It's been a dozen years since Pierce Brosnan played Bond, James Bond, in "Die Another Day."
In "The November Man," he comfortably slips back into the the world of international intrigue, killer spies and beautiful women — like he put on a favorite suit that just happens to be filled with weapons.
"The November Man" is a tasty thriller with enough twists to keep you guessing until the end. Roger Donaldson — who directed Brosnan in "Dante's Peak" — does a good job of putting together a film where the lines between good and bad aren't just blurred, they're obliterated.
Peter Devereaux (Brosnan) is an ex-CIA killing machine who left the business behind after a tragedy during a mission. He is pulled out of retirement by his previous handler, Hanley (Bill Smitrovich), to save a woman who means more to Devereaux than just another assignment.
The plot swirls into a political hurricane when the leading candidate to take control of Russia begins having anyone who knows his dark secrets killed. Caught in the middle of this murderous spree is Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko), a woman whose connection to a refugee makes her a target.
Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek have adapted Bill Granger's book, "There Are No Spies," cleverly enough to keep all of the major players mysterious without making the script too complicated to follow. There even is a pseudo father-son storyline between Devereaux and a young CIA agent (Luke Bracey) he mentored that gives the film a nice emotional touch.
There are a few leaps in logic (how do people watch a person run down the street carrying a gun and not jump out of the way?) and a couple of bogus red herrings, but neither hurt the movie's flow.
None of this would matter if Brosnan didn't seem so comfortable in the part.
There's both an intensity in his eyes that makes it clear he will do whatever is necessary to accomplish his mission and a fatigue that suggests this is a man who has been worn down by the chopping away of his humanity with each kill.
His character has a particular set of skills — skills acquired over a long career that he prefers not to use unless pushed.
Brosnan's performance makes "The November Man" worth seeing.
"The November Man"
Rated R for language, violence, nudity, drug use. Stars Pierce Brosnan, Olga Kurylenko, Bill Smitrovich, Luke Bracey. Directed by Roger Donaldson. Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes. Grade: B-