DIRECTED BY: Barry Sonnenfeld
WRITTEN BY: Robert Gordon (story); Robert Gordon & Barry Fanaro (screenplay); Based on the comic by Lowell Cunningham
PEW PEW: Lots more action in this one. It’s quite an exciting comedy.
CAT FOOD: I suppose the fact that we’d need a secret organisation to keep us from losing our shit when we find out we’re not alone in the universe is cat food enough for a light picture.
I must be getting softer as I age. I clearly remember renting Men In Black II when it came out in 2002, but I couldn’t remember a single thing about it other than I thought it was crap. After revisiting the first film, I was excited to check this one out, even though all I remembered was my initially negative reaction. The first movie was such a great setup for a franchise, but I was afraid the second one wasn’t going to deliver what I wanted. Well, let me tell you, Me of 14 Years Ago was way wrong.
The film of course still centres on the MiB, a secret organisation operating off the grid and separate from any government institution. Their duty is to keep the planet Earth safe from alien invaders, and to help keep benevolent but wayward creatures safe and out of the public eye.
After Agent K’s retirement at the end of the first film, Agent J has jumped from partner to partner, not quite finding the same counterpart he found in K. A new, lingerie-clad alien comes to town looking for the Light of Zartha, some sort of tremendous power which is totally going to fucking kill everyone… if the new alien doesn’t murder everyone on the way to it. J is in luck, and so are we, when, while investigating the crisis, he finds that all signs point to K.
So basically, J must find K (who is working at a post office and has no memory of his time with MiB), restore his memory, and follow a series of clues that lead to the Light, all while the scantily-clad villainess holds head office and all the agents within it hostage.
I was quite surprised to find that Men In Black II is superior to the first film in almost every single way. There is more action and shit actually happening, more crazy aliens, way more hilarious jokes and hijinks, and the chemistry between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones impossibly exceeds what they had five years earlier. Maybe it’s a little more immature than the first film, but it’s totally more fun. This sequel is as evenly paced as the first film, but it’s better structured and stands on its own far better.
With the shoe on the other foot (J now somewhat training K), Tommy Lee Jones’ cantankerous demeanor comes out full force and livens things up nicely. He’s still the expert ripping dry jokes that poke at Will Smith’s over-the-top coolness, but he’s fed a few good ones right back as well. The jokes are a but riskier, appealing to an audience that aged five years since the last picture, and there’s a little more feeling as well.
The highlights of the movie include the interplay between Will Smith and Frank the Pug, which really tickled me, as well as one scene involving the MiB doorman… and Will and Zed’s “Hell no!” moment at the end of the movie is gold! My favourite scenes, however, revolve around funnyman David Cross and his female companion, played by cutie Colombe Jacobsen. And I was also insanely happy to see a cameo by the King of Pop, Michael Jackson!!!
Okay, so it’s not the deepest film by a long shot, and it’s a little immature, but Men In Black II rocks! I can’t wait to watch the third in the franchise.