Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Roger Spottiswoode directed Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, which does not seem like a movie that would prepare you for making a Bond film. Nonetheless, this is a fine offering, particularly because of Michelle Yeoh, who plays Chinese spy Colonel Wai Lin.

This time, Bond is up against Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce), a media mogul who is trying to start World War III to increase his ratings. To top things off, his trophy wife Paris Carver is one of Bond’s many ex-girlfriends.

After she’s killed by Carver’s henchman Dr. Kaufman (Vincent Schiavelli), Bond is out not just to solve this case, but for revenge.

Ricky Jay shows up in this as cyberterrorist Henry Gupta. He’s always a welcome face in films. I’d recommend that you watch Ricky Jay and His 52 Assistants, a filmed version of his stage show of card magic. Between acting, writing and becoming the collector of magic information and history, Jay was a fascinating human being.

I also find it amusing that Yeoh wasn’t allowed to perform all of her own stunts. If you’ve seen her in movies like Supercop, you’ll realize that she’s more than the equal of anyone that was doubling for her. That said, she did some of her own fighting. For the fight scene in the bicycle shop, the producers had to call in Jackie Chan’s stunt team, because none of the stuntmen wanted to do the full contact style that she had perfected while a member of that group.

Here’s a strange thing: Sir Anthony Hopkins was cast as Carver, but quit after three days because it was so chaotic. There was big pressure on EON Productions to finish the movie on time, so the script was being written on the fly and new pages were being sent every morning. He chose to be in The Mask of Zorro — directed by GoldenEye‘s Martin Campbell — instead.

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