Friday, May 25, 2012
Men In Black II (Barry Sonnenfeld, 2002) Review
The plot this time is that a villainous known as Serleena (Lara Flynn Boyle) who, with the assistance of her two-headed henchman Scrad (Johnny Knoxville), plots to steal the fabled Light of Zartha for...some generic villain excuse that I don't recall being mentioned. With Serleena's return, Zed of the MIB sends J out to find K and restore him back to the MIB (What? He was neuralised at the end of the first one. What do you mean spoiler? It's a sequel. Why are you reading a review to a sequel if you haven't seen the first one?!). This covers the first half of the film. The second half is trying to protect a witness of an alien crime, Laura (Rosario Dawson), yeah Laura and the first female lead was Laurel, very imaginative with their names aren't they, as well as rescuing the rest of MIB from Serleena's wrath.
One of the biggest changes is the ascended roles of certain characters. Frank the dog from the first film was originally a one scene wonder but is now one of the main characters, acting as K's temporary (and I mean temporary) replacement. Other ascended roles include the worm guys who help out K and J in the third act of the film. Some people may be turned off of this film due to the increase screen time of these characters as I can see them annoying certain audiences.
The biggest problem this film has for me is how sudden some of the plot points are. K's memory restoration in the first half has so sudden that people who weren't paying attention would be lost instantly. Luckily I re-watched this film recently and heard some dialogue which hints towards this but casual film viewers may be lost. There is a twist in the climax that is also revealed suddenly so, like K's restoration, casual viewers may miss the clues and therefore get lost in the narrative.
I said it in my review for Men In Black that the best part of the film was the interaction between Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith. The relationship between K and J is back and it is better than ever. It is definitely the highest point of the film franchise and it is at it's best in Men In Black II. By the looks of things, it will be absent in Men In Black III so I hope there will be other redeeming factors such as the humour. Speaking of which, Men In Black II is much funnier than the first which can be a good and a bad thing. The first film was taking things seriously with a few comedic twists but now it's turned into a parody of sorts. It's still funny though.
Men In Black II improves on a few thing from the first but there are more problems that it almost isn't worth it. One step forward, two steps back, that kind of thing. It can be compared to Ghostbusters 2 which, like this film, is inferior to the first but is still watchable.
While it's not as good as the first, it is funnier and there is some charm to it.