Men in Black II (2002)

Men In Black II reminds me of Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo. If you saw the first one, there won’t be a lot of surprises for you in the second one. You know the setting, you know the characters, all that’s needed is to pour in a plot and boom, instant flick. Men In Black II is “that” film.

First of all, like Dark City and several other movies (that one just comes to mind), Hollywood has decided that we, the viewing public, are far too stupid to figure out any plot whatsoever. Therefore, the first three minutes of the movie are presented as an old midnight sci-fi television show, based on “the supposedly true events” (which do in fact turn out to be true) of an incident that happened 25 years ago. It’s a cheap and lazy form of exposition which lays out the entire outline of the film. The television show tells the quick story of some aliens who came to Earth and tried to hide “the light of the universe” here. Then, an evil alien found them here looking to steal the light. The light was shot in a rocket off the planet (or was it?), foiling the bad alien’s evil plans. And, cue music.

Since we last saw the Men in Black, Agent J (Will Smith) has become the best employee of the agency. He has been through several agents, none of which have been able to deal with the pressures of being a secret agent. His current partner, Agent T (Patrick Warburton, aka the live action Tick) is cracking under the pressure as well, and so Agent J gives him the “flashy thingy” treatment and heads back to MIB HQ in search of yet another partner. Rip Torn reprises his role as Agent Z, who temporarily assigns Frank (the talking pug dog from the first film) as J’s partner.

Of course, there’s some twenty-five year time limit on finding this light or the whole universe explodes or some such crisis, and in timely fashion, the evil worm-alien (who disguises him/herself as a supermodel in the form of Lara Flynn Boyle) shows up two days before D day to shake down some Earthlings and find “the light”.

Of course (there’s a lot of “of courses” throughout this review — on purpose) the person who sent the light away from Earth (or did he?) was none other than Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). Now, the only person who can put the puzzle together and save the Earth (along with the universe) is Agent K, who if you’ll recall had his memory erased at the end of the last movie, and is currently working in the post office. Once the two are reunited, it’s up to them to save the universe within the next 24 hours — of course. Wackiness ensues.

In cahoots with Lara Flynn Boyle is Johnny Knoxville, of Jackass fame. Knoxville plays a moronic two headed alien (his normal head plus a slightly smaller, CGI version of himself that comes out of his backpack) who adds nothing to the movie, not even decent comic relief — and this is coming from a Knoxville fan. Besides Knoxville, Michael Jackson, Biz Markee, and a few others make minor cameo appearances. I’m sure I saw special effects guru Rick Baker from the back in the MIB HQ scene as well, but I couldn’t find him in the credits. I’d know those silver stripes anywhere.

One thing I was thankful for was that most of the clips shown in the trailer were within the first 10 minutes of the movie, so I didn’t feel like I had seen the whole movie before. Well, let me clarify that, I have seen this movie before when it was the first Men In Black film, but I digress.

Many of the jokes and surprises in MIB II are just rehashes from the first film reversed, as Jones’ character is now the new guy on the block. Will Smith’s car now turns into a plane, instead of just a rocket car. Smith gives Jones the tiny pea-shooter gun, like Jones did Smith in the first film. Ha ha!

No big surprises here. It’s the same characters on a new adventure. Good for a few chuckles and light-hearted viewing, but certainly won’t be the blockbuster the first one was.

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