Men In Black 2 (PG)

Review by Jack Foley

DVD EXTRAS: Disc One: Commentary by Barry Sonnenfeld with optional Telestrator Diagrams; Alien broadcast; 'Alien Escape' PS2 game promo;. 'The Chubb Chubbs' short film; Men in Black training video; Theatrical trailers.
Disc Two: Alternative ending; Blooper reel; 6 production featurettes; 7 creature featurettes; Barry Sonnenfeld's Intergalactic Guide To Comedy; Will Smith 'Black Suits Comin (Nod Ya Head)' music video; 5 multi-angle scene deconstructions; 'Theatrical One-Sheets' photo gallery; Filmographies; DVD-ROM features: MIIB Crossfire: Intergalactic Game Demo, screen saver, concept designs, MIIB script weblinks.

THE men in black are back, yet while the poster gleefully states ‘same planet, new scum’, there is very little that makes the follow-up stand out from the original.

MIB2 follows every rule of the sequel - it’s bigger in scale, there are more aliens, and it trades on the familiar, without ever really stretching itself in other directions. But it is also plenty of fun!

Fans of the original will no doubt take delight in the reunion of the Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones double act, while Barry Sonnenfeld’s sparkling script and visual ingenuity still makes for a feel-good experience.

The movie also broke Box Office records for an Independence Day (July 4), Memorial Weekend opening in America, indicating that the MIB formula is far from dusted and (possibly) paving the way for a third instalment, which both stars have expressed a desire to appear in.

So sit back and enjoy the ride, as Smith’s wise-cracking Agent Jay is forced to re-team with Jones’s deadpan Agent Kay in a bid to prevent Lara Flynn Boyle’s Evil Kylothian, Serleena, from destroying the world.

It will come as little surprise to find that plot plays distinctly second fiddle to the proceedings, merely serving as a flimsy springboard for one visual gag after another, fuelled by Sonnenfeld’s obvious relish for the bizarre and ridiculous (just witness the multitude of alien incarnations as proof) and the tried and tested chemistry of its two male leads.

And while not everything hits (Smith’s love interest with the beautiful Rosario Dawson tends to get in the way), there is enough to provide the blockbuster crowd with plenty to feed on, especially if you’re not feeling too picky.

Highlights this time around include Boyle’s tentacle-sprouting, Victoria’s Secret-clad vamp, Johnny (Jackass TV) Knoxville’s two-headed, dumb-ass wit, and extended sequences for the worm guys for the first film and Tony Shalhoub’s gloriously seedy pawn-shop owner (who can’t help but get his head blown off by the MIB guys).

Smith and Jones are also on form, with the latter particularly effective in shorts and mailman uniform at the start of the movie, while his transformation from know-nothing letter-pusher to know-all agent is hilarious.

At the end of the day, MIB2 won’t win any new fans to the sci-fi series but it should please its established ones as every good worthwhile sequel should.

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