Film Reviews

MEN IN BLACK II

By • Jul 3rd, 2002 •

Share This:

It’s taken five years to put together the deal for the sequel to the $588 million MIB – carving up the sequel money pie takes time. MIB ended with Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) getting neutralized and having his memory wiped clean. But now, how to get him back with Agent Jay (Will Smith)? Agent Jay has had a succession of new partners he keeps neutralizing in disgust. Finally, he’s given Frank the cigar-smoking pug as a partner. Frank does a nice job resurrecting the cinematic soul of Edward G. Robinson. Its Frank, but also Smith’s reaction and interaction with him that makes their scenes together so funny. Smith can humanize anyone, except Lara Flynn Boyle.

It seems Agent Kay’s old nemesis Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle) is back to find a glowing bulb that is hidden on Earth. It means a great deal to her. Only Agent Kay knows where it is and he’s now a content postal worker (with nagging thoughts about the Universe) in rural Massachusetts. MIB’s boss Zed (Rip Torn) tells Agent Jay to bring him back, de-neutralize him, and get the bulb. Neutralization accomplished, both agents are back in high form – in fact, everything’s been grandly punched up.

A big worm lives under the New York City subway system and Agent Jay treats it like a poorly-trained puppy, though it did remind me eerily of The Sachamama – the large demon snake that moves so slowly that the Amazon jungle has grown on top of it. Agent Jay has to tranquilize the worm by riding it Slim Pickens-style. Maybe Industrial Light + Magic had all this spelled out in the contract: bigger, better, and bolder. But what did it mean to the story?

The Worm Guys are back with more character and scenes and so is Jeebs (Tony Shalhoub), the sleazy alien pawnshop owner. New to MIB are Scrad/Charlie (Johnny Knoxville) a two-headed guy who is helping Serleena find Agent Kay and my favorite, Jarra (John Alexander), Earth’s ozone thief. And we were led to believe it was hairspray cans!

The writers (Robert Gordon and Barry Fanaro) very amusingly gave Michael Jackson his much lobbied-for cameo, as he pleads to be accepted into the MIB program as Agent M. It worked for me. Why wasn’t he used as Agent Jay’s partner who didn’t work out and had to be neutralized into returning to singing? He certainly could have cried better than Agent T (Patrick Warburton).

The Martha Stewart double cameo left me wondering “Who knew and when did they know it?” Considering Stewart’s stock-dumping scandal, her significant presence in MIB headquarters is presciently ominous. And the family transfixed in front of Martha Stewart Living made me think: Is MK Ultra (the CIA’s rumored Mind Control program) still operating, but in a different format?

I read all about Lara Flynn Boyle’s man-eating bragging and woman-are-scared-of-me boasting. It works well here with her “starved-to-perfection” body and cruel, beautiful face. Just a glance and we all want to confess our sins to her.

Except for ruling an alien planet of criminals, what kinds of roles does Boyle go up for?

What saves MIBII and makes the entire thing work for me is the Grand Central Terminal locker creatures who worship Kay – my idea of bliss. This shows inventive and original writing that follows up with a nice twist at the end, last recalled long ago in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

I’d actually see MIBII again for this clever ending and Agent Kay’s memorable line summarizing the MIB code. Yes, MIBII is rote work and predictable, but with a philosophical visual coming right at the end that extravagantly redeems it.

Tagged as: , ,
Share This Article: Digg it | del.icio.us | Google | StumbleUpon | Technorati

Leave a Comment

(Comments are moderated and will be approved at FIR's discretion, please allow time to be displayed)