General Moon: Hero to a Nation and Father of Bond Villain
General Moon is a character in the 2002 James Bond film, Die Another Day, portrayed by Hong Kong actor Kenneth Tsang. He’s the father of Colonel Tan-Sun Moon, who transforms into Gustav Graves through the means of gene replacement therapy.
General Moon, the father of Colonel Moon, plays a pivotal role in assisting Bond’s release back to the West. As a wise and moderate man, he desires a peaceful reunification of Korea, contrasting his son’s inclination towards war.
When Bond appears to assassinate Colonel Moon, General Moon orders his imprisonment and subjects him to torture for over a year. Eventually, he strikes a deal to secure Bond’s freedom by exchanging him for the release of Zao, who had been held by the West for terrorism.
As tensions between North and South Korea escalate towards the film’s climax, hardliners orchestrate a coup in North Korea, resulting in the arrest of General Moon. Later on, accompanied by Gustav Graves, he’s taken to Iceland, where Graves showcases the power of the new Icarus heat-ray.
During a conversation on Graves’ massive plane, Graves attempts to convince the General that he is, in fact, his own father by recalling the General’s personal tactics from memory. It is at this moment that the General learns the truth—Graves is actually Colonel Moon, his son, who has assumed a new identity through gene therapy.
Graves hopes to impress his father by demonstrating the destructive capabilities of the Icarus system, intending to breach the Korean Demilitarized Zone and invade South Korea. However, the General realizes his son’s insanity and confronts him, brandishing a Makarov pistol, saying it will only lead to their own destruction and that his real son died long ago.
Graves disarms his father, expressing his disappointment, and callously shoots him in the chest, resulting in the General’s death. Witnessing this act of patricide against their heroic General, other officers present are horrified.
Graves callously removes the General’s Order of Freedom and Independence, the Korean equivalent of the ‘Medal of Honor,’ further inciting Bond’s fury. Bond, enraged at the loss of the General who spared his life in North Korea, is compelled to seek revenge and attempts to kill Graves.
Kenneth Tsang was a highly accomplished Hong Kong actor with a career spanning over five decades. He gained recognition for his roles in iconic films such as A Better Tomorrow and The Killer, directed by John Woo. Tsang also ventured into Hollywood with notable appearances in movies like The Replacement Killers and Die Another Day.
He made significant contributions to both Hong Kong and Singaporean cinema and remained active throughout his career. Tsang’s personal life included three marriages, and he passed away in 2022 during a Covid-19 quarantine in Hong Kong.