Okay, let's dissect this controversial entry.
- One of Brosnan's best performances; he does both the funny and serious parts of the role convincingly, and seems comfortable in the role.
- Halle Berry. She's tough, sexy, charismatic, can fight and has good chemistry with Brosnan.
- The concept of North Koreans assimilating to Western society, disguising themselves and then using the wealth from capitalism to help North Korea.
- Zao as a henchman
- The overall first half of the film has serious moments (the torture, hotel scene, Bond going rogue, M is more of a hardass here than the previous films, and this leads up to her portrayal in the Craig era.)
- Diverse color palette; somewhat psychedelic and abstract.
- The fencing scene
- The gadgets. Not believable at the slightest, but they sure are entertaining
- Mr. Kil is derivative, stupid and unnecessary; but kinda funny because the film is self-aware of that
- The plot is extremely derivative and unoriginal.
- The film forces as many tropes and references from past Bond films as possible; a film should have its own identity and should be looking forward; not back.
- The Icarus Project. It's a cliche, already been done before. And is farfetched.
- Gustav Graves as a villain. His performance is neither charismatic, nor terrifying.
- Graves' speech about how his company will save the world. It's a tired Bond trope by now... Please retire it!
- Frost is boring and forgettable. And coming after TWINE, it's not too surprising that not every person Bond sleeps with is trustworthy. (Yes, we get it, Bond's kryptonite is women; can we bury this cliche already?)
- Moneypenny VR scene
- Awful quality CGI all-around
- The gunbarrel. Why...
- The kite surfing scene
What surprised me was how sudden the shift in the film was. It wasn't gradual. It went from a bleak conversation between Bond and M to an invisible car, straight at the 1-hour mark.
For the most part, there's a pattern here in the likes and dislikes. I like the aspects of this film that are unique. And I dislike the aspects that are rehashed.
Die Another Day came at a weird time. 2002 was a bit late for comedic action films, the world was moving toward gritty post-911 films. Yet 2002 was too early for a CGI-laden film (those would later get better in the 2010's). But it still sold very well.
While this film is in the lower half of my ranking, I think I'm kinder to it than a lot of other Bond fans out there. It's decent action film if you're willing to turn your brain off.