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Pierce Brosnan throws himself into his third outing as Bond, James Bond, in the 20th chapter in the eternally popular series spawned by the half-forgotten novels by Ian Fleming.
This time, the chief Bond women, Jinx and Miranda Pike, are played by Halle Berry and Rosamund Pike, while the cast also includes Toby Stephens and Rick Yune, along with John Cleese and Michael Madsen.
Another Oscar winner, Dame Judi Dench, returns as Bond's tough-nosed colleague; Madonna is along to write and sing the obligatory theme tune, a prestige gig that has showcased Paul McCartney, Shirley Bassey, Carly Simon and Louis Armstrong, among the more memorable. Madonna will also be on hand for a cameo appearance, doing her bit to redeem herself after the debacle of "Swept Away." This is reportedly Brosnan's farewell Bond in a series that has long outlasted and outdistanced the Ian Fleming canon on which it was based.
The plot takes 007 from a high-speed hovercraft chase in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, to Hong Kong, Cuba and London, and ultimately to Iceland. A river in Iceland reportedly had to be dammed to help freeze an uncooperative lake for use in some car chases.
Along the way Berry's Jinx pays homage to the first Bond movie, "Dr. No," in a bathing suit scene. Lee Tamahori ("Once Were Warriors") directs. PG-13.
A Newsday report is included in this story.