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Men in Black II

A movie directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, Eric Armstrong, and Michelle Palmer

< read all 6 reviews

All is lost. All entertainment value, that is.

  • Jun 14, 2012
* out of ****

Barry Sonnenfeld is one of those directors who just wants you to have a good time. That seems to be the motive behind each and every one of his motion pictures so far, and that must also be the motive of "Men in Black II". But as I watched it, I realized in no time at all that this wasn't a "good time". This wasn't entertaining, well-made, or funny. This wasn't even half-decent. In fact, this was just down-right crummy. Sonnenfeld had brought an interesting and clever concept to the screen with the first "Men in Black", which could be described in so many ways because yes, it's really that good; although I would personally refer to it as a welcome comic spin on the alien invasion genre with an extra layer that evokes the atmosphere of a buddy comedy that was about a top secret organization that existed to hunt down the alien life forms living among us. It mixed science fiction, comedy, and action all at once, and the end results were most impressive. But as they say, a truly good idea can sometimes only work once; and this film does well to promote those words and the credibility of whoever said them. Here, all entertainment value, charm, and energy seem to have been sucked out of every frame; leaving behind a movie that is boring, annoying, and practically joyless.

Five years after the events of "Men in Black", Agent J (Will Smith) must find a new partner as Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) has been neuralyzed and is now living a new life as a Massachusetts postmaster. The talking alien dog that was featured for about a minute or two in the original film now plays a larger role, as the first contestant for the spot that Agent K once upheld. However, nothing sticks, and Agent J seeks his old partner out yet again so that the agency may have him once again at their disposal (he is regarded as a legend back at the MIB headquarters). Also, the agency needs K back desperately; as a new threat has emerged - an alien seductress named Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle) and her partner-in-crime, a two-headed trickster (Johnny Knoxville). K is the only one who possesses substantial information in regards to "The Light of Zartha"; which Serleena desires. The "light" is located on a bracelet worn by Laura Vasquez (Rosario Dawson), whose character exists in this plot for no other reason aside from to provide Agent J with a love interest.

It literally feels like everyone aboard is sleepwalking through every scene and every scenario. Will Smith has had much better days (although I don't think it gets much worse than an un-charismatic performance for him), as has Tommy Lee Jones, who looks just plain unhappy to be here (and with good reason). Rip Torn returns as the head of the MIB, and he's still pretty awesome; but his screen-time is far too limited. Meanwhile, the villainous Flynn Boyle is hardly villainous at all; just like Knoxville. They both give borderline awful performances completely devoid of any spirit whatsoever. Tony Shalhoub returns as the illegal weapons dealer Jeebs (the dude with the regenerating head, remember him?) and he's one of the only ones here that emerges in-tact, but only because he plays his part so naturally. Frank the Pug provides some laughs, but just like the rest of the bland attempts at "humor"; the giggles are merely sporadic.

Nothing pisses me off more than a God-awful sequel to an awesome original. "Men in Black II" is utter rubbish in the sense that there isn't a moment that it feels inspired or particularly exhilarating. Sonnenfeld doesn't seem to be that passionate about the whole affair; which is evident in the fact that, for the most part, not even the visuals are fun to look at. The action scenes are boring, the effects are silly, and the cinematography is...well, I guess they're safe there. And as for Rick Baker's newest alien creations; well, the practical creature effects are nice but the CGI is meh. Therefore, the creatures are rarely exciting and never get a decent chance to shine. My guess is that the studio is mostly responsible for the failure of this one. Or maybe it was the fact that "Men in Black" did not require a sequel unless the writer(s) and director(s) knew where they wanted to take the characters and the franchise in a whole, yet they decided to make one for the hell of it (and for the money, obviously). Oh God, someone please just neuralyze my ass.

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More Men in Black II reviews
review by . August 08, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Would have made a better pilot for a live action Men in Black show
I saw the first Men In Black film in theatres and remembered hearing about that film while the world was ooohing and ahhhing Independance Day, both films which feature Will Smith.  I thought that not only was Men In Black much better and funnier but the sets, action and chemistry Tommy Lee Jones had with Will Smith was great and they made two cool dudes with cool looking toys taking on the galactic scum of the universe and keeping everything under wraps.  The sequel which came practically …
Quick Tip by . August 01, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Total cash in sequel that thankfully runs only about an hour thankfully lest we be treated to it's SHAMELESS product placement and unoriginal or rehased aliens and jokes. Lara Flynn Boyle also could do with eating a couple of cheeseburgers and getting a good tan.
Quick Tip by . July 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
One of the first movies that I loved with Will Smith being in!
review by . March 18, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
A great example of how the second movie can make money without being so hot.You have good actors trying their best but they can't raise this picture beyond a B movie let alone come close to the first one.Smith is funny but not believable, I think they could played te love interest angle different but that's not his fault. Jones overplays the lost agent, Tony Shaloub is a bright spot in the cast and Rip Torn delivers.The over use of Frank the dog didn't help (he's no K-9) and the worms got old real …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #3
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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Reuniting director Barry Sonnenfeld with most of the original hit film's cast, MEN IN BLACK II picks up with alien-monitoring secret agent Jay (Will Smith) in a rut. Weary of the isolated life of an MiB operative, Jay continually fires new partners until MiB director Zed (Rip Torn) teams him up with the talkative pug, Frank (voiced by Tim Blaney). Together they investigate an "alien-on-alien" murder witnessed by the lovely Rita (Rosario Dawson), who Jay immediately falls for. The case eventually leads Jay and Frank to track down agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones), who now works at a rural post office, completely unaware of his former life. Unfortunately, it's what Kay can't remember that may save the world from destruction at the hands of the shape-shifting alien Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle). As Jay attempts to jog the memory of the reluctant Kay, Serleena takes over MiB headquarters, building up to a big New York City showdown.

A fast-paced follow-up to the 1997 sci-fi comedy, MEN IN BLACK II sticks ...
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