31 of 37 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.
13 of 14 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 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.
10 of 11 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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
MEN IN BLACK II is not nearly as good as the original, but after seen all the horrible reviews, I was expecting to really dislike it. Fortunately, it wasn't bad at all. Great? No. Horrible? No.
The only way that MEN IN BLACK II can be considered a bad movie is in direct comparison with the original. If one were to see this one, never having seen the first, I think the experience would be a very pleasurable one. Will Smith is as likable in this one as in the first, and I enjoyed a lot of the accoutrements from the original are back. Tony Shaloub, one of my favorite character actors, reprises his role as Jack Jeebs, and provides some funny moments. Rosario Dawson was fine in her role, though it could have been a expanded with ease. And Lara Flynn Boyle made a believable and successful villainous. My one disappointment was with Tommy Lee Jones, who I almost always love. His performance was fine, but the script doesn't do nearly as much with his memory loss as they might have, and the completely sudden way he gets his memory back makes for a rough transition. I felt Frank the Pug and the worm guys could have had slightly (or even much) smaller roles.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the original, as long as they realize that it isn't as good as the first one.
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.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2002
Seriously, are we supposed to put this movie the same class as the first one? This was a very Disney-like attempt to make money from a sequel.
Aside from a few clever one liners, a hilarious cameo by Michael Jackson, and the fact that Laura Flynn is very pleasing to the eye in Victoria Secret apparrel, this movie was really 'disapointing'
"But what about the scene stealing dog?" you say, ok the dog was funny in some points, mainly riding in the car. Ultimately I would say that if you laughed at the trailer, thats as much fun as you're gonna have.
A more appropriate title for this would've been "Burger King, Nokia, and Mercedes Benz present MIB 2!!" because its really a big commercial. It didn't exactly help that there were some very obvious 'product' shots thrown in which really get annoying after a while.
On the postive side, the team up of Jones and Smith is still funny, but ultimately you get the feeling of 'I've seen all this before.' To those who haven't seen it, I would say 'see it, if its a rental that someone else is paying for because they ran out of copies of something you would want to see, like oh I don't know: Episode II.
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.