(Might contain “spoilers”).

We watched “The Matador” (2006) starring Pierce Brosnan on the tele last night.

You know Pierce Brosnan is still identified with the sophisticated, high-tech James Bond, the British MI5 agent whose victims are very evil–and whose women are ooh la la.

But the star of the darkly humorous film Matador is Julian, a crudely unsophisticated Brosnan (but still handsome, I think, even when he reveals his teethy teeth)–a stark contrast to the polished Bond with the proper English accent.

So turn everything you know about the celluoid Bond upside down, inside out and round and round you go and you get Julian, an assassin whose assignments are passed to him by an unseemly agent on the streets of the world’s cities where Julian is eyeing “illiterate teenage girls”–he is a womanizer, who instead of making love with a gorgeous model at the Ritz in Paris, is found cavorting at the low-end bordello.

There are only 3 main characters in this darkly funny film. Greg Kinnear plays Danny Wright, the Denver-based “loser”–a traveling businessman who is seduced and corrupted by the deliciously amoral Julian. Most of the movie takes place in foreign cities but the final scenes unfold in Denver at Danny and his wife “Bean”‘s home (with Hope Davis perfectly playing “Bean”, a young numb matron ready to swing).

You may find it hard to identify with Julian but I loved him. Julian rationalizes his sordid “gigs” to an innocent Danny by telling him his victims are generically bad.

Danny is so sucked into Julian’s web that he becomes an accomplice in Julian’s “final” assignment.

What is really irrestiable about this movie is that Pierce Brosnan turned an original character that was was just a typed decription on a computer screen into a real, believable person.

Written by June Morrall & Burt Blumert