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Bond can keep the girls — give us the gadgets

Somebody had better alert Toys ‘r’ Us; James Bond has stolen all its toys. The best part of Die Another Day is the gadgets.

With every movie, they get more and more unbelievable, and this latest installment is no exception. From the first scene, where a surfboard opens to reveal all kinds of goodies to Bond’s invisible car — yes, invisible — it is obvious that part of his appeal includes the hi-tech gadgetry he has such easy access to.

The movie itself is formulaic Bond. There are the two women, one a traitor, one not; the bad guys, who are so bad you expect their heads to sprout horns at any minute; and the palpitation-inducing car chases, explosions and, in this case, sword fights.

Pierce Brosnan, who has played James for the past three installments of the Bond franchise, still has the dashing good looks and the debonair personality that make women from their teens to their 40s weak in the knees. When he first flashes that rogue grin, at least a few women in the audience gasped.

New to this installment are Halle Berry and Rosamund Pike, playing the women in Bond’s latest adventure. Berry’s character, Jinx, is a woman with a sarcastic side, and her barbs hold their own against Bond’s. Her sensuality is played to the hilt, which is typical of a Bond flick. Pike plays Miranda Frost, the ice queen as her surname suggests, and she plays her role just fine.

The resident baddies, Moon (Will Yun Lee) in the beginning before he is easily disposed of, and, later, Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens), leave no awfulness to the imagination. Both men are bad to the core, as they should be. Bond movies do not thrive on gray area; things are either black or white, and both Moon and Gustav fall into the black. Also, as one of the terrorists, Zao, Rick Yune has piercing blue eyes that could give Brosnan a run for his money, if they weren’t used for such creepy and evil purposes. Yune is one of the strong, silent-type bad guys — perfect for this role.

In the world of Bond, the movie succeeds. But as far as common sense goes, the film falls short.

The script is laughable, the plot is predictable and the effects are unbelievable. While the movie does well with the usual car crashes and explosions, the creation of an ice palace in Iceland looks beyond fake — it is just not conceivable — and the effects artists did nothing to help the audience buy into this alternate reality.

Perhaps the most interesting part of Die Another Day is the one deviation it takes from the norm. Our hero is taken prisoner within the first 10 minutes, and held for 14 months in a North Korean POW camp.

Adding even more to this plot twist, Bond’s torture is shown. The result is a disheveled and bearded James who looks nothing like the suave secret agent the world is used to.

The movie would have succeeded in this serious turn if not for the music underscoring the torture, which takes place as the opening credits roll.

As scorpions bite him and he is injected with stuff, Madonna’s titular theme song plays over the scene. On top of that, the torture is interspersed with images of women made out of fire and ice, dancing erotically. Is this a title card montage or a really bad MTV video?

Is Die Another Day going to change the world? No. Will it get men in movie theaters this weekend? Of course.

James Bond is the envy of practically every young boy and man in the world. His gadgets, his personality and his luck with the ladies makes him the man other men want to be.

Die Another Day doesn’t disappoint. It does what any good action movie should do: introduce a hero, allow him to save the world and, best of all, give him cool gadgets with which to play.

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Die Another Day’ is rated PG-13 and opens Friday.