July 2002
Men in Black II

Reviewed by Wilson Morales

Men in Black II

Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Screenwriter: Robert Gordon & Barry Fanaro
Producers: Walter F. Parkes & Laurie MacDonald
Cinematography: Greg Gardiner
Music: Danny Elfman
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Lara Flynn Boyle, Rip Torn, Rosario Dawson, and Johnny Knoxville
Running Time: 82 min

Normally sequels come to screen just a few years after the original has made lots of change. But when both of the leads are blowing up before our eyes and their salaries get bigger, it doesn't get easier or cheaper for the sequel to happen. After a 5 year wait, Men in Black II is back but with less pizzazz than the first one. Adding more artistic style than substance, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are in it for the ride and our money.

When the first film ended, Agent J (Smith) has just got used to being an agent destroying aliens left and right and Agent K (Jones) had "retired" and had his memory wash out the fact of who he was. Now as one of the elite agents, J has a new partner, a talking dog and together they seek to find an alien who committed a murder. The alien they seek is Sarleena (Lara Flynn Boyle). She's looking for the "Light of Zartha" and the one person who knows where it's at is her arch nemesis Agent K. Since K has no clue has what's going on, Agent J returns to him to his old self before Sarleena can get her hands on him. At the same time, Agent J wants protection for the one witness (Dawson) who knows more than she lets on. With Agents J & K working together again, it's only a matter of time before the evildoers are put out to pasture.

The good thing about sequels is that pretty much the whole team is back. Smith was just blowing up in Hollywood when the first film came out, and now he's a bigger star coming from a recent Oscar nomination. Here, he's just having fun. He has the bulk of the comedy skits. For most black/white male partners, there's usually a straight normal guy. A Felix as opposed to an Oscar. In this case, it's Jones. As with the first film, he was the normal guy who had to teach a new recruit. In this film, he's readjusting to being an agent again. In some cases, he seems bored as if he's walking through his lines. Flynn Boyle is the femme fatale but she's horrible as a villain. Not an ounce of fear comes out of her or her sidekick played by Johnny Knoxville. There is no substance to this film. The main ingredient and highlight all goes to Rick Baker and his designs on the aliens. Baker, who won an Oscar for his work on the first film, shows how good his creations, although at times some look like rejects from other films. At 82 minutes, MIB 2 is one of the shortest sequels ever made yet it costs over $100 million to produce. Go figure?? One is better off seeing this film during lunch when they have some time to spare.


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