footage: When the Americans launch a missile at Icarus, it is the exact same one used by the British Navy in Tomorrow Never Dies.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: The fencing instructor says sarcastically regarding the Gustav/Bond duel, "I'm not into cock fights."
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Said by Jinx to Miranda during their fight.
    Miranda: I can read your every move!
    Jinx: (Stabs her in the chest, complete with The Art of War) Read this! Bitch!
  • Title Drop: "So you live to die another day... Colonel."
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Colonel Moon's jeweler, who continues to examine the diamonds brought to the base by a disguised Bond after Moon has blown up Bond's chopper and while the entire base is scrambling to evacuate the illegal weapons from the scene. It doesn't end well for him when Bond blows the C4 hidden among the diamonds.
    • Bond of all people is hit by this after sleeping with Miranda, not noticing until she reveals her true colors before Graves that she had emptied his pistol while they slept. A particularly careless move for the world's best 00 Agent.
  • Traitor Shot: after Bond leaves Miranda in bed to investigate, the camera lingers on her as she watches him leave while putting her earrings back on. Although her expression doesn't change much, it's little surprise when she's revealed to have been working with the villain all along and was in fact responsible for Bond's capture in North Korea.
  • Treacherous Advisor: It's implied that General Moon's two adjutants are in on Graves' plot, although even they are disturbed when the junior Moon kills his father.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-Universe, Gustav Graves couldn't avoid it, the first clue of his identity. Zao may qualify too.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: In the pre-credits sequence, Bond and the North Korean arms dealers engage in a hovercraft chase.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Moon/Graves and Miranda are a couple, and they first met when they were on the Harvard fencing team.
  • Unkempt Beauty: The make-up department tried to make Brosnan look as unattractive as possible after his character had been imprisoned and beaten up for 14 months, yet the director undid some of its intended effect by giving the actor a gratuitous Shirtless Scene, so Bond still appears quite healthy (and remains at least somewhat desirable in the eyes of Brosnan's fangirls) in spite of the long-term torture.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: The Virtual Reality Glasses.
  • [Verb] This!: "Read this, bitch!"
  • Victory by First Blood: While Bond and Graves are fencing at the Blades club, Bond proposes a bet over a diamond marked with the insignia of Graves' company (which also happens to be an African conflict diamond). Graves accepts, then takes a pair of decorative swords off the wall.
    Graves: Since we're upping the wager, let's up the weapons, shall we? We'll do this the old-fashioned way, first blood drawn from the torso!
  • Villainous Breakdown: Gustav Graves goes absolutely CRAZY during his fight with 007. Possibly justified due to the fact he's in a fight with the man who secretly ruined his life, and a foreshadow that parallels Colonel Moon's introduction in the The Teaser, that had him beating up his anger management therapist.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Gustav Graves is beloved by England, and he knows how to schmooze with the tabloid press. Oddly enough, this causes a plot hole. How did no one notice this man never existed until a few months ago? And how did he accomplish enough to warrant a knighthood in that period? One possibility is that he'd had the resources for the transformation in storage for a long time.
  • Villainous Demotivator: Our introduction to Col. Moon is a scene with him kicking the living crap out of a subordinate... who is hogtied inside a punching bag.
  • Villainous Friendship: Moon/Graves and Zao, brothers in arms who are very devoted to one another. It's telling that while he sees his girlfriend Miranda as a weapon, he shows deeper, more personal affection for Zao in private.
  • Visible Invisibility: Bond's Aston Martin emits a distortion effect.
  • Watch the Paint Job: Colonel Moon's entire rare car collection rains out of the sky onto the rice paddies of North Korea.
  • Water Torture: The Action Prologue ends on a shot of the North Koreans ducking Bond in ice water to make him talk (and to punish him for apparently killing Col. Moon), which blends into the opening credits.
  • Weaponized Car: Bond's Aston Martin Vanquish and Zao's Jaguar XKR duel.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy:
    • Colonel Moon wants this from his father. At least until he becomes Gustav Graves.
    • With regards to Bond's implicit mother-son dynamic with M, his delivery of "You burn me, and now you want my help" is petulant and resentful, and the hurt he feels towards M for not trusting him earlier is more personal than professional.
  • Wham Line: For Bond, Colonel Moon suddenly blowing up the helicopter, then asking, "How do you propose to kill me now, Mr. Bond?"
  • Whole Plot Reference: While Graves'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 neutralising ground-based military defences to the villain impersonating a respected industrialist.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Invoked. Mr Kil seems to really enjoy that laser.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Bond would've executed the traitor Miranda if she hadn't disabled his gun without his knowledge.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Bond's reaction when Q brings out his "new transportation"; because it's invisible, he thinks Q's referring to the trolley it's sitting on.
    Q: As I learned from my predecessor, Bond, I never joke about my work.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Miranda sleeps with Bond despite being in a relationship with Graves. However, it's clear that Graves and Miranda had agreed that she should seduce Bond as an effective way to manipulate him: after The Reveal, Graves sneers that he's identified Bond's weakness for women and weaponized even Miranda's sex.
  • Your Mom: Jinx's answer to Zao when he asks her who sent her.
    Zao: Who sent you?
    Jinx: Your momma. She wanted me to tell you that she's real disappointed in you.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Said almost verbatim by Bond's Cuban contact, but promptly defied by Bond: "Zao has no interest in other people's freedom".
  • Zip Me Up: Happens with a fencing instructor (played by Madonna) who asks Bond to zip up her corset:
    Verity: Do you mind? I've come undone.


Example of: