Men In Black II

Men In Black II

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

They're black and they're funnier, possibly because Agent Jay (Will Smith) is the main man. The legendary Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) is employed in Truro, Mass, as a postal supervisor. He has been "flashed" and knows nothing of his former life as the supreme operative at MIB, where aliens on Earth are monitored, controlled and cared for without the general public having a clue what's going on.

Agent Jay has an easy style. He doesn't lose his cool in tense situs, such as when a giant extra-terrestrial worm starts chewing up a subway train. He talks to it firmly. Such behaviour is embarrassing and cannot be tolerated. The worm burps the last carriage free, with an apologetic splut. Agent Jay is grateful. They remain on good terms.

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The legacy of Agent Kay is one of compassion without mercy. There are enough odd people around, probably shape changers or body snatchers or astral beings imitating homo sapiens, to feel underwhelmed by monstrous apparitions. A hardened MIB field worker does not believe in magic. He believes in good intentions and not-on-my-patch. The trick is to tell the difference and strike hard at those who wish to obliterate the planet, while exercising restraint on mischief makers, however alien their configuration.

This time the danger comes from Serleena, representative of an aggressive intergalactic species, who takes the form of Lara Flynn Boyle. She has the Medusa touch and can capture her enemies in coils of squirmy snake things that emanate from her fingers. While looking like sex on legs, she has the appetite of an anaconda and the characteristics of Saddam Hussein's dobermanns. Her mission? To find The Light.

It's complicated. Let's just say, if she finds The Light and escapes with it, planet Earth's a goner. Who can stop her? MIB, with its puny communications network? Ha!

Agent Jay and his partner, Frank, a fast-talking streetwise pug dog, are onto the case, before Frank is transferred to a desk job at head office, after which Agent Kay is extracted from the Post Office and switched on again. It's time for big guns and badass attitudes. The Black is back and it feels like fun.

Robert Gordon and Barry Fanaro's script snaps and crackles with off beat gaglines, supremely well executed by Smith, whose taking a vacation from the hardcore pressures of Ali. The effects are inventive, although the business of The Light seems a bit vague. Plot is less important than style, anyway, so don't worry about it.

Agent Jay Rules, OK?

"Let's do the good cop, dumb dog thing," Frank suggests.

Why not? It's better than sitting through Attack Of The Clones, or watching Spidey being mashed to mince by The Green Willem.

Reviewed on: 31 Jul 2002
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Men In Black II packshot
Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are covert agents saving the world from a new alien threat.
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Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Writer: Robert Gordon, Barry Fanaro

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Rip Torn, Lara Flynn Boyle, Johnny Knoxville, Rosario Dawson, Tony Shalhoub

Year: 2002

Runtime: 88 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US

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