The creakiest exercise yet in American Bond fan Benson's postmodern resurrection of Ian Fleming's peerless killer spy, has an embarrassingly witless 007 going rogue to fight a dastardly multinational crime cartel.
Two months after the calamitous conclusion of High Time to Kill (1999), Bond is still depressed over the death of lover Helen Marksbury. He's also on medical leave, under the care of comely Dr. Kimberely Feare, taking pills that are supposed to heal a brain lesion but do little more than leave him paranoid and prone to blackouts. Unknown to Bond, the American white supremacists who call themselves the Union have revamped themselves into a wealthy criminal club that holds meetings in swank, dimly lit underground boardrooms presided over by the mysterious Le Gerant, a blind man who forgoes canes because he can psychically sense his surroundings. Aided by sadomasochistic sexpot Margareta Piel, Le Gerant has found a crazed Bond look-alike willing to undergo plastic surgery, wear Brioni suits, and commit un-Bondly crimes, such as killing Dr. Feare moments after she forsakes medical ethics to succumb to the real Bond's “overwhelming masculinity.” Meanwhile, Spanish powerbroker (and Union member) Domingo Espada, who publicly manages bullfighters and privately kidnaps poor girls and turns them into sex slaves, has set up a meeting with the various heads of state to demand the return of Gibraltar to Spain. At the climax of the meeting, pseudo-Bond will kill the British Prime Minister. Of course, the one true Bond can thwart only so much gratuitous overplotting by himself, so he swipes a handgun from the Q Branch armory (almost no gadgetry in this outing, alas), falls in with voluptuous CIA twins Heidi and Hedy Taunt, and, after a inconvenient blackout, awakens in Espada's bullring, where he must first use his wits against a charging bull and then fight pseudo-Bond to the death.
Nifty bullfighting scenes do not redeem an otherwise cliché-cluttered narrative. For die-hard fans only.