Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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Our Bond expectations are fulfilled

James Bond’s cars get as much screen recognition as the actor playing him. In Die Another Day, it’s Pierce Brosnan returns, but this time he’s driving an Aston Martin.

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Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 2, 2002

Movie: Die Another Day

Rating: PG-13

Summary: This film, the 20th Bond film made in nearly 40 years, doesn't stray much from the characteristic Bond mold. This time, James Bond (Pierce Brosnan, the fifth actor to play the character) is sent to North Korea to assassinate a military colonel, who is illegally producing weapons in a supposedly demilitarized zone. But the mission takes an immediate turn for the worse when James is imprisoned. He spends 14 torturous months in the prison before he's finally traded for a captured high-ranking Korean named Zao. When Bond returns, his secret agent status is suspended. The infamous James Bond can't go out like that, though, so he begins a long hunt to seek revenge on the Koreans who tortured him for so long. Along the way, he procures the help of an American spy, Jinx (Halle Berry).

My view: After 40 years of Bond movies we have all come to expect certain things from each new one, and let's just say this film doesn't disappoint in that regard. The women love him, as always, his martini is still shaken, not stirred, and he again receives a whole slew of new gadgets from Q (John Cleese). The dialogue is traditionally wry and pun-filled, and the countless sexual innuendos are prevalent. Sure, it may seem silly when you watch it, but what would a Bond film be without all of that? Pierce Brosnan is a good actor, but he'll never be capable of what Sean Connery could do in his younger days. The special effects were cool, but not too special -- they didn't break any barriers with them.

Favorite part: Just watching a Bond movie is always fun, as long as you're in the right mind set and your expectations aren't over the top.

Recommendations: Whether you're a big Bond fan or not, you'll have a good time watching it. The violence and sexuality factors are pretty high, though (typical for a Bond movie), so heed the PG-13 rating.

Grade: B.

-- Billy Norris, 15, is in the ninth grade at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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