I think most people would agree that Sean Connery was the best James Bond, with some decent competition from recent (and apparently reluctant) bruiser Daniel Craig. But we have a new decisive winner for the title of Best Ex-James Bond, and that man is Pierce Brosnan. Brosnan has only appeared in a handful of non-Bond hit movies, only one of which (the totally solid, sexy remake of The Thomas Crown Affair) really traded on his Bond-like cool. Several of the others, like Mrs. Doubtfire and Mamma Mia!, focused more on humiliating him on some level (even more so than that surfing scene from Die Another Day). Now the internet has taken over for the likes of Chris Columbus, lambasting Brosnan for his unexpected endorsement deal for Pan Bahar, which is a type of pan masala, which I've just today learned is most frequently described as a "mixture," but is basically the Indian version of chewing tobacco, although as sold it does not actually include tobacco.
Obviously, an actor signing up to endorse a tobacco-like product is kinda skeevy, unless it's Mickey Rourke for Skoal, in which case I'd say just leave him be. Or, it turns out, unless it's Pierce Brosnan, because Brosnan in his post-Bond repose kind of rules. Just look at him in the Pan Bahar ads: he looks exactly like James Bond, except he's grown a bushy beard and mustache, and apparently ingests something besides martinis. Brosnan's post-Bond deconstruction of Bond has now lasted a good deal longer than his Bond tenure itself; the key texts in Brosnan playing an attractive but gone-to-seed agent of semi-espionage slash lowlife are The Tailor of Panama, The Matador, and this Pan Bahar commercial. (It just displaced any number of DTV or DTV-quality action movies that are more accidentally than intentionally of the Lames Bond genre.)
I especially love how in this ad, he looks how his Bond would look if M went to find him after 20 years MIA and dragged him in from the cold, by which I mean a in shack on the beach in Mexico, or possibly in some kind of forest hut in Eastern Europe. Basically, he looks like he did after the opening section of the sorta-underrated Die Another Day. You get the feeling Brosnan has spent a lot of his recent career trying to make up for the fact that he totally wanted to go in a more Daniel Craig direction with Bond (you can see the germs of it in both Die and World is Not Enough), only to be denied by the producers who then let him go and went in that direction without him.
So while I don't really approve of an actor using his cache to make money promoting blatantly unhealthy consumer goods, I do approve of Pierce Brosnan growing a beard and getting his. Besides, stuff Brosnan does that initially seems terrible often turns out to be magnificence incarnate. For example, his wobbly singing of "S.O.S." in Mamma Mia! is actually the only moment of honesty in that whole goddamn nightmare of a karaoke session. I leave you with that now and bid you good afternoon, because class never goes out of style, and class sometimes means showing up for work and doing your best.
Watch the commercial below.
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