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Men In Black II (2002)

Men in Black 2

Same planet. New scum.

Directed by:

Barry Sonenfeld

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 80 minutes

UK Certificate: PG

On DVD

Country: United States

The original ‘Men In Black’ was one of the sharpest, funniest movies of 1997. Centred around marauding space monsters and shady conspiracy theories, it cashed in on ‘X-Files’ mania, while at the same time injecting its own freshness and originality through the fine comedic performances of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. The sequel, unfortunately, is one big inter-galactic disappointment.

Thankfully those two leads are back on board, and they’ve brought their undeniable chemistry with them (which makes it all the more baffling that it takes almost half an hour before Jones finally makes an appearance). You get the impression the pair of them could bounce off each other all day, regardless of whether or not there’s a camera present. It’s just a pity that the biggest stumbling blocks they come up against this time aren’t the aliens, but the woeful screenplay, awkward CGI effects, and downright crappy storyline.

Lara Flynn Boyle – brought in as a last minute replacement for the vastly superior Famke Janssen – plays Serleena, a planet-threatening underwear-modelling space beast who’s after the “Light of Zartha” (whatever that is). The problem is, only Agent K (Jones) knows of its whereabouts and, as you may recall, he had his memory wiped out at the end of the first film. So partner Agent J (Smith) has to find him, get his memory back (yup, I scoffed at that part too) and stop Serleena before she opens a can of whoopass on the entire planet.

This is essentially a shabby, watered-down version of the original. Linda Fiorentino (who, in the first movie, made a far more interesting love interest for Smith than Rosario Dawson does this time around) is conspicuous by her absence, as is the spark, wit and all-round entertainment value that deservedly made ‘Men In Black’ such a rip-roaring success. Perhaps most tellingly of all, the movie seems over-stretched and struggles to fill its running time. Then you look at the clock and realise the whole thing only actually plays for a measly 80 minutes. Oh dear.

It's Got: Michael Jackson popping up in a cameo appearance – though, strangely, not as one of the aliens.

It Needs: A far better screenplay for Messrs Smith and Jones to lend their talents to.

DVD Extras Director’s commentary, an array of trailers, an optional ‘Alien Broadcast’ add-on feature, and a hugely unfunny MIB Training Video hosted by the wasted Patrick Warburton. DVD Extras Rating: 4/10

Alternatives:

Evolution, Galaxy Quest, Independence Day, Men In Black

Summary

So instantly forgettable, you’ll think Agent J’s just flashed you in the eyes with that neuralizer thingy.

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