July 8, 2012

Filthy Review - Men in Black 2

Men in Black 2 (2002)

Review by Jude Felton

With the amount of money taken at the box office by 1997’s Men in Black, there had to be no surprise that a sequel would be made. It might be a little surprising that it took five years to get around to it. Maybe it was the work schedules of the lead actors, or returning director Barry Sonnenfeld, or maybe there was some other reason. Either way, they took their time between flicks, although granted not as long as between this sequel and the upcoming Men in Black 3. Regardless of the wait between movies, Men in Black 2 did finally get made and it still did solid business, not quite as much as the first time around, but still not shabby figures.

In Men in Black 2, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is back living a normal life as a Post Master in small town Massachusetts, leaving Agent J (Will Smith) as the big cheese back at MiB HQ. Agent J is good at his job, but he can’t keep a partner, that is until he finally settles for the also returning Frank the dog. As is always the case in the world of movies, things can’t go smoothly for too long and that is very much the case here. An alien lands and quickly takes the form of Lara Flynn Boyle, and she wants something from the absent K. Enlisting the help of the two-headed Scrad (Johnny Knoxville), she sets about her mission to find him.

Agent J is already ahead of her though and he sets out to try and restore K’s memory, as only he knows what is really going on. So begins a siege at MiB HQ, whilst Agents J and hopefully K try to prevent the inevitable destruction of Earth.

It is often the case that sequels fail to replicate that what made the original film so successful, and to some degree that is the case here. The dialogue is actually very funny, and some of the banter is truly priceless. However, the story itself does seem to be very much of a case of seen it before. That isn’t to say that it isn’t a fun flick, because it is, it just isn’t very original.

A couple of other factors do work against MiB 2 unfortunately. Firstly, the implementation of glaring product placements, from the car J drives to the store fronts inside MiB HQ. These only serve to date the movie, as they would any other. The second factor, that is actually quite surprising, is the special effects. For the most part they are very good, as should be expected, but on occasion they have not aged all that well. In fact the first film has aged better than the sequel, which may surprise some viewers. Another factor that should be taken into account is the fact that Men in Black 2, for this viewing, was on Blu-ray so that even with the enhanced picture and sound quality, it also draws attention to any flaws in the visual aspects of the movie.

Despite any negatives that I may level against this movie, it does have one overriding positive that pretty much outweighs anything else; Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. There are a few other returning faces, such as Rip Torn, Tony Shalhoub and David Cross, but Smith and Jones are the stars of the film, and they just work so well opposite each other. Credit should of course be given to the screenwriters, but it is the chemistry between the two leads that help raise the enjoyment level of the film.

Being as though this is the Blu-ray release of Men in Black 2 it should be expected that, aside from the audio and visual enhancements, there would be a good selection of extras included on the disc. This is very much the case here, with an Ultra Violet version of the film, Director’s commentary, alternate ending, a blooper reel, several featurettes and a fair bit more on top of that. It really is the complete release and compliments perfectly the new Blu-ray release of the original Men in Black.

Overall, Men in Black 2 isn’t quite on par with its predecessor, although it is still entertaining family viewing, but it does have an excellent release that makes it more than worth checking out.

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