This stunt version of James Bond's AR18 assault rifle appears in the hi-octane pre-credit action sequence from' Tomorrow Never Dies'. The movie opens with Bond conducting covert surveillance of a terrorist arms bazaar near the Russian border. Before 007 can complete his reconnaissance and report back to 'M' (Judi Dench), Admiral Roebuck impetuously orders the British frigate. HMS Chester, to launch a cruise missile attack against the arms dealers. When Bond discovers two SB5 nuclear torpedoes mounted on an L-39 Albatros parked on a runway adjacent to the bazaar, he is forced to engage the terrorists with the AR18, hijack the aircraft and fly it to safety, before the frigate's missile hits its target!
The custom production AR18, on which this rubberised version is based, was a heavily modified version of the Armalite AR-180 and featured a shortened barrel and top-folding stock in place of the standard side-folding stock. The handguards and flash concealer were purposely removed and the factory sights replaced with a custom unit to allow the stock to lie flat atop the receiver when folded. The bolt cocking lever was also replaced with a shorter custom design, as the original was prone to snagging on the lining of Brosnan's jacket. All in all, this deep customisation delivered a clandestine assault carbine for covert operations and only the receiver remained unchanged. This custom stunt rifle can be seen in the sequences where Bond takes out the bazaar protection team to clear a pathway to his target aircraft. Production units routinely supply rubber stunt weapons to actors engaged in kinetic action sequences to permit greater ease of movement and minimise injuries.
Tomorrow Never Dies is the 18th instalment in the James Bond franchise. It stars Pierce Brosnan as 007 and Asian action-superstar, Michelle Yeoh, as his high-kicking Chinese counterpart, Wai Lin. Released in 1997 and directed by Roger Spottiswoode, 'Tomorrow Never Dies' was the much anticipated follow-up to Goldeneye, Pierce Brosnan’s acclaimed debut as 007. ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ took $333,011,068 at the worldwide box-office and showcases arguably the best action sequences of the entire Brosnan era.
This molded-rubber stunt rifle was supplied by Bapty & Co., the official armourer for the Bond movies from 1962 to 2002.The original donor weapon was a British-made Sterling Armalite AR-180 with the serial number SS273. This weapon would be a wonderful addition to any exhibition celebrating the wonderful world of James Bond.