32 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2002
With tongue planted so firmly in cheek as to be in danger of serious injury, Barry Sonnenfeld set out to surpass his own 5 year old triumph with Men in Black II. He didn't quite clear the mark set by MiB, but he came much closer than I ever thought he could.
Clearly, the goal of the MiB2 cast and crew was to expand the best elements of the first movie and lose those bits which didn't work so well. They had a great idea and implemented it well, but I think that they may have gone just a tad too far in paring the story and script down. MiB2 is a great ride, from the first frame to the last, and rarely have I seen 90 minutes go by so quickly. A little too quickly, as it turned out.
This flick is even more densely packed with one-liners, droll humor, visual puns and delightfully cynical satire than the first. It opens with a segment from a no-budget TV series on strange and unexplained phenomena (hosted by Peter Graves, of course) describing how the Earth narrowly escaped destruction in 1978 when we were caught between Serleena, a powerful and evil alien, and the object of her desire, a mysterious force known as the Light of Zartha. At that critical juncture 25 years ago, a super-secret government agency (which licenses and polices alien activity on Earth) kept us out of the line of fire by refusing the Zarthans' request to hide the Light on Earth.
Cut to the present day and Serleena's back. Naturally. She's still looking for the Light of Zartha and she's severely POed that she hasn't found it yet. Arriving on Earth undetected, her first problem is the same faced by the galactic cockroach in MiB: find a disguise that will pass among the primitve humans. As a shape shifting nest of snake-like apendages, though, she had an easier time of it than the 20 foot Bug. Almost immediately, she comes accros a magazine open to a full page Victoria's Secret ad and before you can say "brand new Edgar suit", she's taken the form of Lara Flynn Boyle . . . in nothing more than Victoria's best black lingerie. This is one dangerous alien.
Actually, Boyle does a good job of filling Vincent D'Onofrio's shoes. She's a smarter (if less ghastly) villain than the Bug and before long has put J and K at a serious disadvantage by completely taking over MiB headquarters.
Ah yes, Jay and Kay. Let's face it: the real key to the success of Men in Black was the hillarious juxtaposition of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Well, Kay is back and the chemistry has lost very little zing in the 5 years it was on the shelf. it turns out that the erstwhile Agent K is the only human being who might possibly know how to find the Light of Zartha. Unfortunatly, he's still got a 35 year gap in his memory and is working as the Postmaster of a small town in Maine. Zed dispatches J to bring him back and get him de-neuralized, post haste.
I won't give away any more of the plot than this; it's thin enough as it stands and I wouldn't want to spoil what few surprises there are. Fortunatly, the movie isn't really about the plot, now is it? it's about the gags, the special effects and watching Smith and Jones have *way* too much fun. Several other characters from the first flick also return, including Tony Shalhoub as the occaisionaly headless pawnbroker Jeebs, the four ungrateful worm guys and the wisecracking, karaoke singing pug, Frank.
Go see it, it's a hoot. The humor is a bit more juvenile than in the first movie, perhaps, but it really doesn't suffer much for all of that.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2002
I really enjoyed Men in Black. I thought the relationship between J & K (Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones) was wonderful. Tommy plays a wonderful straight man to Smith's zaniness.
I went to see Men in Black II last week, and I found that it fit like a thoroughly used, but still kind of comfortable glove. It's nowhere near as good as the first one, and it suffers from recycling too many of the jokes as well. The talking dog returns in a much more prominent role, the worms are back as well and have more to do. While funny (listening to the dog sing Gloria Gaynor is hilarious), ultimately they don't work as well in expanded roles. It feels almost like running the joke into the ground. A much more successful return is the ever-wonderful Tony Shalhoub as Jeebs. He's in for one scene, but he's still great.
Lara Flynn Boyle completely fails, in my opinion, as Serleena. First, she doesn't play menacing very well. Secondly, she doesn't seem to handle the wry humour and the quips that a villain in a picture like this requires. She comes across as very flat. Thankfully, Rip Torn is wonderful, and Jones and Smith slip into their comfortable roles very easily. They really make the movie.
The film is very short (88 minutes), which also tends to make it seem rushed. The characters jump from place to place without much reason. When reason is given, it's usually very quickly so as to move the plot along to the next set piece.
It was a funny film. No doubt about that. It was worth the [money] that I paid for it. Just don't go in expecting something as good as the first one.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2002
The inevitable sequel to the immensely popular MEN IN BLACK is on DVD, and while the film isn't as good as the original, the DVD extras are impressive. Like most Hollywood sequels, the tired "Bigger is Better" rule applies here (Somebody has to throw that old Hollywood "How-To" book in the bin). However there is much fun to be had throughout the somewhat un-original plot. Will Smith, returning to the comedy side of things after Michael Mann's ALI, gives another "I ain't touchin' that thing!" performance. And Tommy Lee Jones returns as straight-faced Agent K after getting his memory re-inserted to save manikind from the threat of alien invasion. It's fun, yes, but not as good as it could have been. At least it's better than WILD WILD WEST.
The DVD extras make up for it though, with a substantial amount of extras on the second dic of the 2 Disc set. Starting off with a Director Commentary, 14 (!) Production Featurettes, Alternate Ending, the predictable Will Smith music video, Multi-Angle Deconstructions, Blooper Reel, DVD-rom content, Marketing Campaigns and trailers.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2011
I know a lot of people don't agree with me, but I rank MIB II among the very few sequels that do just as well as the originals. MIB is one of my favorite movies of all time, and MIB II is just as good.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2002
Okay, so this may not be a patch on the original movie and a may have a weak plot that would struggle to fill a half hour TV show but it's also nowhere near as bad as most people have made it out to be and still has it's high points and amusing moments.
Five years after the original hit movie Men in Black took movie theatres across the world by storm, the world eagerly awaited Barry Sonnenfield's follow up which reunited the hit pairing of Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. What the world expected was another hour and a halves worth of comedy and kickin'...action. What we get is a plot that, much like the original, has an alien villain, Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle) endangering Earth's population and the future of our planet, in her quest for the Light of Zartha. As it so happens, the only person who knows where the light is hidden is Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) but he's now working in a Maine post office and completely unaware of his MIB past, having been neuralized at the end of the first movie, leaving Agent J (Will Smith) to set about retrieving both K and his memory before it's too late. Cue a glorious laugh riot and lots of fun action. Well, you would hope so but....
One of the problems with sequels is that they invariably have so much weight of expectation but with the very odd exception (Godfather II, Empire Strikes Back etc.), they nearly always fail to be a match for the original and in some cases, such as Escape From LA, Highlander 2 and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, they can be just plain awful. Many sequels just try to copy the successful formula of the original, missing out all the talent, originality, wit and imagination that went into making the original movie such a hit in the first place. Unfortunately to a great extent is the case with MIB 2, with many of the scenes and much of the plot being too similar to the original movie.
MIB II is in the end all action and FX but it is also generally uninspired and less entertaining than the original. I also think it missed Linda Fiorentino's presence but having said that, it does have its moments and it does have some good laughs: The high point of the movie is perhaps seeing Agent K as a militant postmaster complete with comedy shorts and long socks, as opposed to the cool black suit and shades of he usually wears and some of the scenes with Frank (the dog) are also amusing. However, that's about as good as it gets and seldom does it rise above average. Don't get me wrong though, this is not a bad movie, I did find it entertaining and it's hardly going to damage anybody's career. Most kids will love this regardless of its faults BUT although entertained my overwhelming memory of this movie is a sense of déjà vu.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2002
My oldest daughter (age 19), her friend and I went to see this movie. When we left, we all had the opinion that it was a waste of money. When the lights came up, my daughter said she hated it. She is rarely that intense about disliking anything. I think she felt lead on by the advertising, and then let down, like I did. The dog who was supposed to be so funny, was okay but not that funny or cute or whatever he was supposed to be. We had all gone wanting to give it a chance, and we loved the first movie, but like so many sequels, the second time around, a lot is old hat. It seemed to entertain the three year old that sat behind me, but the adults in the audience seemed as bored as I was. The special effects were good, the aliens great, but they didn't carry the movie and the rest of it seemed dull. People in the audience seemed ready for something good, and even laughed in the beginning as they anxiously waited for some laughs. They weren't forthcoming. Will Smith seemed uninspired and dominated the screen in a rather dull way, and Tommy Lee Jones just couldn't convince me he was changing character from being a postal clerk into a Man in Black. The transition didn't seem intense enough. The plot was thin and nothing much happened, and the end didn't even seem to make sense. It was like they had to figure some way to end the movie, so they made it up as they went along. I don't want to spoil the plot for anyone but I could't figure out why Tommy Lee was so attached to the alien at the beginning of the movie--was there a love story that was left out, or was he just a warm and incredibly compassionate guy--that he wasn't in the last movie and wasn't much in this movie? It just didn't seem to make any sense. The beginning T.V piece could have been great satire, but nothing in the film really seemed to click for me. I left the theater feeling like I wasted [MONEY]bucks. I enjoyed my popcorn though.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2002
There is something nearly endearing in the public's and studios' readiness to succumb to the sequelitis. It's not only pure commercialism and a cynical quest for extra megabucks on the studios' side or the viewers' urge for more of the same good stuff - even if it's very likely to turn out not as good as it was. What moves me is this joint effort to defy and deny the very concept of finality, unwillingness to say: - Yeah, it was fun while it lasted - let's remember it fondly for what it was. -
I remember the excitement and awe that met the initial MIB in the summer of 1997, lots of magazine covers with these two dressed-as-undertakers guys in black neutralizer-proof sunglasses, ready to blast the misbehaving alien visitors and residents to the green goo condition. The concept, the design - in was so fresh, so overwhelmingly new and convincingly detailed, not an imitation nor it seemed imitable.
It seems that very freshness of the original made the second helping just barely chewable.
Was it the director's fault? Or screenwriters' fault? Or actors'?
Surely it was a way downhill for Barry Sonnenfeld after his great success of '97: the planned-as-hilarious but ultimately disappointing Wild Wild West, the other film which name I can't remember - the revisiting of his greatest hit seemed the thing to do. Could he be more inventive? More selective when it came to jokes? More restrained when deciding how many and what kind of monsters this movie needs? Not craving for cheap laughs so much, able to throw in a basket the guy's with the balls under his chin sketch?
Will Smith is not as cocky and bristling as he was, he is surrounded by the surprisingly incompetent colleagues whose acts and appearance make you think the MIB's personnel department was eliminated by one of these successful alien raids and now the McDonalds sends them the recruits they consider underqualified to serve the Golden Arches.
Tommy Lee Jones looks resurrected, he is very tired - first of and above all, not happy to participate.
Earthly Linda Fiorentino is replaced with Lara Flynn Boyle, the female Michael Jackson with ridiculously pushed up mammae - I could feel how they hurt from the strain.
It all looks like the once happy TV family is paid handsomely to reunite in the recreated settings to live in front of cameras, to tell the old jokes and try to invent the new ones to the viewers' satisfaction, to endear the audience once more but the resulting show is very strained, unconvincing - and it's so painfully evident.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Okay, some of the sparkle is off, because we know what to expect, but it is still very entertaining, with a lot of really funny jokes. Lara Flynn Boyle is an alien (ala Critters sees a magazine pictures and assumes that form) coming to earth in search of the Light of Zartha. She is not as menacing at Vincent D'Onfrio, so that lacks, which means the film rests solely on the the shoulders of superb Tommy Lee Jones and great talent of Will Smith. All the old character from the original are back, like the marvellous Rip Torn as Zed. This is not long originality, but if you loved the first one you will enjoy this one. If you did not, then don't bother. Simple as that.
It is fast pace, with lots of in-jokes from the first film, a funny running joke of Michael Jackson wanting to be a MIB, Frank the Dog Alien hanging out of the car singing I Will Survive, and Jones and Smith's fussing over who will get to drive the car,
The Duo DVD is loaded with goods, the extra features on par with the set of the original, including a cartoon shown with the movie in theatres.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2006
This movie is so cool and funny! It's even better than the first of the MIB movies! It follows an alien named Serleena who takes on the form of Lara Flynn Boyle. She's on Earth because she wants a light device that will help her planet and race thrive. Soon, she finds some victims to get information out of, but it's to no avail. Meanwhile, our returning MIB heroes are still looking out for more evil space scum and soon after offing a whole lot of it run into Serleena and some of her minions. The fights happen and soon Serleena herself is the only one left. Ultimately, she makes one last attempt to achieve her goal before being blasted to bits by Will Smith. This movie is funnier than the first, cooler than the first and it brings back memories of good times in my past. You liked the first Men In Black movie? See this one with no delays or hesitations.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2005
MiB2 was fun to watch, but when it's over, it's hard to separate the flick from the first movie which it follows in just about every way - with the painful exception of just how edgy its premise was at first. For anybody who forgot (or has been "neuralized"), the MiB are a hyper-secret bureaucracy that monitors aliens on Earth, while preventing any other Earthlings from doing the same. The joke is 2-fold: while hidden, the aliens themselves are so prevalent among us that there's no mystery to them at all, and the fact that Earth is surrounded by myriads of powerful and oft hostile alien civilizations is an acceptable fact of life, as long as nobody on Earth finds out about it. The punch-line of each joke is that, if you think somebody's either an alien or one of the Men in Black, you're probably right (pop-stars, mail men, politicians...) The other joke is that MiB is the latest in a short line of films that combine the esoteric (alien civilizations) with the mundane (a huge government bureaucracy with no oversight) - the other great example was "Ghostbusters", with pre-modern demigods and the legions of the dead having to battle a blue-collar exterminators.
As in the first flick, the joke works too well - if aliens are Earth's worst secret, why bother to keep it secret at all? (The joke might work if the script gave our heroes more inventive ways to keep spectacular extra-terrestrials secret, instead of merely wiping clean the minds of witnesses using handheld flash-bulbs called "neuralizers") As in the first flick (deja-vu?) Agent J (Will Smith) and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) must prevent an evil alien from obtaining a powerful weapon with which to conquer the universe. Only Agent K knows the location of "The Light" - which was thought to have been launched into space by K years ago (in an incident comparable to an interstellar Potstdam, and immortalized in a cheesy amateur documentary by underground UFO watchers; apparently, the makers of the documentary weren't neuralized - which only raises the question of why anybody bothers to even try wiping clean those ridiculous and unbelievable memories). Seerlana (Lara Flynn Boyle) - an evil alien who manages to stay sultry even when she's got tendrils sprouting from everywhere - wants the light, and moves to conquer MiB HQ in her bid to extract its location from K's mind. (The ease with which she overruns HQ is only one more sign of the script's lameness).
Unfortunately, as in the last film, the script's conceit works against itself: the MiB work so hard to convince you there's no alien menace, that you begin to believe them - and soon forget the story. Spectacular FX are undermined by our everybody's' unwillingness to be bowled over by anything. The script does make great use of Tommy Lee Jones as the perfect interstellar bureaucrat and Will Smith as the "new hotness". The story could have used more of Rip Torn, and whatever Linda Fiorentino asked for, they should have paid. In short, I finished this flick wondering if I'd been neuralized.