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Film / Tomorrow Never Dies

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"The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success."
Elliot Carver

The one where James Bond beats up Rupert Murdoch.

Tomorrow Never Dies is the eighteenth James Bond film and the second starring Pierce Brosnan. It was directed by Roger Spottiswoode and was released on December 12, 1997. Sheryl Crow performed the Title Theme Tune, and k.d. lang performed an additional song that was added in the end credits.

A British warship and a Chinese aircraft are destroyed off the shore of China, an incident that threatens to ignite all-out war between the two countries. The British claim that their GPS locator showed they were in International Waters, causing MI6 to suspect foul play.

The clues point towards the Carver Media Group Network, a worldwide media empire owned by Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce). James Bond is sent to investigate Carver and his organisation to find out if someone is engineering War for Fun and Profit; a task that sees him crossing paths with Chinese secret agent Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh).


After the more introspective tone of GoldenEye, the film eases back into the Connery and Moore "classic Bond" formula beat-for-beat, with one-liners galore, a Large Ham villain, and plenty of action setpieces that make full use of the Theme Music Power-Up trope. Brosnan also began to carve his niche as the playful Bond.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Abandon Ship: The crew of HMS Devonshire, and later the crew of the stealth ship.
  • Absence of Evidence: Gupta sees through Bond's cover story of being a banker and deduces he's a government agent, based on the lack of any black marks on Bond's falsified records.
    "I call it Gupta's Law of Convenient Anomalies - if it looks Too Good to Be True, it probably is."
  • Action Girl: Wai Lin. And for double cool points, played by Michelle Yeoh.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Wai Lin can't help but smile at Bond's torture gag.
    Bond: [when the torture is explained to him] I would have thought watching your TV shows was torture enough.
    • Carver's favorite newspaper cover regarding the crisis he engineered is one that was printed by a rival newspaper, because it has a Pun-slash-ShoutOut (both to Star Wars and an actual cover of a British military crisis) that he finds exquisite.
  • Advertised Extra: Teri Hatcher, who was heavily promoted as the film's Bond girl over Michelle Yeoh, ended up only having two scenes in the film (three if you count Bond finding her body).
  • Affably Evil: Dr. Kaufman. He's here to kill James but treats him as a colleague, even letting off some steam about their chosen profession.
    Dr. Kaufman: This is very embarrassing. It seems there is a red box in your car. They can’t get to it. They want me to make you unlock the car! I feel like an idiot. I don’t know what to say. I am to torture you if you don’t do it.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • In the novelization, it is revealed that Stamper has a side business making "snuff porn". He enjoys kidnapping young women and filming them while they're being raped and tortured, and sells the videos on the black market to thrill-seekers. That is why he has a camera man on hand to film the execution of the naval officers.
    • The novelization and the deleted scenes give Elliot Carver's backstory - he is the illegitimate son of media mogul Lord Roverman, whom Carver drove to bankruptcy and blackmails into suicide, later taking over his business.
    • Carver's remote-controlled drill-torpedo is called the "Sea-Vac."
  • Always Save the Girl: Subverted when Mr. Stamper threatens to drown Wai Lin. Although Bond had promised her twice that they would survive the mission together, she reminds him that it's his duty to destroy the missile, so he focuses on the task at hand.
  • And This Is for...: Villainous example by Stamper during the climax:
    Stamper: For Carver—[slams Bond against steel rafter]—And for Kaufman—[slams Bond against another rafter before throwing him on the overhead]—I owe you an unpleasant death, Mr. Bond!
  • Antagonist Title: Tomorrow is the name of Elliot Carver's newspaper, and much of the plot centers around him writing articles covering catastrophic, attention grabbing events for future papers in advance, and then causing said events to happen.
  • Artistic License: Chinese keyboards do not show Chinese characters - they use the QWERTY keyboard, as the words are typed in Pinyin (Romanised Chinese), which are then converted to the relevant symbol.
  • Artistic License – Military: The movie mentions several times that China has "the world's largest air force" which was not true in 1997 (or in the present, for that matter). While counting aircraft is fraught with difficulties, all the data still shows that the United States is by far the world's most powerful air force in terms of both numbers and deployment ability. Depending on how you measure, China still comes in at number 2 or 3 (besides Russia).
    • It defeats the purpose of using a stealth ship if they are going to be using the radio while trying to remain undetected. Standard procedure for any ship trying to hide is to operate under EMCON (Emission Control), which means transmitting no electronic signals of any kind...radar, radio, anything.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Carver orders an Affably Evil assassin named Dr. Kaufmann to kill both his wife and James Bond and make it look like a double suicide. When his colleagues can't open Bond's armored car to get an item they need, he is ordered to get the information from Bond. This allows Bond (who is of course a government assassin) to get the upper hand by using an electric charge in his phone to knock Kaufmann out.
    Bond: Me too. [shoots him dead]
  • As You Know: The first stealth-ship scene starts with a literal Captain Obvious reminding his men that the British will believe they're in international waters due to the manipulated GPS signal. Anyone who at this point in the operation didn't know that very definitely had no business being there—but then again, a penchant for summarizing and giving exposition at every possible opportunity may have been an entrance requirement for a job in Carver's corporation. Of course, Carver later indulges in it himself.
  • Arms Fair/Auction of Evil: The film opens with one.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Averted, although technically speaking the PRC General Chang would be just as important to the scheme as Carver's contributions. The former is Demoted to Extra, appearing onscreen for a total of five seconds as Bond and Wai Lin are escorted past him.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Although Bond is ostensibly giving air to Wai Lin so that she can breathe underwater, the way his mouth closes over hers for an extended period of time and the manner in which he holds her face look exactly like a passionate French kiss. The sweeping music, their flowing hair (the ocean current creates an effect which appears similar to wind), the warm colouring and lighting of the shot leave absolutely no doubt that this scene is epically romantic. Cue the collective swooning of Pierce Brosnan's fangirls.
  • Badass Boast: Kaufman claims he will shoot Bond and make it look like a suicide. Bond says that at that distance they'll be able to tell the shot didn't come from Bond (goading Kaufman to get close enough to disarm).
    Kaufman: I am a professor of forensic medicine. I could shoot you from Stuttgart and still create the proper effect!
  • Bilingual Bonus: Bond's brief flirting with a Danish lady at Oxford after the prologue, who essentially praises him for his linguistic progress.
  • Blasphemous Boast:
    Carver: Soon I'll have reached out to and influenced more people than anybody in the history of this planet, save God himself. And the best he ever managed was the Sermon on the Mount.
  • Blatant Lies: Bond's false reassurance to Wai Lin that he "...wouldn't dream of it" after she straddles his lap during the motorcycle chase and warns him, "Don't get any ideas." His playful smile also adds to the insincerity of his comment.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    • After punching out a mook while offering him a light, Bond quips "Filthy habit." It's his very first line in the film, by the way.
    • After ejecting an attacker from the back seat of a jet into an enemy jet above them: "Backseat driver..."
    • After shoving a henchman into a printing press: "They'll print anything these days."
    • Even Elliot Carver gets off a clever one when he thinks Bond is dead.
      "Even if they were looking for me, we're on a stealth boat! They can't see me. Or you. Or even your friend, the late Commander Bond, who is, I believe, at this moment, on his way to the bottom of the South China Sea. [beat] He's my new anchorman.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Seemingly played straight, when instead of shooting Bond when he had him at gunpoint, Dr. Kaufman gets into a conversation with Bond. Subverted when it turns out he actually needs to leave Bond alive just long enough to open his car up for his colleagues to steal something inside. Bond says his phone controls the car and opens it up and starts to press some buttons, but Kaufman seems to know it could be gadget weapon that Bond would use against him. However, it turns out that operating the phone himself was no better, as instead of unlocking the car, Bond gives him a combination that causes Kaufman to shock himself.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted in the case of our heroes: when Bond is escaping from the CMGN facility in Hamburg, viewers who pay attention will note he fires exactly 8 shots from his PPK (the real-life limit: 7 in the mag + 1 in the chamber) before putting it away and not using it anymore. Wai Lin near the end tosses away an empty gun and only has two shots left in the other, and shortly afterwards Bond drops his P99 after firing all the shots from it and has to reload his sub-machine gun. Played straight in the case of Carver's mooks.
  • Brick Joke: Bond's Bond One-Liner about backseat drivers becomes this when he literally becomes one.
  • Bullets Do Not Work That Way: When Carver orders his men to Sink The Life Boats, he reminds them to use the same type of ammunition carried by Chinese fighter planes. Since the 1950s or so, fighter planes have primarily carried autocannons firing 20mm (or larger) explosive shells, which would be all but impossible to load and fire from any gun small enough for a single person to carry.
  • Call-Back:
    • Paris asks Bond if he still sleeps with a gun under the pillow. In Thunderball, Bond tells Fiona Volpe that his gun was under the pillow the whole time they were in bed together.
    • In You Only Live Twice, Bond says he doesn't need "Instant Japanese" at all, since he has a degree in "Oriental Languages"; in this film, however, he is completely baffled by Wai Lin's Chinese keyboard.note 
    • Bond is seen wearing his Royal Navy uniform, just like in You Only Live Twice and The Spy Who Loved Me.
  • Camera Abuse: At the end of the pre-credits sequence, the exhaust from Bond's stolen fighter jet shatter the picture into a million pieces as we fall into the opening credits.
  • Chained Heat: Bond and Wai Lin are cuffed together when they are brought to Carver. This causes inconveniences during their escape from his clutches.
  • Chase Scene: In a multi-story car park, from the back seat. Stretching for ideas to do something different? Perhaps. Quite awesome? Yes.
    James Rolfe: [on why this chase is one of his favorites] How do you go wrong with a remote-controlled BMW that shoots missiles?
  • Chekhov's Gun: The remote control for Bond's car, hidden in a mobile phone that also comes equipped with a hidden taser.
  • Chess Motifs: In the pre-title sequence, the codenames are all based on chess pieces. The terrorists are pawns, Bond himself is a knight, the HMS Chester is a bishop, HQ is a rook, and the Admiral is a king.
  • Concealing Canvas: The safe in which the GPS encoder is stored is hidded behind a painting in Carver's office.
  • Continuity Nod: This movie continues two threads that Alec Trevelyan had brought up in GoldenEye. Firstly, Bond's constant attempts to atone for the women whose lives he failed to save manifests itself as a strong personal need to keep Wai Lin safe after he was unable to protect Paris Carver. Secondly, we get a reversal of "The girl or the mission?" because in GoldenEye, Bond chose to save Natalya Simonova's life (a civilian) over executing Trevelyan. However, this time around, he gives priority to his duty over Wai Lin's life (a fellow soldier) during the climax, although he does rescue her the first chance he gets.
  • Colonel Badass: Wai Lin's rank, as revealed in the ending.
  • Commanding Coolness: James Bond's rank, of course.
  • Cool Bike: The BMW R1200C that Bond and Wai Lin ride around, through, and over Saigon together on.
  • Cool Boat: The stealth ship. The fact it's invisible to radar raises the stakes considerably!
  • Cool Car: Includes a remote-control in Bond's cell phone. Granted, BMW is no Aston Martin, but damn.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Carver may be the ultimate example in the Bond saga. As James Bond puts it, he forgot the most important role of media, which was to give the public what they want.
  • The Cracker: Henry Gupta, who is described as a "techno-terrorist."
  • Creator Cameo: Producer Michael G. Wilson is seen as Mr. Wallace in Carver's videoconference.
  • Criminal Convention: The opening scene has Bond infiltrating an Arms Fair run by terrorists.
    "It's like a terrorist supermarket. Chinese Long March Scud, Panther AS-565 attack helicopter... a pair of Russian mortars, and the crates look like American rifles. Chilean mines, German explosives, fun for the whole family."
  • Dead Star Walking: While Teri Hatcher was featured in the advertising campaign as much as (if not more than) Michelle Yeoh, Paris Carver is the requisite secondary Bond Girl who dies halfway through, as per tradition. In the original cut, she had much more screentime, but test audiences' reactions to her role were largely negative, so much of it was omitted. Total scene count for Paris in a two-hour film: three.
  • Death by Sex: Paris Carver is killed after having sex with Bond.
  • Denied Parody: While Elliot Carver looks at first glance like a thinly disguised version of Rupert Murdoch, the movie's main writer claims he was actually based on Robert Maxwell (this is supported by the cover story for Carver's death and the public's reaction to it mirroring Maxwell's fatal boat accident).
  • Dirty Old Man: Elliot's demeanour when he first meets Wai Lin at his party indicates that he finds her very attractive. Considering that he has a Trophy Wife, this is not at all surprising, and Paris herself is even aware that her husband's interest in the Chinese woman is primarily based on lust.
  • Disposable Woman: Paris Carver appears for three scenes at most before being killed by Carver for aiding Bond, which makes the whole affair very personal for Bond.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Wai Lin is basically a female, Chinese Bond, right down to the flirting, dry wit, and holding a military rank.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Bond is so distracted by Wai Lin's Sexy Soaked Shirt that he doesn't notice she's unlocking her end of the handcuffs behind her back, so he's completely caught off-guard when she handcuffs him to a nearby pipe.
  • Double Entendre:
    • Pretty much the whole Hamburg satellite launch party scene. Here's some of the best dialogue:
      Elliot Carver: I'm thinking about getting Wai Lin behind a news desk...
      Paris Carver: I'm sure she won't resist... Much.
    • And:
      Bond: Tell me, Elliot, about your satellites, how you've positioned yourself globally...
      Elliot Carver: They're merely tools for spreading information, Mr. Bond.
      Bond: Or disinformation. Suppose you wished to alter the course of events, governments... or even a ship...
      Elliot Carver: [staring at Bond] You have a vivid imagination for a banker, Mr. Bond. Perhaps I should commission you to write a novel.
      Bond: Oh, no, I wouldn't know where to begin. I'd be lost at sea... adrift...
  • The Dragon: Mr. Stamper, Carver's right hand man.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Stamper outlives his boss, and tries to kill both Bond and Wai Lin for it.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: When Bond finds Paris lying dead in her bed, he hears a gun cock from behind. Turning around he sees Dr. Kaufman pointing a gun at him.
    • Later attempted but subverted during the motorcycle chase. The helicopter's door gunner is given a cutaway shot, showing him doing the HK Slap on his SMG, clearly indicating the Real Trouble has arrived. The problem is that he slaps the wrong side of the gun; the charging handle he's supposed to be slapping isn't even visible, making it an absurd gesture for anyone knowledgeable of the maneuver.
  • Dress Hits Floor: Bond slips Paris Carver's dress off her shoulders, which then leads to a cut to a Toplessness from the Back shot.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Bond does this with vodka in his hotel room after he shuts down the power at Carver's party.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: After Bond fails to save Paris' life, he becomes extremely protective towards Wai Lin even though she's perfectly capable of taking care of herself, and she initially rejects his help. He even promises her not just once, but twice that they will survive their confrontation with Elliot together.
  • Evil Is Petty: It would not be an exaggeration to state that Carver is one of the most powerful people on the planet, both obscenely rich and influential. When China refuses him broadcast rights, he decides to nuke the country. There's also the Mad Cow Scare, which he engineered because a guy wouldn't honor a poker bet.
  • Expy: Stamper, of Red Grant, and he's not the first time.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The movie takes place over only a few days—Bond is given 48 hours to conduct his investigation before war breaks out.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Paris Carver knew her number was up as soon as she went to help Bond. She spends one last night with him, gives him the information he needs to infiltrate her husband Elliot's secret lab, and leaves, telling James not even he can protect her. The way the scene plays out, Paris seems to know she'll be dead before the day is out, and accepts it.
  • Faking the Dead: On the stealth boat, Bond kills a mook and then holds his body out in the line of fire. As it's nighttime and they're outside the boat, the other mooks can't tell who they're shooting, allowing Bond to drop the mook and make it seem as if they killed him.
  • False Flag Operation: Carver's mechanism to wage War for Fun and Profit.
  • Far East Asian Terrorists: A fugitive Aum Shinrinkyo cultist named Satoshi Isagura, wanted for the Tokyo subway attacks in 1995, shows up in an arms deal monitored by MI-6.
  • Fatal Flaw: Elliot makes note of Bond's weakness as he holds Wai Lin hostage.
    Carver: And it seems you can't resist any woman in my possession.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Stamper tries to approach the warmth of his mentor, Dr. Kaufman, but it's all superficial. Under the calm exterior he's shallow and mean, unabashedly taking glee in the pain of his victims. It ends up being his undoing.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: Wai Lin is another "Bond girl as Bond's equal", portrayed again as the first time ever, not counting Anya Amasova and arguably Pam Bouvier. Would be repeated in 5 years with Jinx.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Carver's goons grab Bond and take him to a soundproof recording studio to beat him until he talks. As one of them stands watch outside, you can see (but not hear) Bond turning the tables of the fight and beating the goons with the various instruments.
    • At one point in the Motorbike/Helicopter Chase, Bond and Wai Lin crash into a house while the occupants are having sex. They go back to it as soon as they leave.
    • As Jack Wade and Bond are at the Air Force base waiting for Dr. Greenwall to set up the GPS encoder, Bond can be seen eyeing Wade's tacky jungle-themed shirt and shaking his head.
  • Gag Voice: The female voice in the BMW with the comical German accent. Perhaps a little Take That! on the BMW Product Placement over a British marque.
  • Giving Them the Strip: Bond cuts himself free from his tactical vest to escape when Stamper dangles him in front of the soon-to-fire missile's exhaust vents.
  • Guns Akimbo: Used largely for suppressive fire, unless the baddies are pretty much at point-blank range.
  • Hairpin Lockpick: Wai Lin's earring is able to unlock the handcuffs that have her and Bond tied together.
  • Helicopter Blender: Quite a silly example, as it takes forever for it to carve through the narrow streets of Saigon to get to the cycle Bond and Wai Lin are riding.
  • Hero Insurance: A scene between Bond and Q show him actually getting hero insurance for his car.
    Q: It's the insurance damage waiver for your beautiful new car. Now, will you need collision coverage?
    James Bond: Yes.
    Q: [stares at Bond] Fire?
    James Bond: Probably.
    Q: Property destruction?
    James Bond: Definitely.
    Q: Personal Injury?
    James Bond: I hope not, but accidents do happen.
    Q: They frequently do with you.
    James Bond: [signs the form] Well, that takes care of the "normal" wear and tear. Is there any other protection I need?
    Q: Only from me, 007, unless you bring that car back in pristine order.
  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: Bond pulls this on a thug about to shoot Wai Lin.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Averted on the stealth ship, where Bond's suppressed Walther P99 sounds probably just a little less loud that it would without the suppressor. As soon as he pulls the trigger, all the goons in the room hear it and open fire on him. Doesn't help that it's a ship and sounds echo.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: You wanted a headline, Carver? You got it, courtesy of MI6! Something about a boating accident...
  • Honey Trap:
    • Bond is under orders from M to "pump" his Old Flame Paris Carver for information about her media mogul husband's organization, which he reluctantly does even though he knows the seduction will put Paris' life in danger.
    • When Paris turns up in his hotel room, Bond's first thought is that her husband sent her. He asks her to leave and just tell Carver she didn't get any information from him.
  • Honor Before Reason: Admiral Roebuck and the Defense Secretary mull their course of action after the Devonshire is apparently sunk by the Chinese, and insist on a full retaliation even as M is actively protesting that they don't have all the facts. When Bond presents the paper regarding the sailors who had been murdered after surviving the sinking, they immediately deploy the Navy, leaving M only a scant window of opportunity to prove China's innocence.
  • Hurricane of Puns: If you played a drinking game with all of the one-liner's, puns and Double Entendres in this film, you'd be in the ER for alcohol poisoning.
  • Idiot Ball: The Admirals, who just witnessed the 'terrorist supermarket' with even nuclear torpedoes for sale and Gupta buying an American GPS encoder, still decide to potentially go to war with China over the Chinese apparently murdering their sailors even though M flat-out tells them someone was messing with the GPS signal. They might have been a bit more open-minded if she'd let them in on Carver's involvement, but it's still incredibly reckless.
    • One assumes Admiral Roebuck was asked to leave the Queen's service shortly after the ending of the events of this film. His behaviour throughout the film was unacceptably impulsive for a senior Admiral.
  • Incredibly Long Note: k.d. lang's epic finish during the closing credits.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: M becomes suspicious of Carver's involvement in the massacre of British sailors because his paper reports certain details (such as the sailors being killed with the same type of ammo issued to the Chinese Air Force) before British Intelligence was able to confirm them.
  • Irony: When Bond discovers Paris Carver's corpse in his hotel room, a news broadcast states that she was found dead along with an "unidentified man who apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound." It is at this point that Bond encounters Dr. Kaufman aiming at him with a gun and who tells him that story will be on the air in an hour. Of course, Bond overcomes Dr. Kaufman and turns his own gun upon him so that the crime scene does in fact appear as the newscast states.
  • Irrevocable Order: The Royal Navy launches a Tomahawk missile to destroy a terrorist arms depot. Soon after, Bond discovers that there are nukes at the camp, but by this time the missile is out of radio range, requiring typical James Bond action theatrics to remove them before the missile hits.
  • It's Personal: Wai Lin asks Bond if he's interested in peace or revenge, and he replies that he wants to stop a war. However, the audience knows that he's also driven by his hatred towards Elliot for ordering Paris' murder.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: M and Admiral Roebuck have known each other for quite some time.
  • I Work Alone: When Bond suggests to Wai Lin that they hook up during their Shower Scene, she gives this trope and leaves him handcuffed to a pipe.
  • Just Following Orders: Dr Kaufman protests as much after Bond gets the drop on him. 007 is suitably unimpressed.
    Kaufman: Wait! I'm just a professional doing a job!
    Bond: Me too.
  • Just Plane Wrong: Yeah, the part where the helicopter blades are almost vertical when the pilot is trying to slice Bond and Wai Lin up while hovering a couple feet off the ground and advancing towards them at a few feet per second? Helicopters don't work that way.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Carver meets his end at the hands of the very sea drill he used against the Devonshire to kill its entire crew.
    • Dr Kaufman dies of the "self-inflicted gunshot" he intended for Bond when sent to fake his suicide.
  • Kiss of Life: An underwater variation where Bond uses mouth-to-mouth to save Wai Lin's life, who was just on the verge of losing consciousness due to drowning.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Downplayed with Bond as he is still afraid of commitment when it comes to romantic relationships, but he is in love with Paris Carver.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Bond lets Carver know that starting World War III for ratings' sake is really quite insane.
  • Large Ham: Jonathan Pryce's magnificently over-the-top performance as Elliot Carver is one of the most memorable things about this movie. Same goes for Vincent Schiavelli's Dr. Kaufman, who knows he's a Bond henchman, and milks it for all its worth.
    • LaughablyEvil: Carver is so hilariously and cartoonishly over-the-top that he is often at least as humorous as he is frightening, if not more so.
  • Like a Father to Me: Stamper says this word-for-word about Dr. Kaufman.
  • Love Hurts: When Bond sees Paris' corpse, he holds her, buries his face in her hair and later caresses it, and finally he kisses the front of her neck sensually before he must continue with his mission.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Or Murder-Suicide rather. Kauffman implies to Bond that this is a regular activity for him. "I am particularly good at the celebrity overdose".
  • Malevolent Mugshot: Carver loves his banners. Bond gets in a good dig at his expense for it.
  • Manchild: Bond fears commitment in a romantic relationship because he abandons his girlfriend Paris when he realizes that he's falling in love with her. Witness his childish glee as he "drives" his remote-controlled car during the multi-level parking lot chase scene. After Wai Lin compliments Bond on his motorcycle skills, his reply invokes this trope: "Well, that comes from not growing up at all." Q utters "Grow up, 007!" in exasperation.
  • Meaningful Echo: Paris says to Bond, "Don't argue with me, James." Bond would later be thinking about her when he tells Mr. Stamper, "Never argue with a woman; they're always right."
  • Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow: Subverted because Wai Lin is definitely not subservient to Bond. She is a highly skilled agent whose primary role in the story is being his ally when they attempt to stop Elliot Carver from instigating a war between China and the United Kingdom.
  • Milkman Conspiracy: Elliot Carver's Media Group blackmails a President, is implied to orchestrate global floods, riots and plane crashes, sells buggy software (to force people to upgrade it for years), sinks a British Destroyer, massacres the survivors, steals one of its cruise missiles, plans to use said missile on Beijing to set up a new Chinese government friendly to its interests (i.e. broadcasting rights) after bringing Britain and China to the brink of nuclear war, and employs terrorists, torturers and professional assassins, plus the average Carver Media Group employees, who based on the evidence, are Always Chaotic Evil and whose uniforms always come with machine guns. All for the sake of its ratings. Carver also apparently faked the Mad Cow disease scare of 1997 because a British beef baron owed him money (from a poker game, a mere £10,000) and refused to pay... then the French paid him to run the stories for another year.
  • Misguided Missile: A Tomahawk missile is launched at an Arms Fair in the Pre Titles Sequence. Bond realises there is a nuclear torpedo attached to an L-39 trainer there. When the Royal Navy are unable to self-destruct the inbound Tomahawk, he nicks the plane.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Captain Scott of Carver's Stealth Boat.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Kaufmann, naturally. (And he claims he actually does hold several medical degrees, the reason he can make a hit look like a suicide.)
  • Ms. Fanservice: Paris Carver becomes this once Bond strips her down to her black panties.
  • New Era Speech: Elliot Carver gives one to Bond. Bonus points for including the phrase "new world order".
    Carver: Welcome to the new world order, Mr. Bond. Caesar had his legions, Napoleon had his armies; I have my divisions: News, sports, business, entertainment. And these are my foot soldiers: 2000 people working on 14 floors to feed 300 newspapers, 4 cable news networks, 87 magazines, and 29 different cable TV channels - in 35 languages.
  • New Old Flame: Apparently in addition to all the lovely ladies from his adventures, Bond has ex-girlfriends we haven't even seen. Rumors have circulated she was intended to be an established character, possibly Natalya Simonova or Sylvia Trench, but this was nixed due to fearing the bad reception that would come from killing either of them off.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Against M's protests, Admiral Roebuck orders a premature missile strike against the terrorist base Bond is presently infiltrating. Bond refuses to withdraw, and by the time they realize it's because there are a pair of nuclear torpedoes on site, the missile is too far out of range to be aborted. If not for Bond, they would've inadvertently triggered a nuclear disaster on the edge of Russia.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Carver prints and distributes the story of the sailors' deaths within barely three hours of their actual recovery by Vietnamese authorities. Carver certainly got the reaction he was counting on from the British, but he also attracts the attention of MI-6 who hadn't even gotten wind of the murders when the story broke out. Not helping Carver is the fact that MI-6 discovered one of his satellites interfering with the GPS system when the vessel was reported lost.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Carver Media Group Network, which already influences most of the world. But since its led by a megalomaniac, the organization takes the extra step forward of forming a small army, build a stealth ship, and stir up a war between Britain and China.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Elliot Carver is by admission of the writer a thinly disguised Robert Maxwell (though given how widespread such media moguls are, reviewers compared him to the Australian—Rupert Murdoch—and American—Ted Turner—equivalents). This is made very obvious at the end, when M devises a cover story for his death involving him falling off his yacht and drowning, while the public speculates he committed suicide, echoing Maxwell's death.
    • There's also significant elements of William Randolph Hearst, whose propaganda is sometimes credited for getting the US to launch the Spanish-American War. Carver even quotes him.
    • In addition to taking potshots at NewsCorp, Tomorrow bears more than a slight resemblance to Microsoft. (the script even describes "Jones" as "a young guy looking remarkably like Bill Gates", but for obvious reasons it didn't carry on screen.)
      Carver: Mr. Jones, are we ready to release our new software?
      Jones: Yes, sir. As requested, it's full of bugs, which means people will be forced to upgrade for years.
      Carver: Outstanding!
    • Carver beginning a new media enterprise by announcing a "declaration of principles" is possibly a nod to Citizen Kane. Of course, he's already similar to Kane by virtue of being similar to Hearst.
  • Obviously Evil:
    • Carver. Not so much in public as when he's talking to his subordinates. His entire organization is based on engineering catastrophes and profiting from them, and he revels in it.
      Elliot Carver: Good morning, my golden retrievers! What kind of havoc shall the Carver Media Group create in the world today? News?
      Newsman: Floods in Pakistan, riots in Paris, and a plane crash in California.
      Elliot Carver: Excellent! Mr. Jones, are we ready to release our new software?
      Jones: Yes, sir. As requested, it's full of bugs, which means people will be forced to upgrade for years.
      Elliot Carver: Outstanding! Mr. Wallace, call the President. Tell him if he doesn't sign the bill lowering the cable rates, we will release the video of him with the cheerleader in the Chicago motel room.
      Mr. Wallace: Inspired, sir.
      Elliot Carver: And after he signs the bill, release the tape anyway.
      Mr. Wallace: Consider him slimed.
      Elliot Carver: [after the communication ends] There's no news... like bad news.
    • Carver is so blatant in his villainy it's a wonder he's only being investigated now. As Bond points out, Carver released news of the dead sailors so early that there's no way he could have learned of it from any official military or government sources. When he tries to have Bond killed, he's already produced a segment to report on it which will be on the air an hour after Bond has died.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Bond has this reaction as he's walking back to his hotel room and listens to a news report playing in his room, which states that Paris Carver has been found dead in a hotel room, murdered by an unidentified man who was found there with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
    • This is also the reaction in the situation room during the prologue when everybody realises exactly why Bond was trying to warn them about what the parked jet was carrying.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: After Paris is murdered, Bond calls Elliot Carver by his given name instead of his surname as a sign of disrespect and of how much more personal the conflict between them has become because Bond had truly loved Paris. He had only done this once before with a villain (Alec Trevelyan, who used to be his best friend).
  • Precision F-Strike: Delivered by the normally cool and in-control Carver.
    Carver: Mr. Stamper, would you please kill those bastards!
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • What Carver does before offing Gupta.
      Gupta: Press the magic button, Beijing disappears!
      Carver: Then it seems you've outlived your contract.
    • Bond also has one, seen in Hoist by His Own Petard.
    • Carver also gives one to the entire British and Chinese armadas when he, in his stealth ship, orders his men to fire missiles at both to provoke a battle:
      Carver: Let the mayhem begin.
    • As Bond is about to execute Dr. Kaufman, who had just killed Paris Carver:
      Kaufman: Wait! I'm just a professional doing a job!
      Bond: Me too. [shoots Kaufman]
  • Professional Killer: Both Kaufman and Bond claim to be such—see above.
  • Playing Both Sides: Carver, playing Great Britain and China against each other.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The plot was supposed to be about the reunification of Hong Kong and China, but someone realised they wouldn't be able to get the film done in time, resulting in rewrites that caused the last act to be all action and barely any plot.
  • Refuge in Audacity: While cavorting with his party guests, Carver laughs off rumors that he engineered the Mad Cow Disease scare because a British beef magnate lost a $10,000 bet and refused to pay him, and that the French paid him to continue running the stories. After seeing the dirty tactics he uses to spin exciting headlines, one suspects these are more than just rumors.
  • Revenge: Wai Lin asks Bond if he's interested in peace or revenge, and he replies that he wants to stop a war. However, the audience knows that he's also driven by his hatred towards Elliot for ordering Paris' murder.
  • Rule of Cool: A good explanation for why Bond lights a goon's cigarette (or possible joint) and then punches him.
  • Rousing Speech: Carver was in the middle of one before being taken off the air by Bond.
  • Rule of Sexy: The first few buttons of the blue shirt Bond wears in Saigon are undone, so much of his chest is exposed. Ditto for the black shirt he sports under his combat vest during the final battle. In fact, Bond displays more skin than Wai Lin throughout the entire movie! This is probably the first time in the franchise where 007 is objectified more than a Bond Girl.
  • Saved by the Platform Below: Bond and Wai Lin who are chained together escape the villain by performing a Super Window Jump out of a highrise. It looks like suicide until the next shot when we see them land on a deck one floor below.
  • Sealed with a Kiss: Bond declines rescue from the Royal Navy in the South China Sea so he can continue to make out with Wai Lin.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Wai Lin under the shower. There are also scenes of Bond with a wet shirt.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Bond under a shower with Wai Lin. And with Wai Lin in a Sexy Soaked Shirt, equal opportunity fanservice!
    • Bond's bare chest can also be seen when he's in bed with the Danish professor and after he and Paris sleep together.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Henry Gupta. Oddly, it's not Bond who does this, even though Bond had taken him as hostage, but Carver, since he had outlived his contract.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shower Scene: Bond and Wai Lin end up under an outdoor shower during their Chained Heat sequence.
  • Sink The Life Boats: On Carver's orders, Stamper shoots the surviving sailors from HMS Devonshire, so that their deaths can be blamed on the Chinese, and the fact that any survivors would contradict his story.
  • Smoking Is Not Cool: Bond calls smoking a filthy habit.
  • Stocking Filler: Paris Carver is first shown having them when Bond strips her down and she's shown Topless from the Back. The very first shot of her after she and Bond have sex is her rearranging her garters.
  • Stuffed in the Fridge: Paris. Not literally, but left in the hotel bedroom for Bond to find.
  • Super Multi-Purpose Room: Wai Lin has a run-down bike repair-shop which transforms into a full-blown spy lair.
  • Suspiciously Clean Criminal Record: Bond is identified as a spy because of this trope.
    Henry Gupta: He's got a perfect record. Crossed every "t", dotted every "i".
    Henry Gupta: Government agent. When it looks too good to be true, it usually is.
  • Take the Wheel: Bond and Wai Lin, further complicated by the fact that they are on a motorcycle and handcuffed together.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Played with; after Bond and Wai Lin are captured by Carver's goons, he's eager to be her ally, but she is resistant to the idea at first. She later accepts being his partner after they determine what Elliot's Evil Plan might be at her safehouse.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Amusingly, snippets on the score not of the Sheryl Crow theme, but by the k. d. lang one on the end credits (since score composer David Arnold co-wrote that).
  • Title Drop: The film itself doesn't have one, but the Playstation video game does: After being beaten by Bond in their shootout, Elliot Carver' last words before succumbing to his injuries are ironically "Tomorrow never dies."
  • To the Pain: When Carver tells Bond about how Mr. Stamper is going to torture him, although the movie gets more mileage out of the Cow Tools presented as Mr. Stamper's torture implements than it does out of Carver's little speech.
  • Torture Technician: Dr. Kaufmann and his protégé Mr. Stamper. Kaufmann claims it's just "a hobby" of his.
  • Trophy Wife: Paris Carver is one for Elliot. And once he finds out Bond is taking advantage of her...
  • Truth in Television: If you thought a media company wouldn't really engineer a war for ratings, you'd actually be wrong. Back in The '60s, CBS subsidized a planned mercenary coup of Haitian dictator Francois Duvalier for the purpose of shooting a television documentary. The FBI foiled the invasion plot, and CBS was chewed out by the FCC and the House Commerce Committee over the incident.
  • Under the Truck: James Bond slides his motorcycle underneath a helicopter that has its rotor blades tilted downwards.
  • Underwater Kiss: After trapping Stamper and leaving him to his doom, Bond dives after Wai Lin to give her some air mouth-to-mouth.
  • Unflinching Faith in the Brakes: Bond during his short "test drive" of the remote controlled BMW, doubly badass because he'd never driven it before. Note also that Q is standing right next to Bond, and doesn't even flinch. Just goes to show how much faith he has in 007.
  • Villainous Plan Inertia: Killing Elliot Carver doesn't stop the countdown on the nuclear missile he has aimed at China.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Carver's primary plan, by way of False Flag Operations.
  • Weapon Running Time: Bond has to get an aircraft clear from an Arms Fair before a Tomahawk hits the place.
  • Weaponized Car: Bond's BMW 750iL. It has missiles, caltrops, bulletproof armor, self-sealing reinflating tires, and can be remote-controlled.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: Bond traps the The Dragon Stamper's foot on the missile gantry so he gets caught in the backblast as the missile prepares to fire.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Bond is somewhat mortified when he discovers that M knows about his past sexual encounters (almost like a naughty boy who has been caught by his stern mother), and he even tries to defend his promiscuous behaviour with, "That was a long time ago, M, before [Paris] was married."
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: Carver does this in front of Wai Lin, making lots of karate moves and yelling "Ha!" all the while.
    Carver: [scoffs] Pathetic.
  • When Harry Met Svetlana: Significantly downplayed: the film takes place in a moment of fairly amicable relations between China and the West, and Bond and Wai Lin's task boils down to maintaining these.
  • With Friends Like These...: Bond had already snuck into Carter's office when Wai Lin breaks in, which sets off the alarm. As Bond is shot at by SMG-toting mooks, he looks up and sees Lin climbing down a wall while cheerfully waving at Bond as he draws off the men who'd normally be chasing after her. He even takes a moment to grimace at Lin in irritation before he scurries off.
  • Women Are Wiser: Bond, of all people, invokes this when he informs Mr. Stamper, "Never argue with a woman; they're always right" after Wai Lin tosses the detonation fuses to him and insists that Bond complete their mission at the expense of her life. GoldenEye had already established that Bond carries a deep psychological need to Always Save the Girl, so by respecting Wai Lin's wishes, he's also respecting her as a fellow soldier.
  • Working the Same Case: Bond and Wai Lin initially are separately investigating Carver on behalf of the British and Chinese governments.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Gupta reports that the missile aimed at Beijing is ready for launch, Carver says "Then it seems you have outlived your contract." before shooting him dead. This is done partially to deny Bond his hostage.
  • You're Insane!: Bond to Carver. Carver shrugs it off.
    Carver: By midnight tonight, I'll have reached more people than anyone in the history of this planet, save God himself. [beat] And the best He ever managed was the Sermon on the Mount.
    Bond: Hm. You really are quite insane.
    Carver: [stares at Bond] The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success.