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Men In Black 2
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Men In Black 2 Men In Black 2 Review

Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld.
Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Lara Flynn Boyle, Rosario Dawson, Michael Jackson.

Synopsis: Agents J and K (Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones) are back for more battles with alien rabble-rousers who take the form of a estrogen-charged extraterrestrial (played by Lara Flynn Boyle). She has come looking for something called 'the light' and only ex-M.I.B.'er K knows where it is. Agent J has to find K, bring him back and find 'the light' before all is lost. Of course, the notorious worm creatures and Frank the pug from the original film return to wreak havoc as well.

A simple review would read: Neither good nor bad, neither a waste of money nor fully deserving of the big popcorn/nacho/coke combo pack. Simply entertaining, and fortunately not a pockmark on the name of the original.

However, I have to write a few more paragraphs on the film, so please excuse me while I meet my word quota.

Sequels have a tendency to take the exploits of the first film, rehash them and serve up some warmed-over humour. Men In Black 2, at points, is also guilty of this. However, MIB2 also has some great little gags that come out of nowhere and slap you quickly to put a smile on your face.

Some great moments include a locker full of tiny aliens that worship K (Tommy Lee Jones), a very funny scene ending moment with David Cross (he plays the video store clerk and you've seen him in a thousand different things).

Some other problems sequels suffer from...they take brief characters that people like in small doses (see Lethal Weapon 2) and give them waaaaaaay to much screen time later on. MIB2 has several moments to point to as evidence of this. Frank the pug is one such example...some funny moments, but way too much screen time as well as it sort of going against his character from the first film. Second, the worms, again some funny moments, but again, way too much screen time. I'm not saying cut them out of the movie, their funny bits were worth it, but some trimming could have been exercised.

Barry Sonnenfeld (the director who makes a cameo as the father of the family in K's old house) is smart though, he makes this seemingly complicated plot motor so you don't have time to pick up inconsistencies or even care if some of the humour is not as sharp or unique as the first time. You are on such a roller coaster ride it becomes more of a strap yourself in to the point that you don't really notice that Lara Flynn Boyle isn't really much of a nemesis, and that Rosario Dawson is completely wasted in this film except for her making eyes at Will Smith here and there.

But the true reason you watch Men In Black, oddities and bizarre moments aside, is the chemistry between K and J. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones have such a smooth, rapid fire patter between them that you can forgive them a lot. In fact, this is perhaps where the first of the film falters a lot. While it shows Will Smith training a new-ish partner (Patrick Warburton, also relatively wasted here in nothing more than a glorified cameo) he is really on his own, and has changed pretty drastically since we last saw him. 'J' has become overzealous with his use of the 'flashy thing' to the point that other agents are terrified of him. What is really weird, is now that 'J' knows the ins-and-outs of M.I.B. he seems more like Axel Foley/Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop.

The winning point of the whole film is when 'K' does return, he chastise 'J' for his methods, his sloppiness, and we are back on relatively familiar territory and the chemistry is clicking again. Still, I missed Linda Fiorentino...the rumour is she's hard to work with but still, I liked her, she brought a sexuality to M.I.B. that is missing in this one despite the skin exposure of Lara Flynn Boyle. Although I did like how they simply mentioned Agent 'L' as the one who returned to the morgue and let it go with just a simple line of dialogue, no big explanation.

When it comes down to it, M.I.B. may make the critics turn their nose up at it, it may make the cynical say it's simply a cash-in movie...but hell, overall I enjoyed it as a summer ride and didn't feel I'd been box-officed out of my $10. I still give it 3 and a half stars out of 5.

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Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul



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