MEN IN BLACK II
STARRING: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Rip Torn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Tony Shalhoub, Patrick Warburton
2002, 88 Minutes, Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
In my review of the previous Will Smith comedy also directed by Barry
Sonnenfeld (namely the dismal Wild Wild
West) I wrote about how
the cinema I was in turned into a "laugh-free zone." The same
couldn't exactly be said of Men in Black II: after all, I heard some polite
chuckling from the audience . . . in about three places in the entire movie!
I won't make any remarks about how I can't remember anyone
for a second Men in Black movie, because apparently this largely pointless
sequel made big bucks at the American box office during its opening
weekend. Okay, lots of people like myself recall the original with some
fondness and, after having seen the Region 1 DVD recently, I ended up
liking it even more than I did upon its initial release.
So I don't know
whether bad word of mouth kicked in afterwards to dampen the film's box
office takings, but I was rather reluctant to go see
Men in Black II after hearing some very poor things about it. This is not
just from critics (who can be, erm, too critical, especially towards genre
efforts), but regular
They are unfortunately all correct:
Men in Black II, while not as
incredibly bad as some people that I have spoken to have claimed, is a huge
disappointment. It simply isn't as funny or vibrant as the original,
rehashing a lot of material and ideas that will seem familiar to people
whom have seen the original without adding anything new or fresh. If you
hadn't seen the original film, then I suppose a lot of it will simply be
bewildering since Men in Black II simply doesn't explain any of its plot
premises. Be warned.
Despite the lack of serious laughs, the film at least wastes no time
and is fast-paced. Some of the alien designs are fun and inventive, the
special effects are okay and Danny Elfman's music score is adequate.
the lead cast seems lifeless and tired. Are they in it just for the money?
A silly question since the movie's attitude is best summed up by Tommy Lee
Jones' hangdog expression (is it just me or is he beginning to resemble
Walter Matthau?): tired and drained of energy . . .
The plot? Inconsequential really.
All you need to know is that the
earth is threatened with destruction again by a shape-shifting alien
(heard any of this before?) and the Tommy Lee Jones character is dragged
from "retirement" as a postal worker. No doubt a third Men in
Black movie is probably in the works considering the big bucks this
installment made, but one can only wonder about the amount of goodwill
towards this franchise that will remain after this lackluster installment.